Last edited 12 Apr 2021

Types of consultant in the construction industry

Consultants are professionals, typically, appointed by the client to perform expert tasks on a project. This might include:-

The members of the consultant team that are likely to be required on most projects are:

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.

During the early stages of a project, the client might appoint independent client advisers to give them independent professional advice. They might also appoint a project manager to represent the client and take responsibility for the day-to-day management of the project.

Other consultants who might be required on some projects include:

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 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.

See Sub-consultants for more information.

NB: In the public sector, the procurement route preferred by the government involves appointing an integrated supply team responsible for designing and building (and perhaps operating and financing) the project, and so a consultant team is not appointed by the client.

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