Brief and Response
When Cameron Mackintosh's house on Loch Nevis near Mallaig was destroyed by fire he commissioned local architect Nigel Johnston to design a new house for him and he employed a builder who had done work for him in the south of England. The site was remote. Although on the mainland it could only be reached by boat from Mallaig. The work followed on from numerous small scale projects in the area but the estate factor considered that the risks involved in simply setting to work on this challenging project with no formal contractual framework were excessive. GLM were asked to provide a monitoring and advisory service. With a high the level of trust that existing between the parties, we concluded that a "Cost Plus" contract providing a relatively "light touch" would appropriate. This approach works well in these situations. It is especially suitable where the contractor cannot "dump" resource from other sites where it is not efficiently employed.
However a project organised on this basis needs to operate within the framework of a Cost Plan and ideally there should be the fall-back of an industry standard contract to back it up. We implemented the JCT Prime Cost Form of Contract which gives the contractor an agreed level of mark-up on the net cost of labour, materials, plant etc. This contractual approach means, of course, that the cost risk is not passed onto or shared with the contractor but, as anyone in the industry will confirm, passing the cost risk onto a contractor in a highly innovative project which may be subject to significant change, generally means either paying for it up front or at the end. This way the client is not "over a barrel" if it proves desirable to make changes as the project progresses. GLM provided a cost management service that carefully checked all expenditure and provided robust cost reporting. We also monitored the progress of the work and provided regular reports.
Attending progress meetings we were able keep an independent view of the project. As well as spotting any problems early this can be seen as a channel of informed opinion that helps to maintain trust. The construction method adopted was Beko Wallform clad with stone sourced on site. Beko is a system that uses hollow polystyrene blocks as permanent shuttering and insulation. The blocks are filled with concrete once the walls have been put in place which creates a concealed lattice of concrete. The system provides exceptionally good thermal performance and was well known to us as we had used it elsewhere on, admittedly, less challenging projects. Both the Beko and the stone cladding were put to a severe test in this application. The magical finished product is a testament to the very creative working relationship between client, architect and builder, operating within a secure and orderly contractual framework supplied by GLM.