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Last edited 10 Nov 2022
Types of consultant in the construction industry
 What are consultants?
- Providing advice on setting up and defining the project.
- Developing and co-ordinating the design.
- Preparing production information and tender documentation.
- Contract administration.
- Inspecting the work of contractors and other suppliers.
Functional Standards Common Glossary, published by the Cabinet Office, describes consulting services as: ‘Advisory and related client service activities, the nature and scope of which are agreed with the client, are intended to add value and improve an organisation’s governance, risk management and control processes without the internal auditor assuming management responsibility. Examples include counsel, advice, facilitation and training.’
 What are the most common types of consultant?
The client may wish to allocate the roles of lead designer and lead consultant to one or more of these consultants to co-ordinate the work of the rest of the team. It might also be appropriate to appoint a design co-ordinator for the co-ordination and integration of design prepared by specialist contractors, and an information manager for building information modelling, and a contract administrator to perform administrative tasks required by the construction contract.
During the early stages of a project, the client might also appoint independent client advisers to give them professional advice. They might also appoint a project manager to represent them and to take responsibility for the day-to-day management of the project.
 What other types of consultant might be required?
Depending on the type, complexity and size of the project, a very wide variety of consultants might be required. Some of these are listed below, with links to articles providing more information about the role of each:
- Access consultant.
- Acoustic consultant.
- Approved inspector (for building regulations approvals).
- Business management consultant.
- Chartered environmentalist.
- Client design adviser.
- Client's representative.
- Civil engineer.
- Construction manager.
- Consulting engineer.
- Contract administrator.
- Employer's agent.
- Employer's BIM adviser.
- Environmental consultant.
- Facilities manager.
- Fire engineering consultant.
- Furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) consultant.
- Health and safety consultant.
- Information and communications technology (ICT) consultant.
- Interior designer.
- Landscape architect.
- Local consultants with specialist knowledge of local procedures, culture, and so on.
- Lighting designer.
- Management contractor.
- Party wall surveyor.
- Planning consultant.
- Programme consultant.
- Public health consultant.
- Rights of light surveyor.
- Security consultant.
- Site inspector (clerk of works).
- Specialist contractor.
- Structural waterproofing consultant.
- Transport/traffic engineer.
- Vertical transportation (VT) consultant (also called a lift & escalator consultant)
For consultants to work effectively as a team they should adopt collaborative practices as early in the project as possible. The requirement to adopt such practices should be included in appointment documents. See Collaborative practices and Consultant team start-up meeting for more information.
Given the increasing complexity of many construction projects it is becoming more common that a consultant appointed on a project, will in turn themselves appoint consultants to undertake some or all of the work for which they have been engaged.
In this case, the client's consultants may be referred to as prime consultants or first tier consultants whilst the consultants that they appoint are generally referred to as 'sub-consultants' or second tier consultants. This is similar to the relationship between clients, contractors and sub-contractors.
- Appointing consultants.
- Architect's fees.
- Building engineering services.
- Building Information Modelling.
- Collaborative practices.
- Commercial management.
- Commercial manager.
- Consultancy playbook.
- Consultant team start-up meeting.
- Consulting engineer.
- Design liability.
- Integrated project team.
- Integrated supply team.
- Professional indemnity insurance.
- Specialist designers.
- Team management.
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