employers agent picture of construction cranes

What is an Employer’s Agent in construction?

17th May 2021   |   Jamie Barrett   |   Reading Time: 3 minutes

This article explains what is an employers agent and how the role benefits a design and build construction project.

An Employer’s Agent represents the employer/client on a construction project. That may be a developer, investor, or property owner/tenant. As the employer’s agent (EA) needs to have the authority to manage the construction project on behalf of the employer, it’s important that the employer appoints someone whom they can trust to be competent. 

The term Employer’s Agent is referred to under design and build contracts, for example, JCT Design and Building (2016).

Owing to the increased use of design and build as a procurement solution by property developers and investors, employer’s agents are in extremely high demand in construction projects. This is because design and build contracts mean the employer can transfer design and construction risk to the building contractor. 

Employers/clients choose to appoint an independent employer’s agent for many reasons. Most commonly because the EA should act impartially in carrying out certification and decision-making functions under the building contract. 

The role of an employer’s agent on a construction project

Although the employer’s agent is identified within the building contract and is mainly concerned with the construction stage, they will typically be appointed by the employer/client at the tender stage. The EA then assists the employer/client in;

  • selecting suitable contractors to be invited to tender, 
  • preparing tender documents, 
  • dealing with tender queries and clarifications, 
  • analysing tender returns, conducting tender interviews, and 
  • producing a tender report with recommendations. 

The EA may also help to select and manage the professional team to ensure that the employer/clients’ key project drivers, such as time, cost, and quality are delivered in the pre-construction design stages, although it is recognised that the EA is performing the duties of a Project Manager.  

Key responsibilities undertaken by an employer’s agent include:

  • Checking the contractor has relevant and adequate insurances in place.
  • Preparing project control documentation including the project execution plan. 
  • Facilitating progress meetings.
  • Regularly reporting progress to the employer/client.
  • Issuing instructions in accordance with the building contract.
  • Undertaking quality inspections. 
  • Dealing with defects.
  • Managing change and adjusting the Contract Sum where required.
  • Issuing notices in relation to payments on a stage or periodic basis.
  • Dealing with claims (depending on agreed scope of services).
  • Issuing Practical Completion, Sectional Completion, Partial Possession or Early Use notices / certificates. 
  • Undertaking the final defect inspection.
  • Issuing making good certificates. 
  • Dealing with the Final Account.

What are the benefits of an employer’s agent in construction?

The employer’s agent represents the employer/client and, by virtue of their position, is able to take an objective approach, ensuring that the best interests of the project are maintained at all times. This is particularly important to protect relationships and build a collaborative team that is able to overcome any obstacles that may arise during the life of the project. 

A competent EA must be experienced and knowledgeable in delivering construction projects whilst also having an in depth understanding of design and build contracts. They provide direction and management through the design, tender and construction stages, whilst controlling the scope, cost, quality and time. 

In addition to managing risk and ensuring adequate apportionment in the design and build contract, the EA is fundamental to maintaining channels of communication regarding the progress of the project to the project team and all stakeholders. Furthermore, the EA communicates the goals and performance to employer/client, and investors where required, in regularly scheduled reports. 

How Evolution5 can help you?

Evolution5 is a professional consultancy offering quantity surveying, project management, principal designer, employer’s agent, and contract administration services for projects across London and the South East.

If you have a construction project being procured via a design and build contract and would like to explore how the team can help you, click the button below or call 023 8040 5073.