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Last edited 27 Aug 2021
Construction Client Buddy Scheme
The Client Buddy Scheme was developed by experienced clients in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive’s industry group Supporting Small Employers. This is an industry-wide group working together to reach and influence occasional clients.
The overall aim is to help ensure the best possible value is derived when investing in construction, and importantly that clients understand their obligations and duties as a ‘construction client’ under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015). These clients and their suppliers are often small business owners who are less familiar with their duties under CDM 2015.
Guidance is written from many viewpoints including design, procurement, contractual, health and safety and numerous others. The Buddy Scheme addresses this by providing a website linking to trusted guidance material:
- Guidance for new clients including common pitfalls to which they need to be aware.
- Best practice examples in the form of case studies and standards on a range of topics.
- Where to find professional support.
Research shows us that a disproportionate number of incidents, injuries and fatalities occur within small businesses. It is reasonable to assume that a similar picture exists in relation to time, cost and quality outcomes. This may lead to poor outcomes from getting the early stages of engagement wrong and may develop into the worst possible client, designer and contractor relationships.
One of the biggest challenges faced by less experienced clients is around procurement and understanding what construction should cost when delivered properly. Many opt for fixed price arrangements, even when the scope of a project is uncertain and the risks are not fully understood.
This can encourage the wrong behaviours when the full time and cost implications do come to light, having a negative impact on quality, health and safety, and frequently disrupting clients’ businesses.
There is a wealth of information and guidance available to inexperienced SME clients, but this assumes they know where to look and how best to apply the information in a measured manner. The Client Buddy scheme will help ensure that SME clients are directed to the right information. It will also give them the opportunity to ask questions if they need clarification on any points.
We are building case studies on various types of work which people can go onto the website and view. The hope is that by looking at what other business owners have done, new clients will pick up most of the answers to questions they will want to ask. If they have any more questions after that, they are able to fill in a form online and we will arrange a call to discuss things in more detail.
The buddy scheme is live and the Construction Clients’ Leadership Group (CCLG) hopes that through industry collaboration it will eventually become a sustainable national scheme and be able to be extended to include domestic clients.
This free to access scheme is sponsored and supported by:
- Construction Clients’ Leadership Group.
- Health and Safety Executive, Construction Industry Advisory Committee.
- Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
- Chartered Institute of Building.
This article originally appeared in the Architectural Technology Journal (at) issue 137 published by CIAT in spring 2021. It was written by Gren Tipper, Director, Construction Clients’ Leadership Group (CCLG).
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