The Services We Provide


We operate as a seamless extension to a Client's business model providing the services required, when they are required and delivered on time. Our team of dedicated experts provide all the necessary support services to keep the Client's business operating efficiently and effectively.

We use the latest technology and techniques and have experience of many types of construction projects from small alteration works to multi-million pound complex hospital developments.

Quantity Surveying


V B Johnson LLP are Chartered Quantity Surveyors and have been providing quantity surveying services since our formation in 1952. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) was founded in 1868 and is widely recognized as the most respected land, property, construction and related environmental professional bodies in the world today. Our staff comprise Fellows, Associates and Technicians of the RICS and offer exhaustive knowledge of all quantity surveying matters.

Our quantity surveying services include amongst other things:

  • Preparation of cost estimates
  • Preparation of building whole life costings
  • Construction procurement advice
  • Preparation of tender documents (bills of quantities, specifications, schedules of works, activity schedules, measured term contracts, etc.)
  • Evaluation of tenders and preparation of tender reports
  • Preparation of interim valuations
  • Preparation and agreement of variations and final accounts
  • Preparation of cost analyses

Cost Estimating


Dependable cost estimating is fundamental to the planning and design, and ultimately the overall success of a construction project. It is the true financial foundation of any project. Accurate estimates provide vital feasibility and budgetary information from project inception and business cases through to completion of the design process, maximising the financial value of the project.

We employ specialist dedicated software with the ability to generate true four-dimensional computerised cost models of any construction project. The models provide detailed and realistic budgets for the proposed works and are essential, particularly at feasibility stages, where option appraisals and what-if scenarios can be carried out extremely quickly. The software incorporates risk analysis and whole life costings and is unparalleled in determining best value options. The cost model acts as a running ledger for the project, constantly updated as further information becomes available and always delivering an up-to-date detailed financial report.

Cost Management


Cost management is the core of an integrated design process that delivers best value for clients and achieves maximum return on investment. Cost management is not simply about monitoring and controlling costs but a whole dynamic approach involving strategic alliances and partnership working with clients, design and construction team members during the product development and implementation phases to achieve positive outcomes. Our approach ensures options are identified and costed, solutions obtained and critical decisions are taken when they matter and in an appropriate manner to deliver true value to clients.

Value Engineering


Value engineering can be divided into two primary activities:

  • The identification of Client needs
  • The means of achieving the satisfaction of those needs with the best value, where value is measured by the following equation:

The traditional Cost Planning approach to a project aims to ensure that the budget is not exceeded, but such an approach does not specifically address the real problem of ensuring that true value is designed into the project. Value engineering is not simply a cost cutting exercise, but identifies and eliminates the unnecessary cost (that is, the cost that does not contribute to a function), which is inherent in all construction projects.

Whole Life Costs


In the past, the capital cost of a building, i.e. the cost of constructing the building, has been largely the only cost considered as a project cost. Whole life costing considers the costs associated with the life of the building. It produces the net present value of an asset over its operating life or defined period. Whole life costs may include the following:

  • Initial capital costs
  • Financing costs
  • Operational costs
  • Maintenance, repair, replacement and alteration costs
  • Occupancy costs
  • Residual values

Building life is influenced by obsolescence, identified in six different forms:

  • Physical - when the building is likely to collapse through structural failure
  • Defined - when occupancy of the building ends under the terms of an agreement (although the building may have a future life under another agreement)
  • Economic - when occupancy of the building is not considered to be the least cost alternative of meeting a particular objective
  • Functional - when a building ceases to function for the same purpose as that for which it was built
  • Social - when popular demands dictates a replacement other than for economic considerations
  • Legal - when legislation dictates a replacement other than for economic considerations

Building whole life costs should be considered as part of the feasibility and option studies carried out at the Capital Planning stage. Only by doing this can a true comparison of options be obtained. For example, a building with a low capital cost but high maintenance and repair cost may have a higher net present value than a building with a higher capital cost but lower maintenance and repair cost, and therefore offer worse value to the client over the life of the building. At V B Johnson we employ specialist whole life costing software and can produce whole life cost studies for any type of building.

Property Tax


Inherent in every property transaction is qualifying capital expenditure on plant and machinery, which includes such items as heating, air-conditioning, lifts, carpets and sanitary appliances. There are also many other items that may be applicable to certain types of building.

The content of these qualifying items within a building may vary from 15% for a basic two storey office, to 40% for a prestige high specification head office and to 50% or more for a five star hotel.

Capital allowances are available on qualifying expenditure and provide a valuable tax relief that can reduce the overall investment cost of a building by 6-12% depending on the specification and the trade carried on in the building.

To qualify for these capital allowances, you must own the item concerned and have paid for it, it must be for the purpose of a trade and you must be an actual or potential tax payer. This will therefore preclude charities, Local Authorities and other non-profit organisations from claiming.

In order to secure the highest amount of tax relief available, the claim must be maximised by those who are skilled in surveying and tax, and have the ability to negotiate with the Inland Revenue when necessary to achieve the best results without risk.

V B Johnson are specialist in property tax and can offer a full consultancy service on various areas of allowances and tax relief some of which are listed below:

  • Plant and machinery allowances
  • Industrial and hotel building allowances
  • Enhanced capital allowances
  • Research and development allowances
  • Land remediation relief
  • Flats over city centre shops

Expert Witness and Dispute Resolution


Whether your commercial arrangement involves thousands or millions of pounds, despite all best intentions, there is a risk that conflict can arise and develop into a formal dispute. V B Johnson can provide independent expert assistance in managing claims of all sizes in a risk assessed and cost effective manner, helping minimise the impact on core business.

Claims resulting from scope change, supply chain problems and design crises have significant impact on the viability of projects and on the flow of cash, resulting in additional costs and failure to deliver to programme and budget.

