Employer's agent in design and build contracts.
When an employer wishes to procure a building project via a ‘design and build’ contract (specifically a JCT contract) he needs to appoint an ‘Employers Agent’ to act on his behalf. The ‘Employers Agent’ will be a named individual that the employer entrusts with his or her authority to manage the project. If that individual is employed then his firm will also be named.
The role is often filled by a quantity surveyor although the role of QS is not mentioned in the JCT design and build contract. Our quantity surveyors and building surveyors have considerable experience in design and build contracts and frequently act as ‘Employer’s Agent’.
The ‘Employers Agent’ acts on behalf of the employer in all aspects of the contract unless the employer expressly states to the contrary. The duties of the ‘Employer’s Agent’ are defined in the JCT contract but include the ability to receive and issue applications, consents, instructions, notices, requests and statements; and, to otherwise act for the employer under any of the contract conditions.
The employer remains responsible under the contract for giving possession of the site; making payments to the contractor; and for issuing certain notices. In these circumstances the ‘Employer’s Agent’ will usually give advice and support.
The ‘Employer’s Agent’ will issue payment notices as the work progresses. The Agent cannot deduct liquidated damages but will advise the employer of their right to do so.
Apart from the above the ‘Employer’s Agent’ is often called upon to lead the project team and may undertake some architectural functions. The Agent will often draft the ‘employer’s requirements’ and will frequently undertake pre-contract cost planning and contractor selection roles as well as invite tenders from an agreed list. The ‘Employer’s Agent’ will scrutinise the contractor’s tender proposals and advise the employer on the competing offers.