Lead Consultant and Lead Designer – Myths and Realities

Last week, we had the opportunity to speak with the students at the University of Bath who are studying Modern Building design. These guest lectures are beneficial to both the students who learn first-hand of the factors for success when delivering design projects and also to Plan A Consultants. It is part of our business plan to share our knowledge and spread the word on Design Management and our approaches to it.

One particular slide dominated the debate and generated the most questions.

There is misconception at times regarding the definitions of the Lead Consultant and Lead Designer roles. The Lead Consultant appoints the other sub-consultants and acts as a single point of responsibility to the Client. Under a Lead Designer set-up there is an incorrect assumption that as the Client appoints each consultant separately, it is the Client's or Project Manager's responsibility to drive and manage the design process.

The table below highlights the correct approach to roles and duties under the two scenarios. The Lead Designer (typically the Architect) is responsible for defining, managing and leading the design process. This is not just co-ordination of the actual drawn design, but co-ordination of design activities. Design Management is a fundamental ingredient of this Lead Designer role. At Plan A Consultants, our consultancy revolves around making sure that the Architect is protected and this single team ethos is promoted and ingrained.

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