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Published 13th February 2006 by Constructing Excellence

In all construction projects the client must brief the industry about what is expected of the proposed building or other construction work. Often there will be a formal written brief or series of briefs that may form part of a tender document. In other cases the brief may be much more informal. However, briefing is more than the writing of documents – it is the process through which the client and construction industry explore, develop and communicate the client’s requirements.

Why is briefing important?

If the client’s requirements are not satisfactorily developed and communicated then the industry will use its experience to provide a product that it hopes the client wants. There is a great danger that in doing so the product will fall short of the client’s expectations. An underperforming building may have a serious effect on the client’s core business.

When should briefing take place?

Briefing takes place throughout the construction process from project inception to completion. It is important that the client is actively involved at all stages to ensure that the project meets requirements. Critical decisions are often taken during the early stages of the project and full client participation in these is essential.

How can briefing be improved?

There is no magic formula for successful briefing. It is critical to devote adequate time and appropriate resources to briefing but these must be directed in a productive way. Much depends on interpersonal and managerial skills. Briefing should be developed to meet the demands of a particular project and set of participants. Factors such as client experience, complexity of organisation, organisational culture, rate of organisational change, project complexity and degree of project development all need to be taken into account. Several areas in which there is scope for improvement in briefing practice have been identified. These include empowering the client, managing the project dynamics, appropriate user involvement, appropriate team building and appropriate visualisation techniques.

Briefing Factsheet

Filed in: External Relations