In a poll conducted during our recent webinar, 53% of participants responded that they are retained to provide ‘partial’ services on more than half of their current projects.
There is little doubt that, from a risk management perspective, there is benefit in consultants continuing their involvement on a project through the construction phase. Despite efforts to produce complete and coordinated documentation, there are few projects which do not require clarification on design details or resolution of ambiguities during the course of construction. A consultant’s involvement during construction allows for alteration to a design where necessary to mitigate the effects of these inconsistencies which might have otherwise resulted in larger issues on the project.
So why then are so many clients saying ‘no’ to ‘full services’ from their consultants? Increasingly clients seem prepared to ‘go it alone’ with their builder during construction. Perhaps it is quite simply a consequence of the economic climate. Clients are not willing to incur the additional expense involved in retaining their consultants to provide services during construction. Perhaps also it is a failing of the consultant industry to effectively market the value of its services from ‘concept through to completion’.
In another poll run during the webinar, 79% of participants responded that they considered providing partial services on a project was riskier than providing full services. Assuming that the trend to ‘partial services’ is to continue, what should consultants be mindful of when providing limited services on a project?
A clear, unambiguous project specific scope of services is crucial on projects where you are retained to provide anything less than ‘full services’. A well drafted scope is essential to ensuring that your client’s expectations regarding the services which you are to provide are aligned with your understanding of the commission. Litigation thrives on vague, ambiguous language and phrases such as ‘including but not limited to’ in scopes for partial services are ripe for divergent views on what was ‘in’ and what was ‘out’ in the services to be performed.
These and other issues were considered during our webinar on Partial Services. The recording of the webinar is now available as a new online short course which you can watch at your convenience, from your desktop computer or mobile device: