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Last edited 21 Feb 2022
Lead consultant for building design
The position of lead consultant is identified in some forms of appointment, such as:
- The Construction Industry Council (CIC) conditions of contract.
- The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Standard Agreement for the Appointment of an Architect.
- The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Standard Form of Consultant's Appointment.
- The Association of Consultant Architects (ACE) Agreements.
The lead consultant is the consultant that directs the work of the consultant team and is the main point of contact for communication between the client and the consultant team, except for on significant design issues where the lead designer may become the main point of contact.
The lead consultant's role might include:
- Co-ordinating, monitoring and reviewing the work of the consultant team (and others, such as specialist designers and specialist contractors).
- Arranging consultant team meetings and planning work stages.
- Preparing programmes and progress reports.
- Seeking instructions from the client.
- Advising the client on the choice of procurement route.
- Advising the client on the need to appoint additional advisers, consultants or specialist designers.
- Establishing change control procedures at key stages, for example when the project brief is frozen or when detailed design is frozen.
- Arranging value management exercises.
- Advising the client on the choice of contract and contract conditions.
- Assist the client in defining selection criteria for contractors and preparing pre-qualification questionnaires.
- Co-ordinating the review of tenders.
Some of these roles may appear to duplicate tasks undertaken by the project manager, however the project manager is acting as if they were the client, whereas the lead consultant is co-ordinating the activities of the consultant team.
As the role of lead consultant involves additional services, beyond those that might be expected from a consultant that is not appointed as lead consultant, it is important that it is discussed with consultants before they are appointed and their scope of services and fee agreed. The client cannot assume that these services will be carried out within the agreed fee unless the role of lead consultant has been allocated.
The lead consultant will often be the architect, however this is not necessarily the case and appointment documents for other consultants will generally offer provision for them the be nominated lead consultant.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings
- Appointing consultants.
- Collaborative practices.
- Commercial manager.
- Construction team.
- Consultant team.
- Consultant team manager.
- Consulting engineer.
- Design liability.
- Design management.
- Lead designer.
- Professional indemnity insurance.
- Project manager.
 External references
- Detailed analysis of roles in various forms of contract / appointment. University of Reading, Roles in construction projects: analysis and terminology.
- Leading the team: an architect's guide to design management, Dale Sinclair, RIBA Publishing, 2011.
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