It seems that in every building or construction project, there are hidden items that end up costing someone on the project more than they had planned.

They’re like “little ghosts” that appear, no matter how much research and planning is done by all parties, with no warning and with no Dan Aykroyd or Bill Murray in sight.

In residential projects, the apparitions arrive on approval of the DA with onerous conditions regarding flood planning, or acid sulphate soil conditions and the additional consultant costs incurred by these conditions. Some consultant costs can be reasonably expected in a project and can be included in the initial budgets, but the likelihood of some are so low they cannot be planned – not to mention a condition to protect a tree in a neighbour’s backyard or the minefield of financing a multi-residential project.

The ‘Caspers’ of the retail world include the whims of the tenancy coordinator imposing design conditions outside the guidelines provided, no doubt well justified and delivering a better final product but causing additional costs just the same. The requirement for out of hours work due to dust, noise and disturbance to other retailers can also create a costing headache for the contractors and retailer alike.

Then we consider the realms of the office fitout, whether it be a private or public company or a government department. Here the supernatural effects can be felt throughout the project. The typical culprits encountered here are the ‘we didn’t allow for that,’ the ‘that’s not what I asked for,’ and the ‘it’s not my money, just change it and charge me’ ghouls that create additional costs, extra paperwork and conflict between parties as they try to manage the issues.

There possibly is no easy solution to the poltergeists of the construction world but a concerted theme of cooperation between all parties on a project to ensure they are minimised can only benefit the whole industry and our clients big and small.