Portas PCL construction

Calling in external consultants

Georgina Voultsos, Project Manager, Buchan, Lawton, Parent Ltd. Consulting Engineers
Monday, December 9, 2013

What should a facility manager expect from a consultant during a capital project?

When a company owner calls in a panic because their roof is leaking during a torrential downpour, the inclination is to get it fixed immediately. The facility manager calls an emergency roofer who comes out and dumps a bag of cement over any suspicious area in the hope of providing a temporary seal when the cement cures in the rainwater.

So, what is the facility manager’s next plan of action? It’s time to call in an external consultant to evaluate the asset of concern.

Facility managers need a list of qualified consulting engineers on hand to call for problem investigations, building condition assessments, construction project management and professional advice.

Managers can expect the consultant to provide a report outlining the conditions found, causes of the problem, potential solutions and budget estimates. This will allow the facility manager to inform the owner of the technical findings. The consultant and the facility manager work as partners to ensure the owner has the information and understanding required to make an informed decision on how to proceed.

Once the repair or replacement decisions have been made, the consultant develops construction tender documents, including drawings and specifications that fully address the project requirements.

The consultant will invite qualified contractors to attend a mandatory tender meeting and bid on the project. Usually the consultant accepts the tenders on the company’s behalf and provides a recommendation report as to which contractor should be selected. This is based on many factors, including, but not limited to, price, proposed schedule and experience. The project is awarded through a signed contract, typically drafted by the consultant and signed by the owner and the contractor.

When the project begins, the consultant acts as the technical representative for the owner and carries out the following tasks:

  • Co-ordinates the construction schedule
  • Supervises mock-up assemblies
  • Supervises the work to ensure conformance with contract documents and good workmanship
  • Prepares site visit reports
  • Issues change orders and site instructions as necessary
  • Reviews contractor’s progress billings and issue payment certificates
  • Conducts final site reviews and derives a final deficiency list
  • Certifies completion and completes all contract closeout documentation.

The consultant effectively stickhandles the technical aspects of the project, while the facility manager acts as the information gateway to the owner to ensure timely and confident decisions.

Georgina Voultsos, BSSO, is the project manager of Buchan, Lawton, Parent Ltd Consulting Engineers.

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