Project Management: The Liability and Standards Expected of a Project Manager - Landlord & Tenant - Leases - UK (2022)

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The services offered by Project Managers ("PMs") varyconsiderably, as do the qualifications and experience of the peopleputting themselves forward for this role. There is no defined groupof services for them to undertake and only a limited number ofstandard form contracts for their performance. The qualificationsand experience of people practising as PM may stem from theprofessional side of the construction industry, as in Architects,Quantity Surveyors or Engineers, or may emanate from thecontracting side, such as in the management teams of major maincontractors.

The package of services offered may include providing, throughothers, all the design and consultancy services required for theproject, with or without co-ordinating or chasing up theadministration and supervision of any relevant construction main orsub-contract(s). In other cases, a PM may simply exist as anadditional tier of advice and administration between theArchitect/Engineer on one hand and the Employer on the other, inother words act as the Employer's agent in all contractualmatters, sometimes including the engagement and briefing of theArchitect, the Quantity Surveyor and other consultants.

The role and services of a Project Manager

The Chartered Institute of Builders has produced a Code ofPractice for Project Management for Construction and Development.The definition of project management in the 2002 third edition isworth comparing to the 2010 fourth edition. The third editionstated:

"Project management is the professional disciplinewhich separates the management function of a project from thedesign and execution functions".

The fourth edition states that project management is:

" established discipline which executively managesthe full development process, from the client's idea tofunding, co-ordination and acquirement of planning and statutorycontrols, approvals, sustainability, design delivery, through tothe selection of procurement of the project team, construction,commissioning, handover review, to facilities managementco-ordination".

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As with all constructionprofessionals, the primary obligations owed will be found in theexpress and implied terms of the PM's appointment. As there is,as yet, no formal legal recognition of a distinct profession of PM,it is likely that when ascertaining the relevant duty of skill andcare, the court will look at the profession from which the PMcomes. In other words, if the PM is an Architect, the standard willbe the standard of skill and care to be expected of a reasonablycompetent architect holding himself out as carrying on projectmanagement work.

Legal liability

A number of general observationsregarding the role of PMs were made in the case of RoyalBrompton Hospital NHS Trust–v- Hammond (2003) 88 ConLR 1 in 2003, when the Judge said that:

  1. Project management is still an emergent professionaldiscipline, in which professional practices as such have not yetdeveloped or become clearly discernable. The standard of carerequired of a PM is therefore likely to depend upon his particularterms of engagement and of the demands of the particularproject;
  2. Nevertheless it was clear that a central part of the role of PMwas to be "co-ordinator and guardian of the client'sinterest";
  3. Moreover, the terms of engagement of other consultants will bematerial in defining the scope of the PM's duties, sinceduplication of the function is not expected. For example, on thefacts of that case, although the Architect was the contractadministrator formally appointed under the contract, that functionhad been transferred de facto to the PM;
  4. The PM is the Employer's primary representative and shouldbe regarded by other consultants as, in effect, an Employer (albeita highly informed Employer) and should be kept fully advised bythem. The expertise and knowledge of the PM will affect only theextent to which advice needs to be spelled out; the essentialelements of the advice must always be clearly given although it maybe thought to be pointing out the obvious;

In the case of CheshamProperties Limited –v- Bucknall Austin Project ManagementServices [1996] BLR 2, the claimant sued both the Architectand the PM in respect of what it alleged were excessive extensionsof time together with loss and expense awarded to the Contractor.The Court found that where it would have been apparent to areasonably competent PM that the Architect, Engineer and/orQuantity Surveyor were not performing their respective duties, hehad an obligation to inform the Employer. The case illustrates thepotential width of the duties owed by PMs managing the professionalinput of a variety of multi-disciplined contributors, particularlygiven that the conventional professional team had been engaged forsome period of time before the PM came on board. The Judge was ofthe view that:-

"The Project Manager wasplainly under a duty, on the true construction of the contract insuch terms and made in such context, to report to the plaintiff ondeficiencies in performance on the part of itsco-defendants."

