Client / Contractor

December 2016

Contractor and Client

  • Client

    The client refers to the entity that has the need that defines the project objective, schedule, and dedicated budget. The expected result of the project is the creation of a product, called works.

    The client is in charge of the basic idea of the project, and, in this regard, represents the intended end users of the work.

    Thus, the client is responsible for the functional expression of the needs, but does not necessarily hae the technical competency related to the implementation of the work.

  • Client Delegate

    If the client does not have the necessary specialized knowledge to head up the project, it may appoint a delegate (specialized in project management). This is called client assistance. The client delegate is responsible to act as an interface between the contractor and the client in order to help the client make its needs clear and verify the technical feasibility of the objective with the client. The client delegate is not a substitute for the client and therefore is not directly liable to the contractor.

  • Contractor

    The contractor is the entity hired by the client to carry out the work, under the terms and subject to the deadlines, and quality and cost provisions determined by the latter pursuant to a contract. The contractor is therefore responsible for the technical choices inherent in the performance of the work in accordance with the client’s requirements. The contractor thus has the responsibility, in the context of its assignment, to designate an individual in charge of the proper progress of the project (generally referred to as “project management”); this is the project manager.

  • Subcontracting

    For certain tasks of the project, if the contractor does not have the necessary resources in-house, the contractor may use one or more external companies, known as subcontracting (and each company is called a subcontractor or provider). Each subcontractor forms a project sub-group directly with the contractor, but is not directly liable to the client, even if the client has a “right of inspection” of the subcontractor’s work style.

  • Summary Diagram

    The contractor-client relation

Contractor-Client Relations

  • Difference between the Roles of Contractor and Client

    It is essential to distinguish between client and contractor in the performance of the project, because this distinction makes the responsibilities of the respective entities clear. It is also worthwhile to make sure that the determination of needs remains the sole responsibility of the client. In fact, it sometimes happens that the client delegates functional choices to the contractor under the pretext of insufficient technical knowledge (specifically, an organization’s IT service takes over and heads up the project starting with the statement of needs). Then, only the client is able to know its users’ needs. A lack of knowledge about the roles of the two entities creates the risk of creating conflicts in which each blames the other.

    On the other hand, while the contractor must take into account the initial requirements of the client, this does not mean that it is able to add new functionalities over the course of the project itself if it deems appropriate. Howeve,r the client is in charge of the technical choices, no matter how little they functionally meet the client’s requirements.

    Finally, a client may decide that an existing product is capable of meeting its needs, buy it, and then turn to the contractor (e.g., the IT service) for adaptations to the product.

    The distinction between contractor and client is even more difficult if the two entities are part of the same corporate structure. In cases like this, this makes clear contractual definition of the respective roles of the two entities even more important.

  • Communication between Contractor and Client

    To ensure the smooth running of the project, it is necessary to clearly define the roles of each entity and to appoint a representative of the client and the contractor. A project group consisting of the client and contractor’s project managers, as well as the client delegate, if applicable, should also meet if necessary to resolve conflicts related to the client’s requirements or the coordination of the project.

    Finally, it is essential to establish a training plan that allows the contractor and the client to have a common language and understanding as to the method of running the project, conducting interviews or meetings, etc.


Related :


Cliente / Contratista
Cliente / Contratista
Maîtrise d'ouvrage / Maîtrise d'oeuvre
Maîtrise d'ouvrage / Maîtrise d'oeuvre
Committenza/Realizzazione dell'opera
Committenza/Realizzazione dell'opera
Cliente / Mestre de obra
Cliente / Mestre de obra
This document entitled « Client / Contractor » from CCM (ccm.net) is made available under the Creative Commons license. You can copy, modify copies of this page, under the conditions stipulated by the license, as this note appears clearly.