January 22, 2024

The Role and Benefit of a Construction Consultant: Part 1

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A construction consultant is a professional with extensive experience and expertise in delivering engineering and construction projects.

A project owner, general contractor, or subcontractor may hire a construction consultant to assist with and advise on the execution of a project. Construction consultants can provide expert advice during all phases of the engineering and construction project life cycle, including during front-end planning (business plan development, conceptual scope development, and front-end engineering design (FEED)), execution (detailed engineering, procurement, and construction, i.e., EPC), and project closeout (pre-commissioning, commissioning, and startup).

Construction consultants help both owners and/or contractors engaged in engineering and construction projects to identify potential project risks, prevent problems from occurring, and mitigate and equitably resolve problems when they do occur, thereby increasing the likelihood of delivering a successful project. Additionally, construction consultants typically facilitate the establishment of an open and collaborative project environment where the owner and contractor work together as partners rather than as adversaries, further increasing the likelihood of mutual success.

Construction consultants can assist with project management, cost and schedule risk analysis and avoidance, schedule quality assurance and optimization, and claims prevention and dispute resolution. Long International provides all these services and more, as detailed on our Services web page. This blog post is the first in a two-part series on the role and benefit of a construction consultant. This post focuses on project management and risk analysis services, while the second post addresses schedule quality assurance and claims prevention services.

Project managers can become entrenched in project details and optimistically believe a project is in better shape than it really is. Therefore, the perspective of an outside, independent project management consultant can be invaluable. A construction consultant may provide the following project management consulting services and more.

  • Provide guidelines for and assist with the development and review of the Project Management Plan and Project Execution Plan and ensure that contractual and recommended practices and industry standards are being followed.
  • Assist with the preparation of contract documents, proposals, and bid packages.
  • Assist with the development and implementation of project management tools and progress tracking and reporting systems, including work breakdown structure, cost coding structure, earned value management, change order requirements and management procedures, change order and request for information logs, and periodic progress reports.
  • Assist with the preparation or revision of baseline critical path method (CPM) schedules, including review of the CPM schedule vs. the project scope of work and contractual milestones; review of resource loading, schedule logic, and constraints; preparation of a schedule basis document; and review of the contractor’s basic plan and sequence.
  • Assist with the preparation of periodic (monthly) schedule updates (including the impact of any change orders or delays), time impact analyses, and extension of time requests.
  • Assist with the preparation of cost estimates to ensure all costs are accounted for, including engineering, project management, equipment, materials, and labor costs.
  • Assist with the preparation of periodic (monthly) cost reports and forecasts to consider equipment and material cost trends, the cost impact of changes, actual engineering and construction labor productivity, and delays that impact time-related costs.
  • Assist with the analysis of technical issues, including the schedule impact and pricing of change orders.

A construction consultant providing risk analysis and avoidance consulting services can perform detailed cost and schedule risk assessments that provide clients with deep understanding to facilitate good decision making, thereby increasing the likelihood of delivering a successful project. Risk management consulting services provided by a construction consultant may include, but not be limited to, the following.

  • Assist in the development of appropriate contingencies for capital cost estimates based on the completeness of the engineering design at the time of the cost estimate.
  • Assist in the development of project feasibility assessments comparing capital and operating costs with project revenues.
  • Assist with identifying the probability and potential impact of schedule and cost risks, including but not limited to risks associated with scope uncertainty, poor labor productivity, extended design development for “first of a kind” projects, severe weather, civil unrest and work stoppages, and differing site conditions.
  • Facilitate cost and schedule risk assessment workshops to identify mitigation measures for identified risks.
  • Assist with high-level claims and schedule evaluations.
  • Assist with cost forecasting.

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