“Off the pallet, straight onto the wall” ethos saves time, cost and improves quality, says BBS Facades survey
Research undertaken by BBS Facades, the UK’s specialist in full building envelope solutions, suggests that sub-contractors could reduce their fabrication costs by up to 50% by outsourcing the process.
BBS Facades contacted 15 specialist cladding contractors across the UK and asked them to provide their hourly rates for three specific processes; standard board drilling, specialist drilling, and fixing of brackets to boards. The differences between quoted sub-contractor rates and those charged by BBS Facades were surprising. Here are the key findings:
- Standard drill holes for rivet and screw fix. Assuming 12 holes per m2, average sub-contractor labour rates quoted were up to 50% higher than those charged by BBS Facades.
- Specialist ‘secret fix’ drill holes. The price difference between specialist off-site fabrication and on-site labour rates quoted was equally remarkable. Overall, prices quoted for this more complex procedure were approximately 20% higher compared to the cost of standard drilling. Sub-contractor labour rates for this work came out at approximately 40% more expensive when compared to prices quoted by off-site, high precision material engineers such as BBS Facades.
- Fixing brackets / secret fixings to board. This too came out at around 35-40% higher compared to rates typically charged by third party suppliers.
Commenting on the findings, Andy Thomas, regional director for BBS Facades said: “Despite the cost savings and proven benefits offered by outsourcing, we wanted to understand why contractors continue to do this job in-house. After all, it’s a time-consuming job that a lot of sub contractors don’t like doing on-site. That’s why we undertook this research into the relative costs quoted for this activity.
“Given the very clear savings contractors could make by outsourcing elements of their cladding fabrication process, we have to ask why aren’t all sub-contractors using third party specialists to prepare boards ready for on-site installation? With damaged and poorly cut boards being the likely outcome of on-site fabrication, our use of CNC technology ensures boards are cut to within the tightest tolerances, with brackets fixed using the right tools.
“Perhaps some sub-contractors don’t consider the cost of fixings as being that significant? Well, for a project requiring approximately 5,000m2 of cladding, our investigation suggests that this could cost anywhere from £300,000 to £600,000 in fixing labour costs – depending on the location and complexity of the project. I’d urge any contractors out there to reconsider this part of their supply chain as it could improve quality, reduce accidents and boost profits in one fell swoop.”
Based on its recent survey, BBS Facade’s UK-wide fabrication facilities could save sub-contractors between 35 and 50% on labour costs, while significantly improving the accuracy and quality of the cladding systems prior to installation.