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).
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