Yes, believe it or not, our biggest competitor is Masons as a whole. Even today with this level of technological advancements, many people still believe that a drawing from and Architect and a good Mason team will do a good job, which actually is a complete myth.
Let me elaborate.
They use three known tricks in the book mainly.
1). They put a lower quantity to your BOQ. If the construction actually needs 30 cubes of rubble for the foundation, they will put only 20 cubes.
2). Incomplete descriptions in the BOQ. For example, they might describe the roof without an insulation foil and/or low quality paint, but you actually need the standard one.
3). They do not quote some items purposely. For Example floor concrete, it is an essential item about not quoted in the BOQ purposely to keep the final price and floor area rate lower (Final price/floor area). However, when they are actually building, they will claim it from you as you have agreed to measure and pay. If you hire the service of a qualified Quantity Surveyor (QS), you can find these out, but most people agree with small contractors or masons blindly. Thus, if you go by the traditional way, it is recommended to hire a qualified QS!
With Lex Duco, we use a system known as “Design to Cost” in order to develop the design within your budget. This is an effort of a Chartered Architect, Chartered Engineer, Team of QSs and a Site Reporting Team. As a result, you will know your final delivery price, even before you lay your foundation stone. Here the price descriptions will be comprehensive and rates will be fixed. Then, with the approval of the client, we will sign a Lump Sum Fixed Price agreement, where we bond ourselves to deliver the building at this price to our clients.
Even under Design to Cost, some clients tend to request deviations to the construction norms, whereby we fail to design within the requested budget and in such situations, we educate clients to come back to the norms at the design stage itself, so that clients will not later end up in financial problems or we simply request clients to lift budgets.
What we have seen in the industry?
We have seen that almost always clients who followed the traditional path ended up with around 50-60% price escalations by the time of project completion. It is always a higher price compared to Lex Duco, yet ended up with no warranty or at least someone to be responsible!
3. Equally important or may be even more, Construction QUALITY; in construction, quality comes first as the finished building should be elegant and be able to stand on the ground for many many years. Former is known as the “Finishes Quality” and latter the ” Structural Quality”. Many people believe having solid 9 inch walls and a heavy foundation is a good structure and this idea is mainly from the masons themselves. It could be partially true in the old days, but nowadays, we completely depend on a concrete structure starting from column footings, beams, columns, slabs and so on where walls are only partition walls.
Never even think about, allowing your masons to decide these structural elements even after the first design by an engineer. They may say they know it, but they do not have a clue about load calculations or structural element designs. The right professional is a Chartered Structural Engineer.
If you let masons or small contractors to decide on structural elements while asking for a better price, you will be taking a huge risk. One of their COST REDUCTION techniques is compromising reinforcement details including but not limiting to reducing steel sizes, reducing steel quantity and using unbranded cement and steel. We have come across cases where, unbranded cement are actually used while keeping branded cement bags for the appearance.
Therefore, you always need the guidance of a Chartered Structural Engineer and need to make sure those instructions are followed properly. If you do this with masons, it is virtually impossible to check if masons or contractors have actually not compromised the structural design unless you appoint a full time site Engineer. Fully responsible Structural Engineer and a full time site Engineer will not be a cost effective solution and even if you do, do you expect a warranty from them?
What we have experienced in the industry?
We have experienced wall and foundation cracks in neighboring building around few of our sites. As a social responsibility we always analyze such cases and help the neighbors to rectify issues within our limits. But most importantly, why these cracks developed in the first place? Because we dug for foundation? The route cause is always an under designed foundation and/or a structure, where no structural engineer was involved or his design was compromised by a small contractor or masons.
After completing our building, we cannot stop our neighbors from building in the next land. We cannot stop them from digging in their own land either, but we can construct our buildings to withstand such! The choice is in our hands.
At Lex Duco, we provide you with the service of at least two Structural Engineers and a qualified technical staff to strictly follow QA/QC known as “Tripe Quality Check” to make sure that the Engineer’s instructions had been followed to the last letter. As a result, our clients do not take risks with their structures and heard earned money. They do not have to worry about neighbors, who wants to at build next door. We also provide a 20 YEARS Warranty so that our clients will enjoy peace of mind with the security from a well established industry leading company for years!