At DDB Design we hold a fortnightly site meeting with all our clients and this becomes the central project management activity during the entire construction phase of the project. This site meeting is 60 to 90 minutes of uninterrupted time for the client to communicate face to face with the project manager or builder. During this meeting, we inspect all the on-site works to date and discuss the work schedule, so that the client is fully informed on the jobs progress and what comes next. The client is then able to pick up on any problems or concerns as early as possible and discuss them through with the builder.
The site meeting is also the best time to identify any variations to the building contract. These changes can then be fully discussed and documented before the builder starts to quote the variation or final decisions are made (See FAQ on “Variations”).
On all our building sites we highly value a friendly “team work” culture and the regular fortnightly site meeting is a good opportunity for the clients to get to know all the on-site personnel (i.e. the site foreman, the labourers and all the main sub-contractors). This personal engagement with the construction team can greatly add to the clients’ enjoyment of the process.
These site meetings are treated as a proper business meeting, so we recommend that no children or dogs attend and that all mobile phones are silenced for the duration of the meeting.Both the client and the builder must also be well prepared for each meeting by having a detailed list of pre-prepared questions and discussion points. The builder or project manager should take notes during the meeting and should then write up and circulate detailed meeting notes shortly after each site meeting.
These meeting notes then become an “action list” of tasks for both the builder and client as well as a record of all discussions and decisions.We recommend that our clients study the plans and specifications regularly during the building process (i.e. at least once a month) and bring any questions to the next site meeting.
Clients should also keep a “project folder” containing all the site meeting notes, variation quotes and contract documents.There is a huge amount of paperwork involved in building a new house or a major renovation and you cannot enjoy the process if you are not well organized!