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Last edited 12 Oct 2020
Construction management: appointing consultants
At various stages of the project, the client may wish to appoint: independent client advisers, members of the consultant team, site inspectors and so on. As appointments can take place at any point they are presented here as a separate stage rather than continually repeating the tasks throughout the other stages.
The client determines the selection procedure that will be adopted. This might be a process of recommendation, research and interview, open competition (with or without design), selective competition (with or without design), or an existing relationship such as a framework agreement. The client may have to follow a pre-determined procedure; if there are in-house rules governing appointments, if they are a local authority or other public body, or if the project will be publicly funded. Such procedures may include assessing whether OJEU procurement rules are likely to apply, which can cause significant delays unless implemented early in the project, as the procedures that must be followed are quite lengthy.
 Preparing documentation.
The client defines the schedule of services that will be required, along with selection criteria, form of appointment and contract terms for the appointment. The schedule of services might require activities that are not included on standard forms of appointment, or may be considered 'additional services'. Additional services could include: post-occupancy evaluation services, the use of building information modelling, the preparation of an outline planning application and so on. For more information see the article on appointments.
The client prepares a formal request for proposals. If design proposals are requested, it is best practice to offer payment to candidates. This ensures that candidates give their full attention to preparing their proposals (which is in the best interests of the client) and ensures that the candidates feel they will be treated fairly by the client.
 Preparing a list of possible candidates.
The client prepares a long list of possible candidates, either from recommendations (perhaps from existing members of the consultant team or construction manager if appointed), existing relationships or expressions of interest received in response to adverts.
The candidates may be required to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire, or there may be some other assessment procedures (such as interviews) that results in the preparation of a short list invited to submit proposals. Such assessments may include evaluating experience and capability, checking professional indemnity insurance, assessing CDM competence and BIM competence, checking references and so on.
 Selecting the preferred candidate and making the appointment.
The client receives and opens the consultant's proposals and makes a record of the fee proposals of each candidate. In some circumstances, fee proposals may be submitted in a sealed envelope and opened separately from the rest of the consultant's proposals so that the assessment procedure is not initially prejudiced by the fee (which it may be possible to negotiate down).
The client informs other candidates that they have been unsuccessful. It is best practice to give clearly thought-out, specific feedback to unsuccessful candidates as they have taken the time to prepare proposals, often for no fee. Candidates greatly appreciate this feedback and will be more likely to express interest in future projects.
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