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Posted on 7th August 2017

Getting a project completed within the designated programme and available budget is an increasingly tough challenge for contractors. Margins are tight and experienced site personnel are hard to come by, so the last thing a contractor needs is a call back to site to address safety, quality or buildability issues.

Call backs can be costly in terms of both the financial impact and the effects on a contractor’s reputation.  And yet, they are much more avoidable than many in the construction sector might think.

So what’s the key to avoiding call backs?  As the architects, contractors and clients that have worked with Delta Balustrades have discovered, the critical element is early engagement with the product supplier’s design and technical team from the very outset of the project.

As an element of the project that is usually installed during the final fix period of the build programme, balustrades are often specified later in the scheme, after many structural elements have already been constructed and cannot be modified.  This not only puts pressure on fabrication lead times, it also means that there can be no integrated approach to designing the balustrade specification to complement other aspects of the building design.

By opting for an early engagement approach, our customers can access the expertise of our technical team to help determine the most appropriate design strategy to meet the individual needs of their building. This ensures that any buildability issues are ironed out long before the balustrade installation begins on site and that both safety and quality are maximised.

While architects and design & build contractors retain overall responsibility for the design, early engagement with the balustrade specialist means that they can tap into our expertise on loading requirements, fixing methodologies, materials and design layouts. This all makes for a more robust installation, with no risk of under- or over-specification and significantly less likelihood of call backs.

There are no industry figures on the total or average cost of call backs because this varies depending on the size of the job and the nature of the specification. However, it’s easy to see how returning to site can lead to mounting labour and resource costs, which could divert a contractor from other projects and potentially affect both their reputation and their project pipeline. Moreover, call backs can also give developers an excuse for withholding retentions, which could lead to cash flow issues for the contractor.

Call backs are not inevitable and both architects and contractors need to use their supply chain to help them reduce the call back risk from the earliest stage of every project.