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Cost Planning & Control



At MQS, we specialise in residential construction. Working as an independent third party for the homeowner, we protect during design and construction. We offer realistic and comprehensive cost advice to help protect the client from lost time and money associated with redocumentation, as well as variations. At MQS, we believe in offering affordable expert advice to ensure you get maximum value for money while ensuring the minimisation of risks.


Cost Planning & Cost Estimating


A process that is usually undertaken 1 to 3 times during documentation/design phase (pre-contract). The service is implemented to provide a report that examines the likely construction costs of a project and its financial feasibility.


Our Cost Plans provide a comparable estimate between the construction costs and project budget while allowing a detailed trade by trade comparison to the builder’s estimates/quotes. Thus, highlighting any areas of concern and/or potential areas of savings.


Cost planning offers the client the best value for their money while preventing lost time and money due to re-documentation should the builder’s price come in higher than the budget.


Tender Evaluation & Negotiation


Usually, once one or more of the builders have submitted their tender/s, this process starts. We compare detailed trade breakdowns which highlight any areas of concern across the panel of builders. We bring forth areas of significant costs based on variances that arise when cross-examined to our cost estimate reports.


Sometimes, we can use these significant cost variances in potential negotiations to reduce costs.


Building Replacement Valuation for Insurance


We can provide a cost report detailing the costs of replacing your home; this ensures you have a sufficient level of cover needed to prevent shortfall if the unthinkable happens.

Case Study

Residential Construction Project: New Build (budget: $1million)


The Client Requirements


We teamed up with one Melbourne’s leading architecture firms for the design and construction of a new residential dwelling in Melbourne to the client’s specifications, timeframe and within a firm budget.


The Challenges


During the project, we faced several challenges, including:

  • A shortfall in project budget: Unfortunately, it is a regular occurrence for the costs of a project to outweigh a client’s budget. This project was no different with the budget being approximately 10% short of the expected building costs.

  • Tender selection and negotiation: The client went into the tender process hoping for a favourable tender. Our estimates confirmed that the building was likely to cost 10% more than they had budgeted and ultimately put the cost of the project outside of the client’s financial ability.

  • Unwarranted/excessive variation claims: During construction, there were several variations to the contract (additions requested by the client), which the builder put in variation claims for.


The Solution


This project required thorough analysis, research and a hands-on approach towards design and cost including but not limited to:

  • Working with the client and design team throughout the design phase to offer cost-saving options to help bring the project costs back in line with their budget.

  • Providing cheaper material and construction alternatives to reduce the costs associated with the fit out of the project.

  • Working with the preferred builder and helping with the negotiation of cost-saving options after the tenders came back 10% above budget to allow the final contract to meet the client’s budget without significantly altering the design.

  • Assessing the variations as being excessive and, in one case, unwarranted. We engaged with the builder to negotiate a more reasonable amount.


Final Results


By shedding light on the gap between construction costs and project budget early in the documentation phase, this allowed the client to save time and money, not otherwise lost on evolving documentation and permits. By engaging MQS in the early stages, our client avoided time-consuming and expensive measures which would have been inevitable should the client need to commence redocumentation.


Our efficient and transparent handling of the project costs allowed the client to maximise the project value with minimum impact on the project budget.


By minimising the time lost during re-documentation, we were able to help the client achieve a project that successfully met the design brief, project timeframe and most importantly to this client, the project budget.

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