Over recent years, we have witnessed an increase in the number of commercial clients opting to have their own new-build premises constructed.
Rather than buying and adapting an existing property, building one from scratch can create a purpose-built workplace to better suit the business’ needs, both now and into the future.
The majority of companies are inexperienced in managing large-scale building projects and may underestimate the input required to achieve a successful project delivery. To assist during the build, some company clients or developers may opt to take on an Employer’s Agent to protect their interests.
An Employers Agent’s role is to act on behalf of the client as the Contract Administrator for Design and Build Contracts, assuming responsibility for ensuring the works are undertaken to the client’s required standards in terms of quality, time and cost.
There are many benefits to appointing an Employer’s Agent to oversee a build. Here we look at some of these for each stage of the process.
Before the build
The ideal time to appoint an Employers Agent is before ground is even broken on the build. At this stage, the Employers Agent can liaise with all parties including the main organisations involved, which may include a developer, principal contractor and designers. The Employers Agent can prepare any contract documents required, including an Employer’s Requirements Document for design and build contracts, and also review the documents and plans in detail.
Where contractors have not yet been appointed, the Employers Agent can manage this process, reviewing tenders proposed and selecting the best bid.
Projected timescales and costs can also be reviewed at this stage to ensure everything is in order and that the client has realistic expectations as to what will be expected and when.
All of these tasks help to ensure that the project starts off on the right foot and the client has full transparency of the project ahead.
During the build
During the build, an Employer’s Agent will monitor construction on site and see that the project is progressing at a suitable rate. This will involve regular meetings on site with contractors, ensuring that the build meets the design specifications. An important aspect of the role is to sanction interim payments, which means that monies are only released as and when the Employers Agent is satisfied with the work that has been undertaken. This avoids the problem of paying upfront for works that have not yet been completed – motivating the contractor to stay on schedule and deliver from their end.
To those that are inexperienced with managing complex projects, builds can quickly become very stressful. By having an Employers Agent acting on your behalf, you can avoid the day-to-day problems that may arise. Having an expert in your corner also means that any unforeseen technical issues or variations on site can be dealt with efficiently and you can rest assured that any resolutions will be followed through and completed thoroughly.
On conclusion of the build
When the build stage has completed, the Employers Agent will carry out a full quality inspection of the works to see that specifications and appropriate quality standards have been met. This is usually done before final payment is released, so that the contractors will be motivated to resolve any snags.
Where any certification is required under the contract, the Employer’s Agent can chase this up to ensure it is provided.
Lea Hough has acted in an Employer’s Agent capacity for developers, investors and company clients, and have a demonstrable track record of overseeing the completion of several projects on time and to budget.
For more information on how appointing an Employer’s Agent can protect your interests, or to discuss any of our other professional property consultancy services, please contact us.