NEC3 ECC: The role of the Supervisor in a Design and Build Contract

In recent years I have seen a decline in the role of the Supervisor on public sector NEC3 Design and Build contracts - the Contractor seemingly carrying the sole responsibility for constructing the Works in accordance with the Works Information.

I should state that I have little hands-on experience in Design and Build contracts, but wondered where this trend had originated? Is it just that Clients take on more risk as they cannot afford to employ adequate levels of Supervision. For reference these are usually under ECC Option C - Target Cost.

Have others experienced this apparent decline in the role of the Supervisor - or is it something particular to the risk management model of a Design and Build contract?.

I wouldn’t say it is a particular trend in my experience in terms of the decline of the Supervisor. Most Employers i experience would identify a separate named Project Manager and Supervisor as part of contract data part 1. The PM deals with most of the day to day running of the contract including instructions and acceptances. The Supervisor role is solely to get involved with tests and inspections and identify defects. The intent is that it is a separate independent pair of eyes and ears for the Employer to ensure that the works are provided in accordance with the Works Information.

How much time/input the Supervisor has is down to how the Employer engages with that individual or company carrying out that role for them. In terms of providing the works the Contractor should be self sufficient in terms of complying with standards and their contractual obligations, but the Supervisor is there to check this particularly for elements of works that will then be covered up and difficult/impossible to see afterwards.