Hi folks 👋
This post will cover Level 2 of Client Care! We covered Level 1 last week so please review that post if you haven’t already!
DISCLAIMER: The following is not an exhaustive set of notes, but it's an attempt to help those who, like me at the beginning, did not know where to start! Please feel free to let me know if I have said anything incorrect or out of date!
So what is Level 2 Client Care all about?
The RICS note that to demonstrate competence at Level 2, you need to demonstrate your ability to:
Provide evidence of practical application of the principles and practice of client care in your area of practice.
Establishing a client’s objectives
Objectives are goals which an individual or organisation seeks to achieve. The client may or may not have set these objectives beforehand so these need to be made clear.
The client’s objectives with respect to a built asset may be finance or performance-related. For example, they may aim for the built asset to cost less than £1m or for it to meet a specific BREEAM rating.
As a QS, you will work with the Project Manager in order to help the client meet these requirements.
Confirming a client’s brief
The client’s brief explains what it is the client wants to achieve and how you will help them meet that goal.
Your job will be to review that document, identify what you can and can commit to and price accordingly.
Establishing a scope of services
Scope of services is usually a document that describes what professional service you are going to provide to the client. It might be in a checklist form and it may include activities which correspond to a specific gateway stage like the RIBA. For example, at stage 0 you might be doing functional estimates but at stage 4 you might be producing bills of quantities. At the Construction stage, you might be involved in interim valuations, production of cost reports and other administrative activities like attending site meetings, value engineering workshops etc.
Your organisation may well have a standard checklist available for you to review.
Calculating fees for professional services
Fee proposals are usually undertaken by senior staff members but I would highly recommend you try and get involved with this.
In my experience, QS fees are compiled on the basis of day rates. That Day rate allows for the QS’s actual salary, overhead and profit.
Compiling an appointment document
An appointment document is a mechanism by which consultants are appointed to a project. It is important the terms of the appointment are set out in writing as soon as is practically possible, defining the scope of services that are likely to be required and the fee that will be charged for those services.
Establishing project stakeholders and their status
Stakeholders are anyone who is affected by or has an interest in your project. It could be neighbours, environmental interest groups or your client’s executive board.
Part of your job as a professional is to have commercial awareness - this means understanding your client's needs and requirements. It will involve you being empathic and paying attention to the issues your client faces. Your client will definitely let you know who some of the stakeholders are, but the best consultants are those who can foresee a problem before it occurs and solve it before their clients even find out.
Setting up communication systems with a client and stakeholders
Communication with clients and stakeholders should always be formalised and recorded. If there is a communication system used like ASITE or CEMAR this is preferable. Having a formal system will help prevent mis-communciation and ensure transparency.
Issuing reports to a client e.g. cost reports
Most PQS forms have a quality assurance process in place prior to issuing anything form to a client. Generally, it’s reviewed by at least one senior surveyor to ensure there aren’t any blinding errors.
Portals like CEMAR, ASITE or even Sharepoint can be used to distribute these reports. The client may ask for it to sent via email in order to catalogue it in their internal system.
Dealing with a complaint
The RICS have their own Complaints handling guidance note - here’s the link for your review.
Measurement of KPIs
If KPIs have been stipulated as part of your service agreement, there should really be a section in there about how your client will measure your performance.
For example, on one of my projects, there was KPI which measured how punctual we were at responding to notifications on the contract management system. The client was fed data on this and the more punctual we were the higher we would score as an organisation when compared to our peers who worked for the client on other contracts.
Analysing the data gathered through the client briefing process and formulating a detailed client brief
When you have an initial meeting with the client, you will need to record key details like the length and scope of services that they require. This will be used to determine the fee proposal. Think of it as a programme, The client has a start and finish date and specific activities within that period. As a QS you may only be involved in one stage of the project or throughout the lifecycle. You may have to produce separate proposals for each stage!
That’s it for this post folks!