Last edited 28 Dec 2021

Employer's agent for design and build

In construction the term 'employer's agent' is used to describe an agent acting on behalf of the client as the contract administrator for design-bid-build contracts (such as the Joint Contracts Tribunal JCT SBC 16). For design build contracts, this role may or may not be included in the contract (it is contract specific). For example, there is no contract administrator in the design build contract JCT DB16, but the NEC4 does include this role as a 'project manager'.

The employer's agent is likely to be either the lead consultant (often the architect) or the cost consultant, however, the role can be carried out by someone from the client organisation such as an in-house project manager, or may be an independent project manager appointed by the client.

In addition to their role as contract administrator, the employer's agent may also carry out other tasks on the client's behalf prior to the award of a contract, such as co-ordinating the tender process, co-ordinating the novation of consultants, collating contract documents for execution, implementing change control procedures and so on.

After the contract has been awarded the employer's agent's role as contract administrator may include:

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NB For a detailed description of the sequence of work stages necessary on a design and build project see the free work plan: Design and build: outline work plan.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings

[edit] External references


I believe your page on Employers Agents responsibilities within D&B contracts is incorrect in a number of places as it discusses the role as Contract Administrator which DOES NOT exist within a D&B contract.

The article is not intended to suggest that there is formal position of contract administrator on design and build contracts, only that one of the functions performed by an Employer's Agent is what would be described as a 'contract administrator' on traditional contracts.

On page 222 of David Chappell's "The Architect in Practice" 11th Edition it states that "The employer's agent does not issue certificates", contradicting the information on this page. Can you please clarify?

This is a general article about the possible roles of an Employer's Agent. The specifics of who precisely does what and what those functions are called will depend on the actual contract that is selected and what obligations it imposes on the parties to the contract. The Architect in Practice is referring specifically to the JCT contract. This article only mentions the JCT contract as one type of design and build contract.

Perhaps also worth noting the contract administration role under different forms of contract, whether as JCT Employer's Agent, NEC Project Manager, etc remains the same in at least one critical aspect sometimes overlooked - to act fairly and impartially! including matters of assessment and certification.

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