How tendering your project is different to ‘getting a few prices’

Ego Squared - saving your practice money

Ego Squared – saving your practice money…!

Or…Another way your designer can save you money


What…? You mean a designer can save me money…?


Yes, we can…! Interior designers have a reputation for being snooty, fashion conscious, trend setters that just want to SPEND your money on lavish rugs and expensive decoration.


Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not true…! I guess there are some designers out there, like that, but we tend to avoid that sort of thing for commercial projects. After all, you’re in business to provide a great service and make money, not show off your style or showcase your collection of designer handbags.


Interior design to us is about getting the best out of your space, making sure the work flow, well, flows. We take into account your focus for the business, the demographic of your patients, how you and your staff work within the space and most importantly, your budget.


In a previous post, I talked about ‘How your designer can save you $100 000’ which you can read that here.


Did you read it…? What did you think…?


So, the other way that you designer can save you money is by tendering your project.


‘But can’t I just get my own prices…?’ I hear you say…well, yes you can. However, getting a few prices and tendering is slightly different.


In a tender, the time for preparing the pricing is defined. It starts when the documentation is received and finishes at an exact time. Generally, prices received after this time, will not be considered. This reduces the potential for collusion.


We’ve found when a client decides to ‘get a couple of prices’ there is the potential for the builders to either take their time in getting their price together or do it really quickly and estimate on the high side. There is also the potential to discuss pricing with other builders or trades and adjust their pricing to suit ‘who owes who a favour.’ Sad, but true.


We also have the benefit of being a source of work for builders, so they can see the benefit in doing the right thing by us.


Another issue to be wary of is if a design/construct company offers to tender your project. After all, these companies make money from both the design and the construction processes, so you even though they’ve given you the option, you may still feel obliged to construct with them.


I’d also be concerned about the level of detail on their drawings. The drawings might be ‘simplified’ due to the fact that their trades work with them all the time, and their could be a standard specification that you may not be privy to…In an ideal world we’d like them to be honest and upfront, but sometimes this isn’t reality.


Our recommended builders are all experience with dental/medical fitouts, they can read plans (bonus..!) and are all independent from us and each other.


It is very important that you have a clear, detailed set of drawings and specifications with everything accounted for and no stone left unturned. The builder will make allowances for any omissions in the documentation and estimates will ALWAYS be on the high side. And once you’re in construction, variations are always more than you expect.


We’ve found with our details and specifications, the room for error and variations (and the associated costs) are dramatically reduced (even negligible).


We then administer the project, making sure that everything is as we’ve agreed during the design process. We are available to the builder and you, our client throughout the construction and inspect the site when required. At the end we create a ‘Defects List’ for the builder to correct any inconsistencies. You can be involved as little or as much as you like. (We’ve had client’s go on holiday during the build and come back to a brand new practice…!).


By doing it this way, by getting together an amazing set of drawings and specifications and putting it out to tender to three builders, we’ve found that it is the best way to get a comparable, competitive price…!