Client’s Role

Broadly, the client’s role during construction is threefold:

  • Make sure everyone gets paid
  • Make decisions and manage change
  • Communicate with internal and external stakeholders about the project’s progress

Even though the main responsibility for the project’s progress has been delegated to the construction and design team, the responsibility for critical decisionmaking still rests with you, the client.

Change Management

Don’t try to change the design during construction

New demands, ideas, and changes from the client during construction can lead to frustration as well as increases in cost or project duration.  Even if it’s apparent that something could be improved, only consider changes during construction if the cost and schedule implications are clearly understood and approved by all parties.  Even seemingly minor changes can require significant redesign or re-construction.

NCcircleDo respond quickly and strategically to changes that require decisionmaking

Some changes will be required during construction to respond to unforeseen conditions, constructability or purchasing issues, or scheduling constraints.  The design and construction team will come to you to make important decisions throughout construction, often in a very short timeframe.

Your consultants will help you understand the implications for project cost and schedule, but only you can determine the impact of a construction decision on the project’s concept and mission.  Throughout construction, continually refer to the project concept and use it as a decisionmaking tool – this will result in consistent leadership, transparent decisionmaking, and a more successful end product.


Simultaneously, you will be tasked with managing your organization’s communication about the project with:

  • Staff
  • Audience
  • Donors
  • Policymakers
  • Your community

Likewise, you should expect regular communication from the design and construction team regarding the project’s progress. Regular meetings should occur throughout the process, and you should keep abreast of the project’s schedule and any anticipated delays, and make sure people that may be impacted are informed.  Likewise, if opening a show or other program commitments depend on the completion of the project, plan generous schedule allowances to avoid conflicts.


This post is also available in: French