Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The most common FAQs are below. If there’s something else you need to know, please Contact Us here or use the quick enquiry form on the right hand side of this page.

Q: – What is the role of SWConsult?

SWConsult has been trouble shooting on remedial and engineering issues experienced by existing and new buildings since 2003. Stephen Waite has over 30 years remedial engineering experience. We consult mainly to Body Corporate Managers of high rise buildings, resorts and other commercial properties such as factories and Government buildings.

Q: – What services does SWConsult provide?

SWConsults’ initial involvement in a building issue is often resolved by the preliminary site inspection and report. However, if the building has more serious issues, then, after the initial inspection and report, the consultancy may evolve to produce a Full Defects Report or an Options Report which may be written after a ground up or rope access inspection and possible further investigation. These reports often lead to the next stage of compiling a Technical Specification. The Technical Specification will detail how to remediate the buildings issues, should they be waterproofing issues, structural cracking, window replacement, balustrade replacement, podium deck replacement, full façade recoat and paint etc. This document is then issued to various experienced ­Remedial Contractors considered capable of the works in the form of Tender. The Tender will normally be issued to 3 companies and, on receipt of the completed Tenders, we would advise our client in the form of a Tender Assessment which Contractor we would recommend. However the final choice is the clients not ours. Once the Contractor is chosen then Contract Documents are compiled and the works commence. SWConsults’ role is of the Superintendent, This role is more robust, cost effective as the role of the Superintendent is to “police” the works. However, we are able to offer a lower tier role of Project Management, if requested. The advantage of engaging SWConsult for full services is that, as remedial engineers, we do not have to engage other parties i.e. we are a ‘one stop shop’ rather than having to engage multiple consultants on one project.

Q: – What is the difference between a Superintending Engineer, Architect and Project Manager?

A Superintendent will usually ensure the specifications (which they have written) are met, claims by the Contractor verified as true before payment and generally manage the project on the behalf of the client. An Architect  may have limited experience of remedial issues, use standard specifications that they have not written and cannot provide engineering technical support which the Client may have to additionally engage. A Project Manager usually is not an engineer nor an architect but an organiser of other professionals that would need to be engaged by the Client and may be more costly.

Q: – What is the Role of the Superindentent?

The Superintendent’s role is a complex one. It requires a sound understanding of the law of contract, substantial engineering skills, and in particular, an understanding of the provisions of the particular project outcomes. The Superintendent is not a party to the contract; he is a person named in the contract by the two parties to the contract (the Proprietor and the Contractor) and given certain functions under that contract by those two parties. The role of the Superintendent would usually include:-

  • assessment of progress claims and issue of progress certificates;
  • assessment of claims for extra payment for variations to the contract;
  • assessment of claims for extension of time;
  • assessment of quality of materials and workmanship in accordance with the contract documents; and
  • assessment of claims for extra payment (such as claims under the latent conditions provisions) under the contract.

The Superintendent’s role is principally to advise on major issues of potential dispute under the contract between the Proprietor and the Contractor. In this capacity, we rely on The Institution of Engineers Australia Code of Ethics, which stipulates in clause 5 (b):- “….in our capacity as Superintendent administering a Contract, we must be impartial in our interpretation of the Contract…” The role of the Superintendent is complex. It requires substantial engineering skills, a sound understanding of the law of contract, and in particular the provisions of the particular project documents. In addition, SWConsult would administer the contract; produce claims certification and progress payments that the client is required to pay throughout the duration of the project.It is understood that liaison between the client, engineer and contractor shall be carried out in an amicable, reasonable and cooperative manner with open communication and information freely available to all.

Q: – Why use SWConsult surely we can just get quotes from Builders to Fix our Building Issues and save ourselves some money?

Many of SWConsult projects have already been down this track and it has proved a false economy for the following reasons:

  1. Body Corporates and Building Owners are not usually aware of which companies are capable of performing remedial works. Many builders specialize in new build only and are not experienced is fixing difficult problems like concrete cancer, membrane failure or structural cracking.
  2. Normally the Body Corporate or Owners will not be able to write or provide a Technical Specification, a Technical Specification details exactly what works are required in order to remediate the structure so that the repairs last and be warranted for at least 10 years. Without a Technical Specification, builders are comparing ‘apples with oranges’ when they quote, this may result in a cheaper quotation but the works will not necessarily be carried out correctly and there are no guarantees for the client that the issues will not re-emerge within 2-3 years.
  3. The additional cost of engaging a professional remediation consultancy can save tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars if the client is not experienced in choosing a contractor capable of the works in a market environment. We have experience of many building owners spending huge sums to only have the works re-done again at a much greater cost because the repairs did not perform.