Last edited 24 Feb 2015

Independent client adviser for building design and construction

The Government Construction Strategy proposes that publicly-funded projects should adopt either a design and build, private finance initiative (PFI) or prime contract procurement route, unless it can be demonstrated that an alternative route offers better value.

The government recommend appointing an integrated supply team to design and construct (and sometimes to finance, operate and maintain) the development. This appointment is expected to take place once the project brief has been prepared, i.e. before any design work has been undertaken. This means that the client is not required to appoint design consultants themselves. As a consequence, any expert advice they might require is provided by the appointment of independent client advisers.

The extent of advice required from independent client advisers will depend upon the in-house expertise available to the client. Some clients (such as the Ministry of Defence) may be very experienced and require little external advice, whilst others may be undertaking their first building project and could require considerable external input.

Professions that might offer services as independent client advisers could include:

Where several independent client advisers are appointed, it may be appropriate to make one of them 'lead consultant' with responsibility for co-ordinating the others and becoming the main liaison for the client. Alternatively, the client may wish to appoint their own project manager to perform this co-ordination role (although on public projects the independent client advisers may be appointed before the project manager).

OGC guidance states that...

Where the project sponsor is not a technical expert and such expertise is not available in-house, external advisers should be consulted at the earliest opportunity, before Gate 0 (OGC Gateway 0: Strategic assessment) ... Access to independent client advisers is especially useful before the appointment of the project manager.

ref Achieving Excellence Guide 2 - Project Organisation P6.

Independent client advisers might be required on public sector projects to help the client:

OGC guidance shows the relationship between independent client advisers and other key roles as illustrated below:

Client1.jpg

Image reproduced courtesy of OGC ref Achieving Excellence Guide 2 - Project Organisation.

Independent client advisers can also be beneficial in the ealry stages of private sector projects, before the consultant team is appointed, providing advice on issues such as; assessing the potential to refurbish or re-structure rather than undertake a new building project, identifying potential sites, developing a business case, developing a strategic brief, identifying and selecting consultants and so on.

NB The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has now been absorbed into the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) within the Cabinet Office. OGC guidance has been archived, however, it is cited in the Government Construction Strategy and the Common Minimum Standards, and links are provided to OGC documents from government websites such as the Major Projects Authority. The OGC gateway review process still provides one of the best and most comprehensive sets of guidance for public projects. It is for this reason that the project plan for public projects within Designing Buildings Wiki follows the OGC gateway review process.

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