- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 02 Dec 2019
In the construction industry, a specialist supplier is one who concentrates on the supply of one or more products, services or materials and who, as a result, has amassed a body of specialist knowledge and expertise.
Typical examples include suppliers of:
- High thermal performance glass.
- Laminated timber components.
- Building services equipment.
- Steel universal beams and columns.
- Lifts and escalators.
Modern design and construction projects place a huge importance on establishing collaborative practices which can involve bringing together a large number of diverse disciplines, and co-ordinating and integrating a great deal of complex information, procedures and systems. Typically, this requires early engagement of the supply chain and the introduction of specialist sub-contractor and supplier design. Their early involvement in the overall process can result in better design and construction, as well as fewer problems, delays and cost overruns.
As a result, the term 'supplier' has expanded from its traditional meaning, referring to the supply of products and materials, to a specialist that may be an integral part of the project team, supplying design, construction, installation and other specialist services.
- Tier 1 suppliers – have a direct contract with the ultimate client and can provide services to the project, eg supply of constructed assets.
- Tier 2 suppliers – have a sub-contract with the Tier 1 contractor eg suppliers of major plant and equipment, such as tower cranes.
- Tier 3 suppliers – have a sub-contract with a Tier 2 sub-contractor, eg, manufacturers, material distributors, and plant and equipment supply-and-hire firms.
- Tier n suppliers – Tier 3 sub-contractors also employ suppliers and sub-contractors, so in many cases there will be a fourth or even fifth tier involved in construction delivery.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Collaborative practices.
- Contractor vs supplier.
- Framework agreement.
- Fragmentation of the UK construction industry.
- Government construction strategy.
- Integrated supply team.
- Main contractor.
- Named specialist work.
- Nominated supplier.
- Products v goods v materials.
- Supply chain management.
- Types of contractor.
 External references
Featured articles and news
Click and lock flooring.
Recovery Advice for Business scheme launches.
Insight paper examines nuclear and net zero goals.
Suburban Americana with a secret past.
New planning rules to protect theatres, concert halls and music venues.
Public engagement in London Borough of Enfield's heritage strategy.
Engineering services in the spotlight.
The Government's Summer 2020 economic update.
Getting organised below the surface.
Securing suitable water systems.
Love them or hate them, they are popping up everywhere.