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The Construction Client Buddy Scheme

by on October 12, 2020

About the scheme

As a business owner, when you are embarking on construction or maintenance work, you take on the role of a construction ‘client’.

This comes with a number of responsibilities which you need to know and understand.

The purpose of this scheme is to equip you to engage with the construction industry by helping you to understand these responsibilities. We enable you to find the guidance and advice you need by:

  • Bringing this wealth of information together in one place:
  • Providing those who need it with a client buddy: an experienced construction client who, via a 5-10 minute phone call, can offer their free and impartial support.

Finding advice and guidance

There is extensive good quality guidance material available to business owners who find themselves becoming construction clients, but it’s not always easy to find what you need. 

Guidance is written from many viewpoints including design, procurement, contractual, health and safety and numerous others. On the site, you will find the following information:

If you still have questions, you can get in touch with us via the contact form. We will connect you with one of the scheme’s volunteer client buddies.


This free to access scheme is sponsored and supported by:

Construction Clients’ Leadership Group

Health and Safety Executive, Construction Industry Advisory Committee

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Chartered Institute of Building.


Research shows us that a disproportionate number of incidents, injuries and fatalities occur within small businesses. It is reasonable to assume that a similar picture exists in relation to time, cost and quality outcomes. Poor outcomes are predominantly the result of getting the early stages of engagement wrong and lead to the worst possible client, designer and contractor relationships.

One of the biggest challenges faced by less experienced clients is around procurement and understanding what construction should cost when delivered properly. Many opt for fixed price arrangements, even when the scope of a project is uncertain and the risks are not fully understood.

This can encourage the wrong behaviours when the full time and cost implications do come to light, having a negative impact on quality, health and safety, and frequently disrupting clients’ businesses. 

There is a wealth of information and guidance available to inexperienced SME clients, but this assumes they know where to look, and how best to apply the information in a measured manner. The Client Buddy scheme will help to ensure the SME clients are directed to the right information and give them the opportunity to ask questions if they need clarification on any points.

Purpose of the scheme

The Client Buddy Scheme was developed by experienced clients in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive’s industry group, Supporting Small Employers: an industry-wide group working together to reach and influence occasional clients. The overall aim is to help ensure that the best possible value is derived when investing in construction, and importantly that clients understand their obligations and duties as a ‘construction client’ under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015). These clients and their suppliers are often small business owners who are least familiar with their duties under CDM 2015.

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