Construction project stakeholders are the various parties that come together to either actively or passively execute a construction project. We are using this term in this article to refer to any person or organization that participates in the success of a construction project.
If you are looking into building your own house or a commercial building, it is important to understand that you are not the only interested party in that project. You will have people designing your project (if you are not an architect), a whole team of construction trades building for you, the government will have a say in some way; among others.
Therefore, getting to know who these interested parties are, and their expectations; is a vital ingredient in coming up with a successful project. It will help you to manage their expectations and fulfil their requirements to have a smooth execution process.
In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the five major stakeholders in a construction project. Let’s dive.
Most of the discussions here apply to most of the construction industries globally. However, specific examples are drawn from the construction industry in Kenya. You will see a mention of government entities and private construction brands that are synonymous with the Kenyan construction industry.
Construction Project Participants
The designing and construction of buildings is a complex operation. It involves different professions, organizations and individuals of varied qualifications, experiences and skills coming together. These parties are the construction project participants who we are referring to as the stakeholders in this construction project.
In this section, we explore the five main stakeholders that play a role in a construction project. Also, we include the roles they play and their responsibilities.
1. The Client
To start the discussion, let’s take a look at a very important stakeholder called the client. This is the person who initiates a construction project. Clients are the owners of the project and provide funds for the undertaking of the project.
Also, they have the role of communicating their needs and requirements to the design team in sufficient detail to enable them to make decisions on the most viable solution while considering the constraints set by the needs of the client.
In a construction project, there are several types of clients. Depending on the type and nature of the project, the client types may vary as discussed in this article: Client Types in a Construction Project.
2. The Design Team
This team is composed of professional construction consultants.
As project stakeholders, they are concerned with the design of the buildings and the supervision of the construction process. This supervision is important to ensure that the designed quality of the project is maintained throughout the construction process.
The team is composed of the following parties:
The architect is the person who is responsible for the design of the building. Their main task is to transform the client’s needs and requirements into sketches, drawings and models. These form important information that will help the builder in making decisions on the construction techniques to be employed, and the type and quality of construction materials, among others.
In Kenya, the architectural profession is regulated by an act of parliament called the Architects and Quantity Surveyors Act, Cap 525 of the laws of Kenya.
Unlike the architects who give form to the whole of the building, the engineers design parts and components of the building. They rely on the information generated by the architect to make decisions on the appropriate detailing that is required to produce meaningful and useful information for the construction team to erect the structure.
As engineering is a wide area of professionalism, the main engineers in a construction project include the following:
- Civil/Structural Engineer – is concerned with the stability of the structure. He uses mathematical concepts to detail the foundations, columns, beams and slabs to ensure that they are stable and able to support their weight and the weight of the building occupants.
The aim is to ensure that the constructed facility is safe for use by the building owner and other occupants.
- Building Services Engineers – this refers to the mechanical and electrical (M & E)engineers in the construction industry. Mechanical engineers design the layouts for the plumbing installations, hot and cold water supply systems, lifts, ventilation and air conditioning components.
In comparison, the electrical engineer is concerned with the design of electrical installations and telecommunications services, among other engineering services to be installed in the building.
This quantity surveyor is responsible for the estimation of the quantities of materials to be used and the costs to be incurred when putting up the building. He relies on the information generated by the architect and the engineers; in the form of drawings and specifications; to measure quantities to prepare tender and contract documentation.
These contract documents are used to select a suitable contractor for undertaking the construction works. The whole process of obtaining bids and selecting a contractor is called tendering.
Also, the quantity surveyor evaluates the design decisions of the architect and assesses the available options to provide the client with comprehensive cost information on which to base their investment decisions.
Construction Project Manager
The project managers’ work in a construction project revolves mainly around the balancing of time, cost and scope constraints. Their main aim is to deliver quality according to the project specifications. These specifications capture the requirements and needs of the client that must be satisfied.
When appointed by the client, the project manager is tasked with the duty of coordinating the general flow of the project, coordinating site activities, ensuring the quality of workmanship and materials, and ensuring good health and construction safety practices, among others.
Therefore, they play an important role in ensuring that the right information is sent to the right person for the purpose that is intended; and for their rightful use in making construction project-related decisions.
3. The Construction Team
The actual physical execution of the construction works is carried out by the construction team. This team is made up of the contractor, sub-contractors and construction material suppliers.
On the site, where these parties work, the main activity is to derive the meaning of information supplied to them in the form of drawings, specifications and site instructions to make decisions on the best actions to be taken to come up with the designed building.
In addition, to practice as a contractor you need to have the relevant qualifications and obtain a practising license. In Kenya, the National Construction Authority (NCA) is the government body that regulates, registers and issues practising licenses to all contractors.
4. The Regulatory Team
Construction projects are not undertaken in a world of isolation. As a business, construction operates in a world of regulations.
From design to actual construction and maintenance of the structures, there exists a legal framework that dictates how buildings are designed, constructed and operated. There are building bylaws, environmental sustainability requirements, professional codes of conduct and standards, safety requirements, zoning bylaws and other policies.
The regulatory team refers to the various government authorities and professional organizations that set the aforementioned standards, codes of conduct and bylaws. Globally, organizations that regulate the professional practices of architecture, project management, engineering and quantity surveying belong to this category.
Also, regulatory bodies that licence building contractors are part of the construction industry’s regulatory team.
In Kenya, we have the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors (BORAQS) which regulates the practice of architecture and quantity surveying. Also, the Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK) which regulates the engineering profession and the National Construction Authority (NCA) which regulates the registration and practice of contractors, belong to this team.
Further, bodies such as the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), the various County Government Development Boards and planning authorities, are classified here.
5. Other Parties
Other important construction project stakeholders do not fit in the four categories discussed above. These include the financial/banking sector, materials manufacturers, suppliers, educational and learning institutions, and research and development institutions.
To begin with, the financial and banking sector can participate either as clients or as financiers of the project. Banking institutions provide loans to clients, building developers and contractors. The insurance firms get involved by way of providing insurance for the construction works and surety undertakings in the form of performance bonds.
Also, materials manufacturers and suppliers of building components, equipment and appliances form an important component of the construction project ecosystem. The building cannot get constructed without the materials and other components that are assembled to create it.
Further, the educational and research institutions that train the professionals, apprentices and tradesmen are also important stakeholders in the construction project. Although they do not directly get involved in building the project, they mould, prepare and inculcate knowledge in the individuals who do the actual work.
We have seen that the realization of a construction project is a collaborative process. Different parties come together; at different stages of the construction project; to produce and exchange construction information. This information is used in making project-related decisions such as how large a window should be, etc.
As the number of stakeholders in a construction project is high and varies considerably, it is useful to group like parties together to form teams. These teams then form the 5 main stakeholders in a construction project.
Therefore, the client team; the design team; the construction team; the regulatory team and other interested parties, form the major project stakeholders. It is vital to be aware of and effectively manage the expectations and requirements of these stakeholders for your project to be executed successfully.