The need for RIBA Client Advisers

First-time and occasional clients have always needed advice and assistance in the early stages of projects to:

  • help to define and set up projects 
  • ensure that quality and value is achieved

This is particularly important in the public sector where new methods of procurement have been introduced. These effectively separate clients and end users from designers during the development of proposals. The RIBA believes that high-quality architects and other professionals are needed to carry out the RIBA Client Adviser role, to ensure that good design is an integral part of the public sector procurement programme.

How can an RIBA Client Adviser help? 

With forms of building procurement, such as Design-Build or Private Finance Initiative (PFI), clients and users do not have the traditional relationship with, or direct access to, architects and other members of the design team. Unless the client is experienced in commissioning building projects, both they and the project will benefit from independent advice on issues of design, procurement and the means of achieving high quality delivery.

In public sector procurement, bidding and contract procedures frequently exclude a close relationship between clients and users. In these cases the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) strongly recommends the use of an RIBA Client Adviser, as does Design Council cabe.

What is the role of an RIBA Client Adviser? 

The role of an RIBA Client Adviser is to use their own extensive experience, gained in designing and delivering equivalent projects, to help ensure that the best-quality result is achieved from the procurement process.

They do this by:

  • assisting the client organisation in strategic decision making
  • stakeholder consultation
  • developing the brief
  • feasibility studies and appraisals
  • acting as a champion of value management
  • act as the client's agents to monitor both the design and construction processes.

See a full list of the RIBA Client Adviser role and requirements.

Although a RIBA Client Adviser may be well qualified to design the project themselves, that is not their role. They are there to help the client through an increasingly complex set of procedures and to help them achieve better outcomes.

When should an RIBA Client Adviser be used? 

RIBA Client Advisers should be appointed as early as possible in any project. Critical decisions are taken at the start of the process when the strategic advice of an RIBA Client Adviser can be most effective.