Last edited 12 Oct 2020

Construction management: appointing consultants

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At various stages of the project, the client may wish to appoint: independent client advisers, members of the consultant team, site inspectors and so on. As appointments can take place at any point they are presented here as a separate stage rather than continually repeating the tasks throughout the other stages.


[edit] Agreeing the procedures to be adopted.

The client may decide they need advice or assistance from independent client advisers or existing members of the consultant team to help them make new appointments.

The client determines the selection procedure that will be adopted. This might be a process of recommendation, research and interview, open competition (with or without design), selective competition (with or without design), or an existing relationship such as a framework agreement. The client may have to follow a pre-determined procedure; if there are in-house rules governing appointments, if they are a local authority or other public body, or if the project will be publicly funded. Such procedures may include assessing whether OJEU procurement rules are likely to apply, which can cause significant delays unless implemented early in the project, as the procedures that must be followed are quite lengthy.

[edit] Preparing documentation.

The client agrees the wording of any adverts that are required (such as OJEU adverts) and if appropriate prepares a pre-qualification questionnaire.

If it has not already been done, the client prepares documentation describing the nature of the development (such as a strategic brief).

The client defines the schedule of services that will be required, along with selection criteria, form of appointment and contract terms for the appointment. The schedule of services might require activities that are not included on standard forms of appointment, or may be considered 'additional services'. Additional services could include: post-occupancy evaluation services, the use of building information modelling, the preparation of an outline planning application and so on. For more information see the article on appointments.

The client agrees the form of proposal that will be requested from candidates and puts in place procedures for responding to queries from candidates.

The client prepares a formal request for proposals. If design proposals are requested, it is best practice to offer payment to candidates. This ensures that candidates give their full attention to preparing their proposals (which is in the best interests of the client) and ensures that the candidates feel they will be treated fairly by the client.

[edit] Preparing a list of possible candidates.

The client prepares a long list of possible candidates, either from recommendations (perhaps from existing members of the consultant team or construction manager if appointed), existing relationships or expressions of interest received in response to adverts.

The candidates may be required to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire, or there may be some other assessment procedures (such as interviews) that results in the preparation of a short list invited to submit proposals. Such assessments may include evaluating experience and capability, checking professional indemnity insurance, assessing CDM competence and BIM competence, checking references and so on.

Short-listed candidates are invited to submit consultant's proposals in response to the client's request for proposals.

[edit] Selecting the preferred candidate and making the appointment.

The client collates responses to queries from candidates and issues those responses to all candidates.

The client receives and opens the consultant's proposals and makes a record of the fee proposals of each candidate. In some circumstances, fee proposals may be submitted in a sealed envelope and opened separately from the rest of the consultant's proposals so that the assessment procedure is not initially prejudiced by the fee (which it may be possible to negotiate down).

The client assesses the consultant's proposals. They may seek advice from existing consultants or the construction manager if appointed.

The client invites the candidates to interview, identifies the preferred candidate(s) and opens negotiations with the preferred candidate(s).

The client appoints the selected candidate and if appropriate arranges a consultant team start-up meeting with existing consultants and the construction manager if appointed.

The client informs other candidates that they have been unsuccessful. It is best practice to give clearly thought-out, specific feedback to unsuccessful candidates as they have taken the time to prepare proposals, often for no fee. Candidates greatly appreciate this feedback and will be more likely to express interest in future projects.

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