The Role of Owner Representative

Large projects can be extremely difficult for clients to manage. They either do not have the appropriate resources or in-house expertise for such an undertaking. Without such in-house capability, the overseeing of a major project leads to increased risk to current business or achievement of strategic objectives. In addition, it increases stress on employees and potentially reduces morale.

If line managers are running the project they are not focussed on the responsibilities they have been hired for and therefore their day to day jobs suffer, thus risking achievement of their objectives and increasing running costs. Margins will be reduced and the project will cost more.

Projects generally consist of multiple elements, and the more complex the project the more elements there are to manage. Each of these project elements bring with it its own set of resources, demands, interactions and risks. It is often in the management of these individual tasks that issues and disconnects are created. No individual Project Manager, consultant, contractor or vendor shares the Client’s comprehensive scope of interest. It is sadly the case that often the objectives of these resources do not match those of the client.

The primary role of the Owner’s Representative (OR) is to protect the client’s interests in any given project. The OR will have a detailed understanding of the client’s objectives and will ensure these are carried through by all the teams involved in the project. The CR will create the overall project plan and coordinate all aspects of its delivery.

Key activities for the owner's representative are as follows:

  • Agree ways of working with client’s project sponsor
  • Liaise with principle internal stakeholders to understand client requirements and specifications
  • Client existing project methodology review; integrate with other methodologies if necessary or introduce where none exist
  • Project Planning, including: Project Initiation, Project Scope, Team Structure, Schedule, Communication Plan, Cost Plan, Risk Register, Quality Plan, Procurement Plan and HSE Plan
  • Manage Internal and External Project Teams ensuring alignment and monitoring progress
  • Cost monitoring
  • Co-ordinate Design Reviews
  • Risk Management
  • Procurement:
    • o User Requirement Documents
    • o Negotiation
    • o Manage award of contracts for successful suppliers
  • Compile Monthly Progress Reports
  • Chair Monthly Steering Group Meetings
  • Monitor progress against the approved Project Plan
  • Manage scope changes
  • Control of document revisions
  • Facilitate necessary validation protocols
  • Facilitate of punch list completion
  • Project Closure including the Post Project Review



The benefits of this approach are many, but the key benefits are:

  • Line Managers focussed on day to day jobs and achieving objectives they have been set
  • More secure route to delivering project benefits:
    • o Improved opportunities to meet business plan
    • o Improved opportunities to meet or increase profit margin
    • o Earlier realisation of project benefits thus increasing business profitability
  • Experience and professionalism in running programmes and projects
  • Reduced cost of running projects
  • Improved opportunities to finish the projects on time