Although the job titles of our members may vary, the principles for carrying out their duties are very similar.
Here at the Institute of Clerk of Works and Construction Inspectorate (ICWCI) we define the role as:
"A person whose duty is to superintend the construction and maintenance of buildings, or other works for the purpose of ensuring proper use of labour and materials."
There are various professionals, companies, practices and sectors that should appoint Clerks of Works. To name a few:
- Local Authorities
- Housing Associations
- Housing Builders and Developers
- Learning Establishments
- Historical Buildings
- Clerk of Works/Construction Inspection Private Practices
- Architectural Practices
- Quantity Surveying Practices
- Civil Engineering Practices
- Construction Companies
- Construction Project Management Companies
- Property Developers
- Ministry of Defence
- Utility Providers
- Nuclear Plants
- Rail Companies
- Underground and Tunnelling Specialists
- Roofing Companies
- Mechanical and Electrical Companies
Independent third party inspection helps to protect a client’s interests throughout the construction process, and therefore when employing/appointing a Clerk of Works, the client will not only benefit in terms of experience; they will also have the reassurance that their interests are being safeguarded; the person appointed will ideally have the ability to:
- Anticipate (identify problems in advance)
- Interpret (clearly)
- Inspect (in detail)
- Record (completely)
- Report (concisely)
- Advise and guide
- Help reduce risk
- Provide guidance on health and safety matters
- Assist in getting it right first time!
Competent Clerks of Works will have:
- A good general understanding of the specific construction inspection process (in particular around the inspection of materials and workmanship)
- An understanding of the obligations of all parties (requirements and boundaries)
- Foresight; i.e. identification of issues/potential issues and the ability to suggest alternative methods or mitigation techniques
- A focus on quality; promoting right first time initiatives, reducing rework and double handling
- They are impartial, with a fair, considered and independent approach to ensuring value for money for the client
- They have an awareness of acceptable standards, benchmarking and identifying non-conformance
- The ability to produce concise recordings of their findings
- They will have a professional opinion and make recommendations to alternative approaches and corrective actions
- Knowledge of construction materials and components, including their use, limitations and possible alternatives
- An understanding and knowledge of the practical and legal aspects of health and safety
When a Clerk of Works is appointed, there are a number of factors that they can focus on; these include:
Compliance – buildings need to be inspected for safety and structural integrity to ensure that they conform to statutory regulations and laws.
Workmanship – needs to be monitored and inspected at regular intervals to minimise problems, defects and rework.
Materials – should be inspected to ensure that they are correct and of a suitable, appropriate quality to fit their purpose.
Defects – can be minimised and resolved when regular thorough inspection is factored into the construction process.
Recommendations – Clerks of Works can make recommendations to the client throughout the construction process.
Note: All of the above will depend on what basis the individual is contractually employed.