Clerk of Works and Site Inspector Handbook
eBook - ePub

Clerk of Works and Site Inspector Handbook

2018 Edition

The Institute of Clerks of Works and Construction Inspectorate

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  1. 240 pages
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eBook - ePub

Clerk of Works and Site Inspector Handbook

2018 Edition

The Institute of Clerks of Works and Construction Inspectorate

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About This Book

This new edition of the popular handbook is a practical companion for Clerks of Works, Site Inspectors and anyone with the responsibility of managing construction works on site. Clerk of Works and Site Inspector Handbook, 2018 edition the book explains the traditional site inspector/clerk of works role and their liabilities, as well as duties and responsibilities linked to a more contemporary construction setting. It explores the relationship between inspectors, architects and other construction professionals, whilst providing valuable insight into reporting and what to look for, check and test every step of the way. It's an essential reference book for Clerks of Works and Site Inspectors, containing important lessons for newly qualified architects, those who carry out site inspections or act as resident site architects and Part 3 students.

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1 Appointing a Clerk of Works

1.1 Appointing a Clerk of Works

A Clerk of Works can provide professional services in five main ways.
  1. As a full-time or part-time ‘permanent’ employee in what the law terms ‘a master-servant relationship’. Such a person might be resident on one project or required to carry out duties as a visiting Clerk of Works on several projects. There will be a contract of employment, and taxation under PAYE. The employer will normally be vicariously liable for the actions of the Clerk of Works in the course of employment.
  2. As an employee on a fixed-term basis taken on to perform specific tasks under a fixed-term contract of employment. Such a person will be under the control of the employer in a master-servant relationship. There will be a contract of employment and taxation under Schedule E (PAYE).
  3. As a director of a company, still technically an employee of the company contract for the Clerk of Works services will be between the client and the company
  4. As a sole practitioner, i.e. an independent person in business on their own account offering professional services. Such a person will perform specific services in return for a fee. There will be a contract of engagement, and under PAYE. Public liability (PL) insurance and professional indemnity (PI) insurance will normally be required.
  5. As a partner in a firm. Partners will be jointly liable with their other partners for their acts and omissions. The partners in the firm will enter into a contract of engagement to perform specific services in return for a fee and be subject to appropriate taxation. PL and PI insurance will normally be required.

1.2 Selection and Interview

1.2.1 Factors affecting selection

Various factors are likely to influence the selection of Clerks of Work appropriate skills and experience, and definition of a proper level of remuneration and conditions of appointment. Consideration should be given to the following:
  • the nature of the building project (e.g. new build, refurbishment, engineering, landscaping)
  • the nature of the services required (e.g. traditional construction with recognised basic trades and skills, predominantly specialist with a high content of advanced structural work, or with a high content of specialist subcontractor work)
  • the approximate scale of the project and the expected length of the appointment
  • the status and level of responsibility envisaged (e.g. as sole construction or as part of a team of Clerks of Works) and the degree of accountability
  • the type of procurement path for the project
  • the type of document used for appointing the Clerk of Works.

1.2.2 Pre-interview submission

For the appointment of a sole practitioner or a firm of Clerks of Works,a submission before interview might be called for, and therefore there might be a requirement for a free quotation in competition with others. Sometimes interviews are held first and the preferred applicant is invited to negotiate terms with the appointing body subsequently. A submission might include the following information:
  • name, location and form of practice, and how long it has been established
  • names and qualifications of key staff, and range of skills available
  • details of a minimum of four recently completed appointments (e.g. project name, description, procurement method, cost, programme, with name of client and lead consultant)
  • details of current appointments and present workload
  • details of experience in matters relevant to the proposed appointment (e.g. quality management/assurance, quality control, site testing methods)
  • details of financial standing (including name of bankers) and evidence of satisfactory professional indemnity insurance, where appropriate.

1.2.3 ICWCI membership

For all appointments, employers are recommended to take account of membership of the ICWCI as offering an endorsement of competence and an indication of an appointee’s interest in continuing professional development (CPD). For larger contracts, or those that entail a higher level of responsibility, it might be reasonable to require corporate membership. This would ensure a degree of experience gained at an appropriate level.
Interviews for salaried staff to be employed by an authority or organisation will follow the pattern and procedures used by the particular organisation.

