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Clerk of works is one of the oldest job titles in the architecture profession. In the past the architect and the clerk of works were the same thing. However, with the increased pressure on both roles and the scale and number of constructions today, the roles have become separate.
A clerk of works is employed either by the lead architect on a project or the client and is based on the site currently under construction or renovation. They are there to represent either or both the client/architect and protect their interests.
One of their key roles is to be impartial and objective in all matters. They will check value for money through rigorous inspections and will generally watch over the site to ensure everything is done to the standard that would be expected, should the client or architect be there themselves.
They are not there to judge or take matters into their own hands; all they can do is report any problems or issues arising back through to the client or architect for them to deal with.
They must have an excellent knowledge of both the construction process and the architecture world so that they know what to expect and are able to notice faults. Knowing about materials, budgets and the final design is essential so they have a target of expectation to aim for.