Consultants—duties when acting as certifier
Consultants—duties when acting as certifier

The following Construction guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Consultants—duties when acting as certifier
  • Consultants carrying out the role of certifier
  • What needs to be certified?
  • What are the certifier's duties?
  • Conflict with other duties
  • Retaining independence
  • Certifier's liability to employer and contractor
  • Can the employer act as certifier?

Consultants carrying out the role of certifier

Consultants such as employers' agents, contract administrators, project managers and architects are often required to act as certifier under a building contract. For example, under several of the JCT forms of contract, including the Standard Building Contract and Intermediate Building Contract, the architect/contract administrator is responsible for making a number of decisions, including issuing the practical completion certificate and certificate of making good. Under the JCT Design and Build Contract 2011/2016, the employer's agent takes on this role. Under the NEC3/NEC4 contracts the project manager has the role of certifier, and there are equivalent roles under other standard form building contracts (see for example Practice Note: FIDIC contracts 2017—the role of the Engineer).

Acting in the role of certifier requires the consultant to act in a decision making capacity, and the role carries with it duties to act fairly and impartially as between the employer and contractor. Consultants do not usually have such duties when they are acting solely on behalf of one party.

What needs to be certified?

There are numerous occasions throughout construction projects where decisions will need to be made and a certification role performed. Examples include:

  1. issuing interim payment certificates

  2. determining variations to the contract sum

  3. deciding upon extensions of time to the completion date

  4. ascertaining loss and