Monday, 7 October 2013

Whilst you're there could you just......

Whilst you're there/here could you just......

This used to be a question commonly associated with setting out, with Engineers frequently being asked to do a little bit of extra work not previously accounted for.  For them it was merely a time issue as most of the jobs were quoted on an hourly rate.  Such luxuries don't exist in the world of fixed price tenders, but the questions are ever more common.  Is there a solution to this situation, or is it just an accepted practice in the current climate?  Even with fixed tenders a price is submitted based on a surveying a certain area, then the client comes back asking for a little bit more!

Sometimes work does allow diversions in other areas, away from the original specification.  With the advent of laser scanning Surveyors are increasingly finding a lot of down time on a job.  Scans can take anywhere from a minute to a couple of hours depending on your resolution - so during an hour scan once you've sketched your control, observed any control with the total station you really are twiddling your thumbs for forty five minutes in every hour before the next burst of activity.  However the results of the laser scan show the benefits of letting technology take over.

Where to draw a line...

As an SME you are always at the mercy of your clients, so long term going that extra mile will always pay dividends but are you making a rod for your own back?  Each time you agree to that little bit more the expectation is that you will be able to achieve this all of the time.  There is no rule of thumb on what can & can't be added into a tender before the cost is affected, of course when the shoe is on the other foot and they ask for an element of a survey to be removed this is always followed by a question on how the price will be affected - the answer to that one is never NOT AT ALL!!

Advances in technology mean the Surveyors time on site is ever decreasing to complete similar activities, and whenever this technology is sold the common selling point is you can still charge the same amount but getting the work completed on site sooner means your two jobs in three days becomes three jobs in three days.  The reality in a competitive market is that the time saving is passed onto the client as reduction on man hours on site.  Thus Surveyors never truly benefit from the time saving of a new technology in a fiscal sense, they can just do more work in the same time!

As always we will try and accommodate a clients requirements within the fixed fees provided, we haven't found the breaking point yet - but that is not a challenge!

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