Making the most of equal approved


Paul Heming

March 23rd, 2018
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When you’re handed a job as a QS, you want to find the potential financial gains that you can make based on what you’ve allowed versus the scope, and if there is an equal approved opportunity. Getting a good understanding of this upfront is one of the most effective and simplest ways of internally value engineering a project.

There are many areas where you can internally value engineer your project, particularly in manufacture lead sectors such as screed and glazing systems.

When you’ve identified that an area of works is marked as equal approved, approach your site managers and subcontractors who possibly have a better technical and practical understanding of the alternative options.

After you’ve made that step and gathered a broad set of options, you have two categories of alternatives. One alternative proposed by your subcontractor, another potentially suggested by your construction team. Where your subcontractor has proposed a system, ask them to put forward a price for the alternative and the specified. Also engage other subcontractors to price for the alternative.

Where your contracts team have suggested an alternative, but your current supply chain does not provide the system in question, reach out to the manufacturer and request their approved installers so that you can get further prices (or use the C-Link search tool to identify approved contractors).

Check for performance and practicality

One of the key areas that you can use equal approved is flat roofing systems. It’s a highly competitive market, and there are a number of systems that offer like for like performance, but prices vary significantly.

The two critical things that you need to look out for:

  1. What are the warranty requirements?
  2. What application methods are available and suitable?

With application method, if you’re looking to switch from one to another, for example liquid waterproofing to torch on felt, you need to understand whether this new method is suitable for the area in question. For example:

  • Was the original method specified due to health & safety requirements?
  • Is the alternative system suitable for the substrate upon which it’s being installed?
  • Is it practical to install the alternative system on the area in question (i.e. is there enough space to work in)?
  • Is it a high traffic area and is the alternative system robust enough to support such traffic?

If your alternatives are suitable and they meet the performance requirements, you’ve got the green light and opportunity to proceed with the alternative and the savings that come with it.

Image credit: Pepsi Challenge by Sean Loyless used under CC BY 2.0

About Paul Heming

Paul was a Quantity Surveyor who gained 10 years experience of managing £200 million worth of flagship UK projects, including 20 Fenchurch Street and Battersea Power Station. In 2015, Paul founded C-Link with the intention of sharing his expertise of managing major projects with the SME market.

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