Role and requirements

RIBA Client Advisers are architects and other construction industry professionals who have the specialist skills and experience (see below) to assist clients with the complex process of commissioning projects, getting them built and delivered.

An RIBA Client Adviser who is a qualified architect is not the main architect in such projects but acts as an independent adviser. They:

  • provide strategic advice
  • help clients to achieve their objectives
  • meet clients expectations on performance and design quality.

The RIBA Client Adviser will always be a senior professional with individual responsibility of providing the client with strategic advice. It is possible that they will work for a larger company, or will organise a team of others with appropriate skills to support them. RIBA Client Advisers come from a range of backgrounds, but must have at least five to 10 years relevant experience of the industry and of working directly with clients and their stakeholders.

What skills and experience are required?

An RIBA Client Adviser will have demonstrated that they have met the required core competencies; these fall under the following areas:

  • Vision and aspiration.
  • Stakeholder engagement.
  • Supporting process to deliver outcomes. 
  • Value management.
  • Use.

Please refer to the following core competency matrix below before applying to the RIBA Client Adviser Register. These will help you to understand how an RIBA Client Adviser is expected to comply to the five core competencies


What is the RIBA Client Adviser role?

This varies from project to project depending on the preparation required, the other participants and size of the works. Potential tasks of an RIBA Client Adviser could include:

  • helping to define an agreed set of project outcomes
  • developing and examining options with the client and stakeholders through feasibility studies, visits to other projects, the use of Design Quality Indicators (DQIs) etc.
  • consulting stakeholders and identifying project requirements and key design issues
  • carrying out or helping to commission initial design studies
  • advising clients on financial planning, whole life costs and value for money
  • advising clients on procurement processes including EU procurement rules
  • developing value and risk assessments
  • checking budgets are sufficient to achieve well designed buildings
  • assisting the client with preparation of a project programme - ensuring that it provides adequate time for the various stages including design and design development
  • researching and developing the scope of works with the client, describing required outcomes and outputs, and design aspirations for the project.
  • helping to prepare briefs, output specifications and other project documentation
  • assisting in the selection of potential design and construction teams
  • co-ordinating bid evaluation and helping to assess bids for the works, including evaluation of design teams
  • checking design and construction details of emerging design proposals for the client
  • negotiating final design and technical details with bidders
  • checking appropriate aspects of the contract documentation
  • monitoring during construction
  • commissioning post-occupancy evaluations and feeding back information to the client and others
  • checking adequate facilities management and maintenance regimes are in place
  • advising on future modifications to the buildings
  • advising on final disposal.

In 2010 the RIBA revised the definition of the RIBA Client Adviser role. Please refer to the following for the approved role definition for the RIBA Client Adviser registers.