Champions for construction clients
It is important on all projects that there are designated client champions, '...to take responsibility for design quality throughout the project. This may be the departmental champion with a responsibility for all the organisation’s construction projects or an individual assigned the role specifically for the project (ref Achieving Excellence Guide 9 - Design Quality).
It can be appropriate to appoint a number of champions:
- A senior design champion might be appointed to ensure that schemes do not proceed until they achieve an acceptable level of design quality.
- A project-level design champion might become more involved in the detail of the design.
- Special interest champions, might represent the interests of particularly important aspects of the project.
Special interest champions could be appointed to represent:
- Design quality.
- Customer interests.
- Staff interests.
- Information technology.
- Change management.
- Facilities management.
- A soft landings champion to ensure the design optimises operational performance and that there is a smooth transition from construction to occupation.
The role of champions might include:
- Articulating the vision for the project.
- Articulating the client's design quality aspirations.
- Ensuring that design objectives are clearly described in briefing documents.
- Evaluating design quality throughout the design process.
- Chairing user panels relevant to their particular area of responsibility.
It is important that design champions are appointed as soon as possible so that they can play a part in establishing the vision for the project. This will make them more likely to defend the vision.
Design champions do not need to have experience of construction projects, it is more important that their role is clearly defined and they are given the authority, time and support to enable them to perform this role. For many of those involved, the project will be a ‘parallel activity’ carried out in addition their day job. This means that their individual goals need to be re-aligned to include the project goals, rather than just being linked to their normal day job.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Consultation process.
- Design quality.
- Design review.
- Integrated project team.
- Soft landings.
- Stakeholder map.
- Third party dependencies.
- User panels.
 External references
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