1.3 Appointment

1.3.1 Appointment documentation

Appropriate terms and conditions of appointment for freelance Clerk of Works are published by the ICWCI. There is a memorandum of agreement between the client and the Clerk of Works that includes directions for fees on a lump sum, percentage or time charged basis, and a separate supporting schedule of services and fees, available from ICWCI subject to invoice. The memorandum incorporates by reference the conditions appropriate to the appointment, and these are published separately in the Clerks of Works/Construction Inspector Appointment Document (which can be purchased by contacting ICWCI Headquarters). This includes sections covering the following:
  1. Services pre-construction (prior to the start of the building contract)
  2. Services pre-construction (provided at the start of the building contract)
  3. General services – construction stage
  4. Services post-construction
  5. Other services
  6. Conditions of appointment
  7. Fees and expenses.
There are separate helpful guidance notes contained in this document; some clients may welcome professional advice on which of the sections should apply in particular circumstances.

1.3.2 Letter of appointment

The appointment of a Clerk of Works should always be confirmed in a properly formulated letter of appointment that sets out the terms of the agreement between the employer and employee and should include:
  • a description of the project, including site layout, etc.
  • the conditions on which the appointment is based
  • the scope and duration of the appointment
  • details of remuneration, and the method of calculating fees, expenses, etc.
  • the identity of client representatives and of other appointed consultants
  • arrangements for professional indemnity insurance.
An employer must give employees a ‘written statement of employment particulars' if their employment contract lasts at least a month. This isn’t an employment contract but will include the main conditions of employment. The employer must provide the written statement within two months of the start of employment.
The latest guidance and updates in relation to employment, contracts and working in another county can be found on the government website (

2 Role and Relationships

2.1 The Role of the Clerk of Works

Notwithstanding the role of the Clerk of Works being specifically mentioned within various bespoke forms of contract, a pragmatic definition, which is still highly relevant today, would be, as paraphrased, in the old Greater London Council Handbook for Clerks of Works:
‘The role of the Clerk of Works can be defined as being the representative of either the Client, CA [contract administrator] (or relevant stakeholder) on site, responsible for the detailed inspection of works in progress to ensure that such works are executed in accordance with the contract documents and any instructions that may be issued from time to time.’
‘The Clerk of Works should ensure that the specified standard of workmanship is maintained, that the materials and products used are of the specified quality, that construction throughout is sound, that the progress of the work accords with the contract requirements, and that all essential facts relating to the work are properly recorded.’

2.2 The Function of the Clerk of Works

The National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Site Inspection (Construction L3) identifies five core or mandatary competencies that a capable and competent site inspector/Clerk of Works must adequately demonstrate and perform, i.e. monitor projects, monitor health and safety systems and responsibilities, prepare documentation for handover and obtain project feedback, prepare and organise site inspection information, and practise in a professional and ethical manner.
So, in general terms, the functions and attributes required of a professional Clerk of Works are as follows.
  • Anticipation: the ability to identify problems in advance to prevent them materialising or, where they do materialise, to help overcome them quickly. Intelligent anticipation is founded on experience and a thorough knowledge of the contract documents. A competent Clerk of Works functions as an early warning system.
  • Interpretation: verifying that the contractor fully understands instructions given in words and on drawings and acting to remove ambiguity.
  • Recording: making as complete a record as is appropriate, bearing in mind the heavy reliance that may be placed on the accuracy and objectivity of that record by the architect and the others.
  • Inspection: detecting workmanship that does not comply or materials that do not conform to the contract standards. This will usually mean inspecting in detail, and verifying measurements regularly.
  • Reporting: keeping the architect fully informed on a regular pre-arranged basis. This also means alerting the architect immediately when situations arise that require decisions or actions.
In a traditional building contract, the functions described above will involve the Clerk of Works in the monitoring activities described in sections 2.3 to 2.5 below. It should be noted that the term ‘architect’ should be taken to include any other consultant named as administering the contract.

2.3 Monitoring Quality Control on and off Site

It is a contractual obligation for the contractor to produce work and use materials in accordance with the standards of the building contract. Verification that this obligation is being met is seldom subject to formal procedures. It should be made clear at the outset whether the Clerk of Works is to act as a quality checker or controller, and agreement should be reached about the methods to be adopted. Where there is to be a programme of predictive inspection, the Clerk of Works will need an inspection plan, a quality plan and a test plan.
Where the contractor is required by the employer to...

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