Last edited 10 Nov 2022

Types of consultant in the construction industry

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[edit] What are consultants?

Consultants are professionals, appointed by a client to perform expert tasks on a project. This might include:-

Functional Standards Common Glossary, published by the Cabinet Office, describes consulting services as: ‘Advisory and related client service activities, the nature and scope of which are agreed with the client, are intended to add value and improve an organisation’s governance, risk management and control processes without the internal auditor assuming management responsibility. Examples include counsel, advice, facilitation and training.’

It is very important that the exact role of consultants is clearly defined in appointment documents. For more information see: Appointing consultants.

[edit] What are the most common types of consultant?

Other than minor projects, most construction projects are likely to required the following consultants:

The client may wish to allocate the roles of lead designer and lead consultant to one or more of these consultants to co-ordinate the work of the rest of the team. It might also be appropriate to appoint a design co-ordinator for the co-ordination and integration of design prepared by specialist contractors, and an information manager for building information modelling, and a contract administrator to perform administrative tasks required by the construction contract.

During the early stages of a project, the client might also appoint independent client advisers to give them professional advice. They might also appoint a project manager to represent them and to take responsibility for the day-to-day management of the project.

[edit] What other types of consultant might be required?

Depending on the type, complexity and size of the project, a very wide variety of consultants might be required. Some of these are listed below, with links to articles providing more information about the role of each:

For consultants to work effectively as a team they should adopt collaborative practices as early in the project as possible. The requirement to adopt such practices should be included in appointment documents. See Collaborative practices and Consultant team start-up meeting for more information.

[edit] Sub-consultants

Given the increasing complexity of many construction projects it is becoming more common that a consultant appointed on a project, will in turn themselves appoint consultants to undertake some or all of the work for which they have been engaged.

In this case, the client's consultants may be referred to as prime consultants or first tier consultants whilst the consultants that they appoint are generally referred to as 'sub-consultants' or second tier consultants. This is similar to the relationship between clients, contractors and sub-contractors.

See Sub-consultants for more information.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings


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