introduction & fee structure

Graham Powell Consultants was formed in 1994 in response to the unsatisfied demand for professional advice in the Building Services and Construction related fields. Due to the current shortage of good professional staff, quality and value often seem hard to achieve. Our aim is to be the exception to the rule and provide quality professional service at a competitive fee level.

Traditionally, construction industry professional consultants propose fees based upon notional percentages of the cost of the building or engineering works or, in the case of energy related projects, as a percentage of the savings achieved over an agreed timescale.

This approach can often prove unfair and costly to both the client and consultant, as it does not always reflect the actual time taken to carry out consultancy duties. In the worst case, construction costs can soar as profligate 'professionals' concentrate more on maximising their fees by over design and specification than on providing the appropriate service to their clients.

Situations of this nature usually occur because the brief, or more appropriately, the client's requirement, is not correctly established by the consultant at the beginning of a project. This results in problems for both client and consultant. Consultants often underestimate or are ignorant of the amount of work required of them. This in turn puts them at a financial disadvantage later in the project. The client is initially given a false view of how much he will have to pay and is then expected to compensate for the extra fees considered necessary due to the consultant underestimating the requirement in the first place.

When this attitude is applied to the construction cost itself, the result can be even worse. Preliminary budgets based on an incomplete or inaccurate brief can be as much as 50% to 100% short of the true figure. In the case of audit or survey work and watching briefs where time charge rates may appear appropriate, not using the appropriate level of personnel or resource for the task also provides scope for 'misunderstandings' and overcharging.

Our solution:

We establish and agree with our clients their requirements and objectives.

We determine and agree what duties and tasks we need to carry out to satisfy those requirements.

We allocate appropriately skilled individuals for the work, assess the time required for us to carry out our work and, using this information, provide a fixed fee quotation which truly reflects the scope of our work, and only varies if the scope of our work varies.

By breaking the relationship between the level of the fee and the cost of the project works, we remove any need or temptation to over specify or design and it means that schemes can be produced which pay more than just 'lip service' to the notion of value engineering.