There are relatively few reportedcases concerning PMs alone; most claims are likely to be ancillaryto claims against other professionals. When considering how much ofthe loss should be borne by the PM, the court should have regard tothe extent to which poor management was really the cause of theproblem. In Palermo Nominees Pty Limited and Micro Bros PtyLimited –v- Broad Construction Service Pty Limited(Supreme Court of Western Australia, Parker J, CIV 2439 of 1996,the PM was held to have fallen short of their contractual dutiesand undertakings by failing to recommend the appointment of anexternal consultant to report on internal acoustics in respect of aproject involving the design and construction of a nightclub.

The case of Pozzolanic Lytag Limited v Bryan HobsonAssociates [1999] 89 BLR 267 considered whether a projectmanager owed a duty of care to the client to ensure that theprofessional indemnity insurance of the consultants was adequate.The case concerned the construction of a concrete dome, which dueto a design defect collapsed causing considerable financial loss tothe employer. The main contractor was primarily liable under theJCT Design and Build Form of Contract, but did not maintainadequate insurances required by the contract.

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The TCC Judge held that the defendant engineer was liable to theemployer for not ensuring that the contractor had adequateprofessional indemnity insurance, and for not ensuring thatprofessional indemnity insurance was in place. The defendantengineer pleaded contributory negligence on the part of theemployer for not himself checking the insurance. This plea wasrejected by the Judge. The Judge held that the fact that the PMlacked the expertise necessary to assess the adequacy of theinsurance arrangements which the Contractor did have in place didnot relieve them of their responsibility. They could not simply actas "post-box".

The "good workingrule" in Pozzolanic Lytag

The key question in PozzolanicLytag was set out on page 3 of the judgment:

"The case raises questionsas to the scope of the duty owed by projects managers to theirclients to ensure that suitable insurance arrangements are put inplace by contractors."

In Pozzolanic Lytagreference was made to the Code of Practice for Project Managementfor Construction and Development. Although there was amisapplication of the 1996 edition the author listed duties andresponsibilities undertaken during the management of a constructioncontract. The list included:

"(l) Compile all contractdocuments ... establish the client's requirements on suchmatters as ... insurance requirements ...

(o) ... Ensure the contractorhas complied with insurance and bondingrequirements".

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Mr Justice Dyson accepted that thiswas "a good working rule" as to the scope of the dutiesto be undertaken by a project manager in relation to insurance.There were two caveats:

(i) There should not be a"slavish" application of the list; and

(ii) The list is subject to any"special requirements" made between the client and theproject manager.

Mr Justice Dyson came to theconclusion that the project manager in that case owed a duty to theemployer to take reasonable care to "ensure" that therewas in place insurance that would cover the contractor'sliabilities in respect to the building contract. No insurance wasin place. The real or effective cause of the loss was the projectmanager's failure to ensure that the contractor had taken outthe relevant insurance.

What does a PM need to do inorder to "advise"?

In Pozzolanic Lytag MrJustice Dyson stated on page 8:

"If a project manager doesnot have the expertise to advise his client as to the adequacy ofthe insurance arrangements proposed by the contractor, he has achoice. He may obtain expert advice from an insurance broker orlawyer. Questions may arise as to who has to pay for this.Alternatively, he may inform the client that expert advice isrequired, and seek to persuade the client to obtain it. What hecannot do is simply act as a "post box" and send theevidence of the proposed arrangements to the client withoutcomment."

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Mr Justice Dyson took the view thata project manager was to act in a proactive manner in respect ofthe insurances. Does this obligation relate only to thecontractor's insurances, or does it extends to insurances thatthe Employer may need to obtain? Mr Justice Dyson was of the viewthat a project manager must inform the client and "seek topersuade the client to obtain" appropriate insurances. It isnot adequate to simply act as a "post box" by sendingevidence of the proposed arrangements to the client withoutcomment.

The use of the word"persuade" suggests that a project manager should do morethan just advise, but should make very clear to the client theimportance of dealing properly with insurance. Also he issuggesting that even where the contractor is to take out theinsurance, the client, meaning the employer, could be advised bythe project manager to take out the insurance.

The case of Six ContinentsRetail Limited v Carford Catering Limited [2003] EWCA Civ 1790concerned the construction of a restaurant which was damaged byfire during construction. Six Continents were the project managersand they engaged Carford to design and install the kitchenequipment. Once the restaurant had reopened, there was a problemwith the spit-roaster. Carford had failed to follow thespit-roaster's manufacturing installation guidelines. Theproject manager had a duty in his appointment to check thecondition and nature of the spit-roaster.