We give early reasoned expert advice on quantum and programme matters, allowing parties to make an early-action risk assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of their cases and to consider the potential for alternative means of settlement.

We provide specialist claims management advice, including the preparation and defence of claims and represent clients in negotiations to reach effective settlement and minimise project and business impact. We can also provide independent programming and delay analysis and quantum expert forensic assistance in the prosecution and defence of claims in Litigation and Arbitration.

We can work as Expert independently or with the client's team in support of Experts.

Project Management


Effective project management is the key to project success. Project management is not a rigid exercise but a flexible operation primarily co-ordinating all parties to ensure the project achieves the Client's aims and objectives. We provide a total client-focused, comprehensive and efficient service for construction projects blending the required skills and resources. Our staff comprise Members of the Association for Project Management with a formidable track record of managing projects successfully.

Design and Build Management


For many clients, the advantages of design and build contracts, these being, maximum overlap between design and construction, design competition, construction expertise reflected in design development, early commitment to maximum price and usually a shorter period from inception to start on site provides a low risk, cost effective, bespoke solution to their capital project requirements.

However, design and build is not a panacea for not knowing what you are doing in construction procurement. Successful design and build contracts require successful management: feasibility studies and initial budgets must be accurate; Employer's Requirements must be comprehensive and unambiguous, clearly defining the required works whilst maintaining maximum design and specification flexibility and competition; suitable tenderers have to be selected; Contractors' Proposals must be evaluated and analysed for compliance and to determine best value; contract documents must correctly prepared for signature; and contract administration must be carried out correctly, effectively and efficiently once construction starts. V B Johnson provide expert design and build management service, from building inception to completion. Our training, methodology and live experience, from simple housing developments and industrial units to complex multi-million pound hospitals and office developments, puts us at the forefront of design and build management.

Procurement Advice


There are a number of standard routes or processes, particularly with respect to the construction stage, that need early consideration when procuring construction. Each route places different demands, risk allocation and responsibilities on everyone involved and different cash flow profiles on the client. The chosen route is then supported by standard or custom forms of contract.

V B Johnson LLP provide expert advice on procurement routes and contractual arrangements to ensure the most suitable option is adopted to suit the requirements of the client and the project.

Building Surveying


It is important to be fully informed about the condition of a property, before any intended purchase or before any alteration or renovation work begins. Only by having this information can a reasoned judgment of a purchase price be made, or realistic alteration or renovation budgets determined.

There are various types of building surveys available, and they should be carried out by fully qualified professionals. V B Johnson through their trading division John Watson and Carter are all fully qualified for this work and have long experience in carrying out building surveys.

Full Building Surveys

This is the most thorough building survey involving close examination of all of the internal and external components. It is applicable to almost all properties and provides a detailed report of condition. It will identify active woodworm attack and dry rot and other infestation.

Historic Building Surveys

This is similar to the full building survey but is intended for properties that carry special responsibilities because of their listed status. Repair of listed buildings usually requires additional consideration and sometimes specialist techniques to comply with Listed Building Legislation. We can also help with guidance on how best to repair such buildings to prevent progressive deterioration.


Dilapidations are usually applicable to commercial, industrial and residential properties that are involved in tenancy change, whereby the outgoing tenant or landlord has a schedule of dilapidations prepared. Dilapidations can also be applicable before purchasing or leasing an existing property as a record of the existing condition and as an aid in price negotiation. V B Johnson can carry out this work preparing complete schedules with record photographs, and where necessary carry out negotiations and provide associated support services as required.

Party Wall Matters

The Party Wall Etc Act 1996 requires that either one or two surveyors be appointed in matters that affect buildings adjacent to each other. Buildings can also mean land. V B Johnson can act as Party Wall surveyors offering guidance and ensuring that necessary notices are presented or received as the case maybe. It is essential that any works, apart from very minor construction work, is considered under this Act and the appropriate notices given.

CDM Co-ordinator and Project Safety


With the introduction of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations in 1995, designers within the UK were made responsible under criminal legislation for the safety of their designs. Prior to this, all legislation relating to the construction industry was aimed at contractors.

Although with the Regulations now nearly ten years old, a recent Health and Safety Executive investigation revealed that some 40% of designers still did not understand how they could, or should, reduce the risk of health and safety hazards for construction workers. With the further fact that 60% of all accidents are attributable to design decisions, there is still much room for improvement in this area.

Despite this, the UK is the world leader in construction safety in general with, for example, the fatality rate per 100,000 construction workers being 5.1. In Germany the figure rises to 8 and continues to rise with Italy at 12.8, France at 17.6 and Spain at 19.3. Serious injuries and health problems are also proportionately greater outside the UK. Whilst we have no comparable statistics available, the situation in the US is regarded as being worse than the European Union.

As part of this UK drive towards higher safety standards, we have been involved in the Planning Supervision role almost since the introduction of the Regulations and have specifically employed a consultant Architect throughout this time. We are also a member of the regional construction safety association comprising of over eighty construction companies and professional firms with regular contact with the Health & Safety Executive.

In essence, we see our role as ensuring that both hazard identification and risk assessment are carried out correctly by the designers, and are also able to advise on safer solutions to design problems.

Health and safety in construction is not just a moral or ethical issue, as important as those are. We find that in many instances when risk assessment has been applied correctly that the health and safety improvements which result are not the only ones. Safe design can also result in better design, better overall planning and better execution of the works, which ultimately saves time and can therefore also reduce costs.

Maintenance issues are also examined as part of the risk reduction process, and can therefore similarly result in a more cost effective and better managed finished building for the client.

V B Johnson LLP provide full CDM Co-ordinator and project safety services. We consider ourselves to be an integral part of the design team, and if made part of that team from design inception we can contribute added value to the project.