Explained: The role of Clerk of Works
Cameron Cappus, Senior Clerk of Works at Rund Partnership gives an overview of the Clerk of Works role.
What is a Clerk of Works?
A Clerk of Works is responsible for inspecting and ensuring the quality of work on construction sites. The role is essential for monitoring the quality, specification compliance and progression of the works against programme on any construction project, so that higher standards in quality in construction can be achieved.
What does the role involve?
A Clerk of Works is frequently on site as the “eyes and ears” for the client, ensuring first-hand that correct building specifications are being delivered to the highest quality in respect of design, safety, workmanship and installation. Role responsibilities include:
- Reviewing design and drawings in the early stages of the design process, identifying any conflicts which may arise during the project
- Highlighting potential buildability and design issues before they affect the construction works
- Checking the quality of the building materials and workmanship against the drawings, specification and the employer’s requirements
- Monitoring the installation, testing and commissioning of mechanical and electrical works on site
- Identifying any defects throughout the building process (during construction, at handover and at the end of the defects period) and suggesting corrections
- Keeping detailed records of work, including progress, trades on site and any weather stoppages
- Inspecting and cross-checking construction work with drawings and specifications
- Keeping a record of workforce attendance
How does the role differ from others?
A Clerk of Works role is particularly hands-on as it involves a significant amount of time on site. The role centres around quality above all else and ensures that high quality in construction is delivered throughout the entire build process, from start to finish.
Why is it important to invest in a Clerk of Works on a project?
Without the engagement and investment in a Clerk of Works, there is an increased risk of on-site defects and issues. For example, if construction is currently in progress on a project, there will be multiple trade contractors on site making sure the job gets delivered – from bricklayers and plumbers to electricians and carpenters. These contractors are hard at work focusing on their own job at hand, meaning that without someone overseeing their work, certain things are likely to slip through the net and may lead to time and cost problems further down the line.
A Clerk of Works often has experience from working closely in one of these trades, therefore knows exactly what to look out for and can flag any issues immediately rather than waiting until the end of a project. Human error can happen at any time, so allowing a client an extra pair of eyes on a project is essential for ensuring that any defects and issues are avoided early on.
The Clerk of Works role is now more important than ever, given the shortage of skilled tradespersons, and there is a continual need to ensure that key construction details (such as fire-stopping and M&E installations) are installed correctly.
At Rund, quality in construction is a central focus throughout the whole business.
Rund has a dedicated Clerk of Works team who are directly employed, rather than external sub-contractors, and who are involved in projects from their earliest stages. Often, members of the team are brought in from the initial design stages so they can input on design and buildability from the outset.
The Clerk of Works team at Rund includes particular specialisms to ensure high standards are met in every element of the project. As well as dedicated snaggers, quality and finishing surveyors, Rund employs in house expertise in specialist areas including Fire Stopping and Mechanical & Electrical.
Technology is used on site to capture, record and aid defect management, with Rund offering a dedicated aftercare team to further assist in defect management.
With a strong ethos and culture of collaborative working, the team works together seamlessly to share best practice and lessons learned throughout every project.