This weeks we tackle change management, a core competence which must be achieved to level three

As defined within the RICS Competency Guide, this competency covers “the effective cost control of construction projects during the construction phase. Candidates should be aware of the principles of controlling and reporting costs on any construction project. They should have a detailed understanding of the control and reporting processes used on their projects”.

The competency requirements for a candidate’s chosen faculty are outlined with the Pathway Guide which puts each of the competencies into context, and provides a faculty-based explanation of each level.

The questions below begin at level one, assessing the Candidate’s knowledge and understanding, before moving on through levels two and three, to assess the candidate’s actual experience and the advice provided to clients. In assessing a competence, the Assessor may ask questions at any level, in any order, and will not necessarily ask questions at all three levels if they are satisfied the competency has been achieved.

Level 1

Question: What is the purpose of change control on a construction project?

The purpose of change control is to provide a method of assessing and managing change, giving details of consequent cost, programme and scope effect. Effective change control procedures enables the monitoring and reporting of cost changes where they affect the out-turn cost and enables the project team to monitor and appraise programme implications and impact. The Client is made aware of the consequences of a potential change and the effect this will have on the overall project, this allowing an informed decision to be made with a full understanding of the impact of implementation.

Level 3

Question: I see from your summary of experience that you advised the client and implemented a change control procedure on your project X. Can you tell me the key issues you considered in advising the client upon the procedure to be adopted?

This question is testing the candidate’s experience and their approach in advising and implementing a change control procedure. The candidate’s answer will be based upon their own experience and will of course depend upon the type and complexity of the project and contract, as well as the structure of the client and consultant team. As such, the following answer is fairly generic in outlining the issues for consideration and should be read as a guide only.

Answer: The candidate may consider the following issues in preparing their recommendation:

  • What are the client’s objectives in terms of monitoring change?
  • Who are the key decision makers in the design and approval of changes?
  • What are the trigger levels of authority in respect of value, programme and quality?
  • What is the procurement process and how will this affect change control during the design and construction phases?
  • At what point in the design process of this particular project is it appropriate to start measuring change and why?
  • Confirm with the client and/or project manager what costs need to be included within the change, e.g. professional fees, VAT, etc.
  • Who takes responsibility for raising the Change Proposal, dependant upon the type of change?
  • How will the change control procedure link with contract instructions and contractor procedures (e.g. RFI’s) during the construction period?

Question: Having advised the client and established the change control procedure on Project X, how was this then implemented?

Answer: The candidate may outline the following approach:

  • The procedure was communicated to the rest of the consultant team through a report and flow diagram, which were prepared and then presented by the candidate at a meeting. This change procedure was also included within the Project Execution Plan.
  • Change Proposal proformas were issued to the design team with instructions for use.
  • A schedule of change control meetings were agreed with the project team.
  • A register of change controls and a tracker was maintained by the Candidate.
  • Change proposals were fully co-ordinated by the Initiator and checked by the candidate prior to costing and submitting to the client for approval.
  • The candidate monitored the other consultant’s and the client to ensure the correct procedures were being implemented, e.g. to ensure potential changes are raised at an early stage, the full consequences of changes are established and changes are only instructed following client sign off.

Level 2

Question: Where you have initiated a change yourself, can you tell me the information that you included on the Change Proposal Form (CPF) prior to presenting to the client?

Answer: The candidate may outline the following information:


  • Full description of the proposed change and the reason for the proposal
  • Cost implications, including breakdown and basis of cost
  • Any risks attached to the proposal
  • Implications of functionality and quality, in conjunction with design team
  • Programme implications, outlining how these were derived
  • Buildability or CDM issues
  • Description of the documentation, drawings, etc used and attached to the CPF
  • Implication to project team fees and resource levels
  • Confirmation of design co-ordination by design team
  • Confirmation of funding of change control (e.g. whether funded from contingency, provisional sums, additional funding, etc) and through the change control report, it’s effect on the forecast out-turn cost
  • Date required for approval
  • Implications of late approval and/ or rejection of the proposed change
  • Approvals box.