It would be remiss of me to cover Pillar 8 without mentioning communication. Poor communication can have disastrous consequences, so it makes sense to be good at it. First things first, make it clear to your contractor in their contract that amendments to specification or materials can only be agreed by the project manager and not by you. It’s all too easy for you to visit the site and the contractor to say to you, “I think it would be much better if we did it this way; what do you think?’. Then, when you absent-mindedly agree to it, you get their bill at the end of the month, which is £5,000 more than you were expecting. When you speak to the contractor, they tell you that it relates to the additional work that they mentioned to you when you last visited the site and which you agreed to. You didn’t think they would do the work for free, did you? But, if your contract says that only the PM can authorise any changes or additional costs, then you won’t fall into that trap.
Inevitably there will be extras that crop up during a project; after all, it’s why you have a contingency fund allocated that you should expect to spend. Make sure that the costs of any extras are run past your quantity surveyor or cost consultant first before they’re agreed. I would also strongly advise you to demand a monthly status report from your project manager. This should list any additional costs that have been incurred, any cost savings realised, how the project is performing against planned timescales, how you are doing against budget, what the cash flow is looking like. And an update on health and safety, so you know that this important box is ticked. You should also be told about the status of any drawing revisions, i.e., if they’ve been updated, as these could have downstream ramifications if delayed.