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About this guide

This online guide is drawn from knowledge of many experienced clients about how to deliver a quality built result. It explains the sometimes complex world of construction, and shows you what you need to do to get the best from all the people – advisors, designers contractors and subcontractors – you will need to employ.

The guide has been written for the ‘client’, the person or group that ‘owns’ the project. Our aim is to help see that the process and final results deliver excellent projects, so that clients, users and stakeholders can profit from the value that good design quality can bring. You may be working in complex circumstances, or delivering under pressure; this guide helps you to improve efficiency and highlight issues in design and construction processes so you can minimise risks.

Changes are always taking place in the way buildings are made. But some principles always ring true. This guide represents the learning from CABE’s advice on projects over more than 10 years. It explains how clients from the public, private and voluntary sectors, with their design and construction teams can:

  • set up the right processes and procedures for a project
  • choose the best people with whom to work
  • identify the right procurement route
  • manage the budget to achieve a quality solution
  • achieve excellence in design
  • avoid pitfalls
  • find sources of information and support.

We take a task-based approach to the guide, taking users through the design process from prepare, to design, to construct and finally use. We also set out the critical information about what you need to know before you start, including the principles of being a good client, procurement routes, stakeholder engagement and sustainability. Throughout the guide, examples from many sectors illustrate how to deliver through your project, along with case studies from CABEs online library.

Each task in the guide features a completion checklist, so you can assess whether you have done all you need to before moving on to the next task.