Last edited 28 Oct 2020


In very broad terms, an 'owner' is a person or organisation who has the rightful title to something such as property, i.e. the property belongs to them.

In the construction industry, the term 'owner' typically refers to the person or organisation that owns a built asset (such as a building, bridge, tunnel, etc.) or land. But it may also refer to ownership of the components of a project. This can be important, for example, in determining whether a ownership of a component lies with a supplier or whether it has transferred to the client.

Project 13, an Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) - led initiative to boost certainty and productivity in the delivery of infrastructure, defines an infrastructure owner as:

The organisation that owns and operates the infrastructure, promotes the investment in the infrastructure programme, receives the completed facilities and puts them into operation. In the case of creating a completely new network the owner role can be created in parallel with the development of the programme. For example, in large infrastructure programmes such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games the London Legacy Development Corporation was created. The role of the owner will include the individual or organisation called the ‘Sponsor’.

The term may also refer to a person or organisation that 'owns' (or is responsible for) a project or part of a project.

For example, on publicly-funded projects, the senior responsible owner (SRO) (sometimes referred to as the 'project owner') is the individual responsible for the success of the project:

...responsible for ensuring that a programme of change or a project meets its objectives and delivers the projected benefits. The SRO should be the owner of the overall business change that is being supported by the project and should ensure that the change maintains its business focus, has clear authority and that the context, including risks, is actively managed. This individual must be senior and must take personal responsibility for successful delivery of the project. They should be recognised as the owner throughout the organisation.

(Ref. Achieving Excellence Guide 2 - Project Organisation.)

When the owner of a building also resides in it, they are referred to as the ‘owner occupier’.

A homeowner is a person who owns a home, whether an apartment or house.

NB the English Heritage, Heritage at Risk Register list the following ownership categories:


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