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The role of the client in building projects

As a client, you'll work with experts to deliver your building project. Although you may not have their subject expertise, your overriding role as the client is just as important.

The client's opportunity to increase value is greatest at the start of the project.

If your project is an orchestra, then you are the conductor. Delivering your project will involve working with people with diverse skills, and it will be up to you to keep them all on track. In turn they will expect certain things of you - so you and your organisation should be aware of the roles and responsibilities of being a client.

In finding greater efficiencies and value for money in how our buildings are built and operated, more than ever the client is crucial in making sure the core requirements for the building are communicated to the various parties involved; you may not have control of the whole answer, but you should make sure that the right questions are asked.

Clients are, more often than not, a client body rather than an individual. It will be a body with staff, users, financial and legal advisors, funders and board members. Getting everything in place as an organisation, including getting decisions vested in individuals within the client team, is essential before you face the complexities and cost of a construction project.

The prepare phase is critical because major changes can be made to the project without incurring large costs.

Before you continue, make sure that you read the following information about the role of the client in building projects:

Example of the role of the client

  • Knowsley schools

    Knowsley schools

    Radical change requires a commitment to service improvement and staff training

Commonly used processes applied to the four stages of a building project - prepare, design, construct and use

Commonly used processes applied to the four stages of a building project - prepare, design, construct and use.

A successful project starts by asking yourself: 'what does it mean to want to be the best?' This idea has to cascade through at all levels, from boardroom to staff.
Project director, health trust