- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 23 May 2018
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:
- Neighbours (planning matters, party wall matters, access and other permissions, easements, right to light, tree rights and so on).
- Licensing authorities.
- Planning authorities.
- Building control.
- Other statutory authorities and non-statutory authorities (Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency, Civil Aviation Authority, English Nature, Historic England, CABE, Highways England and so on – see Statutory authorities for more information).
- Utilities companies and other statutory undertakers.
- Purchasers or vendors of land or properties.
- Archaeological or other surveyors (surveys can reveal issues such as; archaeological remains, unexploded bombs, asbestos, contamination, japanese knotweed, roosting bats, great crested newts, tree preservation orders and so on that can cause very significant delays to a project).
- Dependent projects (for example decontamination of the site by a third party prior to sale of land to the client).
- Funding availability.
- Local Chambers of Commerce.
- The supply market (goods, labour, plant, equipment and so on).
- The availability of third party services (such as local schools, feeder organisatons, local transport, local infrastructure and so on.)
- The political and legislative framework.
- The wider economic context.
- Emergency services.
- Community groups.
- Special interest groups.
- The press.
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.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
How to get results with building life cycle assessment.
Government publishes a prospectus inviting proposals for new 'garden communities'.
The Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa collapses during rainstorm while undergoing maintenance works.
'Developed design' is a phrase coined by the RIBA for their 2013 Plan of Work. But what does it actually mean?
New green paper published aiming to rebalance the relationship between landlords and residents and tackle stigma.
RIBA calls for a comprehensive ban on combustible materials.
Lump sum contracts can be referred to as ‘fixed price’ contracts, although strictly this is not correct. Find out more here.
Ramboll offer guidance to civil engineers on how to make projects 'off-site ready'.
Government announces its Rough Sleeping Strategy, with further funding for social housing.
An overlooked architect who deserves to be celebrated for his wide range of buildings.
The Home Quality Mark ONE technical manuals for new homes are now available.