Involving a cost consultant early in a project’s construction life-cycle helps future-proof feasibility studies, an expert from Omnium International told Construction Week.
“Since the last [market] downturn, there has been a huge focus on feasibility studies,” said Kieran Duckworth, main board director at Omnium International, a Dubai-based construction cost and contract management services firm
There is “great ambition” to squeeze the “maximum revenue from the asset”, with feasibility studies relied upon at every stage before clients decide to proceed to the design stage or break ground, he explained.
“For us, future-proofing that feasibility is to get the cost consultant involved in the very first [analysis] that you’re carrying out. We’ve seen in the past that a client may say, for example, ‘I want to build a 30-storey tower’.
“They then ask themselves how much it cost them to build last time, take that rate, and apply it to [the next build] without any real consideration of the acute design differences that may be applicable between one project and another. That can often lead to problems at the outset.”
The role of the cost manager, from Omnium International’s standpoint, has also changed, according to Duckworth.
“We call ourselves – in addition to cost consultants – commercial project managers, and that’s where clients are really looking for that added value from the cost consultant.
“It’s about engaging at that early stage of the design process. We’ve definitely seen a shift towards the cost consultant driving the evolving design.”
Omnium International is involved in some of the region’s most high-profile projects, including the UAE Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Led by Duckworth, Omnium’s work on the UAE Pavilion is being implemented in close partnership with pavilion designer and Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava