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How to save time and money - when time isn't on your side

Time is money. Or for victims of the cladding scandal, time is money wasted. A delay of 6 months could be an additional £3000 just in service charge payments for waking watch and insurance; in some cases this will be much higher. The Government have deliberately excluded funding for these items to encourage expedient remediation, and what better incentive than the constant drain of interim costs to give you a kick? But how to inject that momentum into your project when you are lost and unclear what to do?


Moving forwards at pace is key, but it's not quite so simple. The sequencing of your programme can have a profound impact.


Take the two illustrative example programmes below*.

On the top is a typical programme taking 25 months to successful remediation (it could easily be longer). The bottom version has incorporated sequence optimisation with strategies to de-link the dependency between certain tasks, plus a clever interpretation of the BSF funding agreement clause 4.2.1. Completion date and EWS1 sign-off are 7 months earlier than the less efficient sequence. In project management speak, we have "reduced the critical path".

 

The chances are highly likely that your building is currently on an inefficient path similar to the top example.

There are several reasons:


1) Your Building Management Agent is inexperienced in complex project management, they have no financial liability, and they want the easy life. My flowchart guide highlights the underlying complexity, so for many agents it will be considered an achievement simply to forge any path at all through the project, let alone a well thought-out efficient path. Nobody is more incentivised to find the best solution than the leaseholders.


2) Your Lead Consultant also does not have the same incentivisation as leaseholders to forge the most efficient path through, because of either other commitments or priorities (meaning they produce one programme and don't think about it again); a hands-off client without the confidence to really challenge them for fear of 'stepping on toes' (see point 4); or (cynically) they are on a time-charge basis. Ultimately they are only human and cannot fully understand the suffering of leaseholders in this position. When dealing with such large amounts of money, extra £100s here and there on waking watch start to sound irrelevant, but it's important not to slip into this way of thinking!


3) The terms of the BSF funding agreement are ambiguous at worst and confusing at best. If your Managing Agent and/or Lead Consultant doesn't understand how to navigate around them, you could be setting off on the wrong path at the start and waste months backtracking. Clad To Help can advise on strategy and direction early in the project.


4) The Residents' Management Company board of directors (or equivalent) formed of leaseholders is the only party with the real incentive to find the best solution. It is understandably very difficult to manage as lay-people, and volunteering to direct a complex project is not what people signed up for when they purchased their flats. I commend anybody who has stepped up to the plate. However without the tools, skills or project-management experience to truly be the driver of the project, it is easy to slip into a hands-off client approach, merely being back-seat observers and leaving the lead consultant to just crack on. But you must be the driver!


A hands-on client approach is key. All major projects have a client-side team actively managing their consultants. This is where Clad To Help can really bring value to your project by acting as a client-side strategic steering advisor, working in partnership with RMC boards to meet the best interests of the leaseholders (in this example ensuring programme optimisation to eliminate interim costs sooner). You can read more about my story here.


For strategic support and programme optimisation on your project, please contact me via Scott@cladtohelp.co.uk or point the directors of your Residents' Management Company in my direction.


*The example programmes shown in the image deliberately exclude key labels and annotations. These are available for my clients when I am engaged as a steering advisor.

 

If you have discovered fire safety issues with your external walls, Clad To Help provides strategic advice from a leaseholder, RMC Director, Chartered Engineer and Project Management Expert who has led his own apartment block through the highly complex Building Safety Fund process. For support which protects leaseholders and offers cost and time saving strategies, please contact Scott@cladtohelp.co.uk to arrange an initial chat.


This blog post is purely for informational purposes. This information is provided in good faith and we assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content. Under no circumstances will Clad To Help Ltd be held responsible or liable in any way for any claims, damages, losses, expenses, costs or liabilities whatsoever resulting or arising directly or indirectly from the use of or reliance on the information or arising from your inability to use or access the information. Full Copyright Notice available at www.cladtohelp.co.uk. All rights reserved.

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