CROSS Safety Report
Insufficient design fees
This report is over 2 years old
A reporter raises concerns over design fees that were below typical market rates.
Key Learning Outcomes
There is always a risk that safety will be compromised when the lowest cost is the main criteria for selecting products, processes or people
If you are appointing professionals below typical market rates, ensure that they have suitable qualifications and insurances
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An existing commercial building is to be converted to flats with an estimated contract value of £1.5m. The client has appointed a sole proprietor business. The main concern of the reporter is that the fees for a full investigation of existing structure, addition of an extra floor, and full design and drawing service was £4,300 i.e. about 0.3%. This is considered an order of magnitude too low with normal fees closer to 2% and ideally 3% inclusive of investigations and reinforced concrete (RC) detailing.
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Expert Panel Comments
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This is an oft repeated tale, particularly in difficult times. However, strictly it is not fees per se which determine the legal position but if a professional, takes on a job for nothing he or she carries all the responsibilities regardless. The formal position is clear. The client must ensure that he or she appoints competent parties, adequately resourced.
The engaged party has a reciprocal responsibility and the CDM-Coordinator also plays an important role in this instance. Those appointing professionals so far below typical market rates should ensure that they have suitable qualifications and insurances.