Last edited 25 Sep 2020

Third party dependencies for building design and construction

Not every aspect of a project is within the direct control of the client or their project team. Every project is dependent to some extent on third parties. It is important that these third party dependencies are identified and that their potential impacts are understood, quantified and managed.

Third parties may not be motivated by the same objectives as the client or project team, but nevertheless they can have a serious impact on the programme for a project. It is not safe to assume, just because a time allocation has been made within a programme for a third party dependency, that the third party has any interest in keeping to that programme.

These third parties are often different from stakeholders in that they may have no interest in the project or any ability to affect decisions, and yet they may still be in a position to impact upon success.

Third parties can even be responsible for completely unrelated, circumstantial dependencies, such as the legislative framework. For example, the introduction of changes to the building regulations can have a very significant impact on a project and yet are entirely beyond the control of the project team.

The range of potential third party dependencies is very wide and will vary from project to project, but may include:

Identifying and assessing these third party dependencies should involve the whole project team, and can be best carried out at a project workshop (for example it may form part of a risk workshop – see risk register for more information). Techniques such as PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological) can help identify third party dependencies.

It is important that this is not simply a paper exercise. The probability and importance of impacts should be assessed so that resources can be prioritised, responsibilities allocated and strategies put in place to monitor progress (see stakeholder and stakeholder map for more information about how this might be done).

Where risks remain, strategies should be put in place to mitigate, transfer, avoid or accept those risks. See risk register for more information.

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