Last edited 13 Jan 2016

Appointing consultants for small domestic projects

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See also: Appointing consultants for building design and construction, for more detailed information.

Consultants are professionals that are appointed by client to perform tasks on a project. Responsibilities include providing advice on setting up and defining a project, preparing production information, inspecting the work of contractors, creating and co-coordinating building designs and so on. For consultants to work effectively as a team they should adopt collaborative practices in the project as early as possible. The requirement to adopt such practices should be included in appointment documents.

The consultants required for building projects are likely to include:

A structural engineer plays a crucial role in the building project, responsible for designing, assessing and inspecting structures to ensure that they are efficient and stable. Structural engineers focus on a wide range of structures including ships, buildings, bridges and aircraft.

Services offered by a structural engineer might include:

Architects and/or other designers are also likely to be required. 'Designers' may not have academic training in architecture and engineering but can be highly experienced for example in interior space planning. If you’re remodeling a kitchen or adding a family room, a designer may have all necessary the skills you need. A designer or design/build firm can handle most residential projects. The designer and contractor should operate as a team, not adversaries. The designer is commissioned to finish the drawings once the budget is approved. After you’ve made a decision between an architect and designer, you have to find one to work with. Ask family, friends and neighbours you trust for recommendations. Then look at their last few jobs and interview the homeowners.

Clients should provide a form of 'request for proposals' in order to select potential consultants. This might include:

  • Information about clients' brief, budget and programme.
  • Any specific project deadlines.
  • A request for references.
  • A request for hourly rates to be applied to different tasks.
  • The scope of services expected.

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