Construction consultants help clients make sound preparations for their upcoming projects and ensure that contractors complete the project on cost. They provide cost estimates, draw budgets, select contractors, administer construction contracts, and resolve differences between contractors and project owners. This position is suitable for civil engineers or architects with extensive construction experience.
Using the Skills
Competent construction consultants are excellent planners with strong cost estimation skills. During the design stage of a residential building project, for example, the consultant studies the home plan, estimates total projects costs and helps the owner establish a sound construction budget. This means he must be able to read and understand building blueprints. Construction consultants also need strong speaking skills to explain technical information to clients in an understandable manner, and teamwork skills to effectively collaborate with contractors and other personnel involved in the project.
Preparing Contracts and Selecting Contractors
It is the job of the construction consultant to prepare and issue contracts to construction companies on behalf of the project owner. After the owner receives bids from various contractors, the consultant reviews them and helps to determine the most competitive bidder. To do this, she reviews the stated prices and level of construction experience of each bidder before reaching a decision. The consultant may hold negotiations with the selected bidder to reach an agreement on the contract's terms and conditions.
Administering Construction Contracts
During the construction process, the consultant serves as the project owner’s advocate. He ensures the contractor fulfills all the conditions outlined in the contract documents. If the contract requires the contractor to use a specified quality of construction materials, the consultant verifies the quality of all purchased materials. She also regularly inspects the project at various phases to ensure it complies with the original design. If the contractor intends to make structural changes to the project, he must seek approval from the owner’s consultant.
To become a construction consultant, start by earning a bachelor’ degree in civil engineering, construction science, architecture, construction engineering or another closely related field. Next, find employment and gain several years of practical work experience. You can also obtain the American Institute of Professional Constructors' Certified Professional Constructor credential to improve your competence. To break into consulting, you can find a job in an established construction consulting firm, or, armed with startup capital and strong business skills, start your own consulting company and work as an independent contractor.