Prelim Thickening

Prelim Thickening

Construction projects often experience vast amounts of change. Dealing with the commercial implications of this can often lead of arguments and fractured relationships.

Its not something new either.

Experienced professionals will already have a good idea of the types of change before a project even goes live. They should produce a Risk and Opportunities schedule and manage the risks as they go.

One element that’s always been a bone of contention in my experience is demonstrating thickening of resource and prelims. I’ve sat on both sides of this as a Tier 1 contractor and as a Subcontractor so understand the frustrations on both sides.

This happens so often you would expect contractors to be pretty savvy in this respect and have everything set up from the start to help demonstrate this.

After all have you told anyone what your planned resources were and is this in the contract?

Have you assessed how float would impact your planned resources?

Did you detail out what your prelim allowance was for?

How do you demonstrate the trigger point when you need an additional engineer or quantity surveyor?

If you cant answer these questions then your probably going to have a fight on your hands regarding any additional prelims or resources due to thickening.

Its always best to go into contract prepared.

An activity day count will be a good starting point to help show the change to the intensity of works to be undertaken. This will help go towards demonstrating resource levels and prelims.

But there are other, some might say more robust ways to show this but you really need to have these set up from the start for them to be fully utilised. A fully resourced programme showing prelims issued at Tender or included within the contract will pay for itself in easing the burden of trying to demonstrate change later on. Now when I say fully resourced this can be full detail, i.e every item of plant and person, materials and consumables if necessary or it can be number of gangs. It all depends on the circumstances for what is needed.

Being able to demonstrate resources and prelims from the start of the project isn’t just a tactic to show prelim thickening, there are so many more advantages. Below are just a few but feel free to add any more in the comments section.

It helps sense check the price. If you look at resources needed for each activity, then cross check against that part of the pricing is there a discrepancy?

It helps resource management, levelling and monitoring.

It helps capture scope creep. If you’ve got your planned resources and your not meeting the programme there could be captured scope creep or third party interfaces which need to be resolved.

Prelim thickening can be a very objective thing to demonstrate and agree. With it being prevalent throughout the industry you would think most have this nailed. If done at the same time as planning the project the process becomes more efficient and most effective. Its best to get this right from the start rather than trying to show what was allowed for retrospectively as this will no doubt be scrutinised and objected to.

If you need assistance with demonstrating resource or prelim thickening then get in touch.

Planetal provides Tendering, Delivery Planning and Forensic Delay Expert Services to the construction industry. For more information on how we can help click one of the links below:


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