professional services team

Your essential guide to the professional service team

19th April 2021   |   Jamie Barrett   |   Reading Time: 5 minutes

Before we dive straight into the professional service team, let’s take a moment to clarify the purpose of a professional consultant when talking about construction projects.

What is a professional consultant?

A professional consultant provides sound and expert advice to the client during the pre-construction and construction stages of a project. Professional consultants help clients manage the construction project process and provide solutions to problems that are encountered along the way. In construction, professional consultants are more than just advisors, they are also responsible for providing services with clearly defined deliverables.  

What is a professional team?

Construction projects can involve many professional consultants, all of whom undertake separate roles. The roles required will mainly come down to the size of the project and the chosen procurement route. There are several key consultants that remain the same on all projects. The group of professional consultants engaged on a project is known as the ‘professional team’.

What services does a professional team provide?

As previously mentioned, the professional team can be made up of many consultants, but the key services used on most projects are:

  • Project Manager
  • Architect
  • Quantity Surveyor or Cost Consultant
  • Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) Engineer
  • Structural and Civil Engineer
  • Principal Designer 

What do these professionals do? 

Project Manager – Responsible for planning, organising, and directing the completion of construction projects for the client while ensuring these projects are on time, on budget and within scope. The project manager may also administer the contract in the contractual capacity of the project manager, employers’ agent or contract administrator. 

Architect – Responsible for designing and creating plans, specifications and technical drawings of the buildings and external spaces for a construction project.

Quantity Surveyor – Responsible for managing the costs and budget of a building project from inception through to handover. The quantity surveyor will most likely prepare and collate documents for tender, produce a tender analysis report with recommendations, and undertake any negotiations with the building contractor in preparation for a contract. 

MEP Engineer – Responsible for planning and designing mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems to be integrated into buildings including developing standards, inspection procedures and evaluation tools. 

Structural and Civil Engineer – Responsible for designing and planning building foundations, drainage solutions and building structure, while ensuring that they are safe and capable of withstanding the elements to which they will be exposed. 

Principal Designer – Responsible for taking control of the pre-construction phase of the project by planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating health and safety requirements. The role is required under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations

What makes these consultants professionals? 

The organisations are regulated by their professional body (see below) and individuals must meet certain, strict criteria to become chartered. 

Professionals will have the required skills, knowledge, experience, and capability in their chosen field together and must maintain strict codes of conduct, enshrining ethical and moral obligations. In addition, most professional consultants are required to undertake continuous professional development (CPD) to keep their skills and knowledge current and relevant. This means that they can continue to practice safely and effectively throughout their career. 

The table below identifies from the list of consultants above, the applicable professional bodies, association, and chartered memberships.

Consultant Professional body Organisation Individual 
Project Manager 
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Association for Project Management (APM)
Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)

Regulated Firm by RICS 
CIOB Chartered Building Consultancy
Corporate Member of the APM
RICS FAPM and MAPM (also see ChPP)
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
Association of Consultant Architects (ACA)

Quantity Surveyor Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Association of Cost Engineers

Regulated Firm by RICS 
CIOB Chartered Building Consultancy
ACostE Accreditation

FRICS, MRICS or AssocRICS RCostE, ICostE or CPCostE
MEP Engineer 
Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)
Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE)

CIBSE Patron Members (corporate supporters)
CABE Company Partnership
Structural and Civil Engineer 
Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE)

FICE, MICE or AMICEFIStructE, MIStructE, AMIStructE or AIStructE
Principal Designer 
Association for Project Safety (APS)
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

APS Corporate Membership
Regulated Firm by RICS 

Do I need to appoint a professional consultant?

Whether or not you need to appoint a professional consultant or team will depend on the skills and experience within your organisation. Clients with full in-house capability may be able to deliver construction projects without the need to appoint an external professional consultant or team. However, even these clients may lack a specific resource, occasionally need more capacity, or have gaps in capability, thereby giving rise to the need for professional consultants. 

More commonly, clients who are either inexperienced, do not have their own in-house team or have limited capacity will need to appoint professional consultants. In this situation, professional consultants are appointed as the project evolves and develops, with clients first appointing a project manager and architect in the initial preparation and briefing stages. This will then be followed by a quantity surveyor, MEP engineer, structural & civil engineer, and principal designer from the concept design stage onward.  

How do I appoint a professional consultant?

There are many forms that can be used to appoint consultants. The three most used are:

  • Standard Form of Appointment – These are industry standard forms usually produced by a professional body or industry body:
    • RICS Standard Form of Consultant’s Appointment
    • RIBA Standard Agreement for the Appointment of an Architect
    • ACA Standard Form of Agreement for the Appointment of an Architect 
    • B103 – Appointment of a Structural Engineer 
    • B100 – Appointment of Professional Consultant
    • NEC Professional Services Contract
    • RIBA Standard Agreement – Consultant
    • CIC Consultants’ Contract Conditions
    • ACE Agreements (1 to 8)
    • JCT Consultancy Agreement (Public Sector)
    • JCT Pre-Construction Services Agreement (Specialist) 
  • Bespoke form of appointment – These are either drafted by a legal advisor for the consultant organisation to use on projects or for the client to use on a one-off project or projects.
  • Letter of Appointment – Most consultants will produce a fee proposal with all the relevant information with embedded terms and conditions of engagement (the “Offer”) and a section for the client to sign if they wish to proceed (the “Acceptance”).

Regardless of which of the above methods is employed to appoint a consultant, there are fundamental parts that make up the appointment: 

  1. The terms and conditions of the Agreement
  2. Specifics or particulars that form the Agreement (i.e., contracting parties registered names and addresses where applicable, other consultant details, project brief, level of insurance coverage, etc.)
  3. Schedule of Services
  4. Fee and Payment Schedule
  5. Collateral Warranties  

What value does the professional team bring to a construction project? 

Each member of the professional team makes a unique contribution to the success of a project. Proactive, collaborative, and imaginative professional consultants will deliver a project that meets all the aims and objectives of the project brief and create buildings that function well for their intended use or are enjoyed by the occupiers. 

Other benefits in appointing professional consultants include: 

  • Capability – Professional consultants will have the experience to meet the needs of your project. 
  • Knowledge – The professional team will have years of lessons learned from working on similar projects. They will know what works and what does not and apply this learning to your project, which may otherwise result in costly mistakes.
  • Quality – The professional team can review and understand the brief and make sure that designs, specifications and schedules all respond to the brief as well as clearly state the client’s requirements for performance measurement and contractors to implement. 
  • Risk – An experienced professional team will instinctively know what risks are associated with a specific construction project. Each member of the team will have experience of resolving or reducing these risks, which could otherwise have substantial cost, time and safety implications to a project and the client. 

Time, cost and innovation – Good professional consultants take on the task and challenges of a construction project while finding time and cost savings as well as innovative solutions, allowing you, the client to focus on what you do best.

How Evolution5 can help

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.

To discuss how we can help with your project, click the button below or call 023 8040 5073.