Can we use our own trades in an office fitout?
We do a lot of work for accountants, lawyers, doctors and other professionals and they either have direct relations that are electricians, (everyone’s brother-in-law is an electrician) or they could have customers that are in trades. They worry if they don’t use the trades who are their clients, it might upset their long-standing business relationship.
The answer is yes, it can be done. There are the pros that you would be maintaining your relationship with the trade you have a connection with, on a professional or personal level. On the con side of that is that it often doesn’t work well, and there’s a lot of potential for disappointment.
As the design & project delivery team, as well as being the registered builder, one of the problems we find in these cases, is that there is a lack of control. Instead of our team who all have a rock- solid relationship with each other, there is a disparate member. It could be somebody else’s electrical team. They don’t come when they’re supposed to, they don’t do the preliminary works when they’re supposed to and the project timeline blows out very quickly. They also require endless amounts of supervision and they aren’t exactly sure on what we need done in detail. They don’t understand all the specifics of the commercial standard we need to achieve for you.
Control of variations is another important reason. We have no previous relationship with a new supplier, so everything is an extra. This results in a loss of cost control and that’s significant. Our clients don’t want to see the budget increase at all unless it’s something that was previously agreed on and a direct increase of supply.
One of the main problems with it is that it can result in relationship breakdowns between ICON and yourself and between yourself and the outside supplier if you use your own supplier.
In summary a loss of timing control, lack of control in cost management, and often a lack of understanding about the quality of finish that we expect. We then find that we have to triple up on our project management to ensure that things get done. There’s no standardization when we are using a foreign player.
Yes, we can use foreign trades and we have done it before. However: why would you want the product to take longer and potentially run out of control and cost more?
It’s better to use the team that have a solid relationship and a history of working well together to get it right the first time. But we can accommodate it.
The key issue for us is the insured scope of works. At the completion of the project, you really need the overarching building permits and certificates to include all of the trades. We’ve had people ring us up 5 or 6 years after their project has been completes, and say ‘hey I’ve got a problem with my airconditioning, can you guys sort it?’ Normally the answer would be a resounding, ‘Yes!’ However with this one case, we checked the project file, and found they used their own supplier. We told the client that it was the friend of theirs. And the client told us ‘we don’t even catch up with him anymore.’ The long-standing relationship that we have with our team that we’ve been using for the last nearly 20 years gives us and yourself enormous confidence from the beginning of the project into the future.
We can incorporate your trades, but it’s not the best way for you. We would love to help you, and we would love to show you how the costs can be managed and our guarantees and warranties which last for a long time to afterwards.