Can we build it? … Yes, we can! Should we be building it ourselves – probably not

More and more nursery clients are contacting us to discuss their business developments and project management. Projects often include extensions to their premises to accommodate more children, renovating properties into nurseries and in some cases building new nurseries. This is all very exciting for the clients and it is wonderful for us to observe our client’s businesses grow.

Unfortunately, these developments can also produce a few headaches along the way, with ever-increasing Health & Safety legislation and other regulations, which dependent on the action taken, have insurance requirements too.

We have been delighted to work with Jonathan Cornes Associates to ensure our clients do not get themselves into a difficult situation and cover all the relevant areas. They have helped us put together a few tips which all clients who are undertaking building work and project management should consider.

There is a natural instinct when finances are sometimes tight to consider managing any building work yourself in the belief this will both save you money and ensure you get exactly what you are expecting due to a hands-on approach.

This may be the case in an ideal world however below are 10 points that should be considered before embarking on managing the project yourself:

  1. You may be an expert in your own field of work, however, do you have the knowledge and expertise to run and manage a construction project?
  2. Will managing a construction project distract you from your core business of running your nursery business?
  3. Do you know the type of contract that should be put in place between you and the contractor to ensure you cover any potential disputes?
  4. How would your business be affected if the construction works overran? Are you planning the work is to be completed for the new term starting? How would this type of problem be managed?
  5. Are you aware of the type and level of insurance cover that should be put in place to cover both the construction costs and potential liability risks? Have you informed your insurers that the work is due to commence and whether this could potentially affect the security and risks on site at the nursery?
  6. Costs need to be monitored, evaluated and managed therefore how will you control costs, payments, and overspending?
  7. Has the duration of the construction project been assessed and how will you deal with the contractors if there are serious delays?
  8. Construction is riddled with ever-changing Health & Safety legislation which puts legal liabilities on the owner of the building and the contractor. Are you aware of your liabilities and are you suitably qualified and competent to carry out this role?
  9. Is planning and building regulations approval required and do you know what information they may need?
  10. How will you deal with any issues/defects that come to light once the construction works are complete?


The above points are by no means exhaustive however you do need to be confident you are able to answer them before deciding to self-manage a construction project.

A number of clients we work with could have potentially fallen foul of a few of the above points but with the right guidance, they were able to make clear and objective decisions. Some continued with their initial thoughts to self-manage their projects but others decided to either bring in the professionals to assist them on a consultancy basis and a few changed their views going down the main contractor route.

It is vital any nursery business seeks the right guidance at the very start of these projects which in the long-term can save time, money and potential risk.


Additional Reading:

  • More about CDM Regs – Our guide to understanding CDM Regs. Read it now
  • Advice from HSE – Understand CDM regs from a Health & Safety point of view. Read it now