Last edited 07 Feb 2021

Specialist suppliers in the construction industry

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:

As an acknowledged expert in their field of activity, they may also offer design advisory services to boost sales and help specifiers in the technical design process.

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.

BIS research paper No 145 published by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in October 2013 classifies suppliers in tiered layers according to their role. So,

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