At first instance, the projectmanagers were not liable. However, the Court of Appeal decided thatthe project manager was responsible. The project managers hadescaped liability because they sent their client a letter from thespit-roast manufacturer that set out the recommendations forinstallation, but these were ignored by the restaurant. The Courtof Appeal decided that simply forwarding a letter was not adequate.The project manager needed to be more proactive and should haveassessed the fire risk and warned the client in much clearerterms.


These cases confirm a growing trendtowards establishing some degree of legal accountability in theperformance of project managers, albeit that the precise parametersof the duties owed are still evolving. In conclusion, the liabilityof project managers is onerous. They are not simply to act as apost-box, but they must fill their proactive and all-embracingplanning, management and co-ordination role for the project. Theyneed to think clearly ahead, advise the client accordingly aboutthe costs risks and time implications of the project, not just atthe start but on an ongoing basis.

This is an edited extract from alonger article on this topic by Nicholas Gould. To see a full copyof this article please go to


The content of this article is intended to provide a generalguide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be soughtabout your specific circumstances.


What are the obligations of a project manager? ›

What Are the Responsibilities of a Project Manager?
  • Plan and Develop the Project Idea. Every project starts as an idea. ...
  • Create and Lead Your Dream Team. ...
  • Monitor Project Progress and Set Deadlines. ...
  • Solve Issues That Arise. ...
  • Manage the Money. ...
  • Ensure Stakeholder Satisfaction. ...
  • Evaluate Project Performance.
30 Jun 2021

What are the 3 common standards in the project management industry? ›

Which Project Management Standards Exist?
  • PMI/PMBOK: the standard of the American Project Management Institute.
  • IPMA: a methodology of the International Project Management Association.
  • PRINCE2: a standard used primarily in Great Britain and the Netherlands.
17 Mar 2021

What are the four main responsibilities of project managers? ›

Key Responsibilities of a Project Manager
  • Initiating. Project managers begin each new project by defining the main objectives of the project, its purpose, and its scope. ...
  • Planning. ...
  • Executing. ...
  • Monitoring and Controlling. ...
  • Closing.
4 Feb 2019

Is the project manager liable? ›

If you, as a project manager, or any of your employees do something that may lead to causing injuries while visiting a client's premises, you are held liable. Equivalently, if, say, an unexpected accident occurs while an outsider comes to your business, and he/she suffers from an injury, you could be held responsible.

What are the three most important responsibilities of the project manager? ›

The duties of a project manager include managing resources, keeping the client requirements in check, coordinating with the team and making sure that the outcomes are delivered on time.

What is a project manager not responsible for? ›

As a project manager, you don't “make the decisions on the direction of the project. Given the role of managing projects, too many assume you're deciding the goals, budget, priorities, and so on when, really, you're executing the plan that is designed to most efficiently achieve these.

What are the 6 responsibilities of the general manager? ›

And they do that by focusing on the six key tasks that constitute the foundations of every general manager's job: shaping the work environment, setting strategy, allocating resources, developing managers, building the organization, and overseeing operations.

What are the top 5 priorities of a project manager? ›

In order to deliver quality and satisfaction, a project manager must utilize their leadership skills to maintain their team's motivation and direction throughout the project timeline.
5 Top Responsibilities of a Project Manager
  • Planning.
  • Organizing.
  • Leading.
  • Implementing.
  • Analyzing.

What would the main 5 tasks of a project manager be? ›

Skills and attributes needed to be a project manager

direct, manage and motivate the project team. develop and maintain an agreed project plan and detailed stage plans. understand and apply business case and risk management processes. tailor expert knowledge to meet specific circumstances.

What are the 7 principles of project management? ›

The 7 Principles
  • Continued Business Justification. A project must make good business sense. ...
  • Learn from Experience. Project teams should take lessons from previous projects into account. ...
  • Define Roles and Responsibilities. ...
  • Manage by Stages. ...
  • Manage by Exception. ...
  • Focus on Products. ...
  • Tailor to the Environment.
19 Sept 2016

Can you get sued as a project manager? ›

With the advent of this project manager, the architect's ultimate and sole responsibility in these areas of expertise is diluted to a shared liability. Lawsuits against professionals and contract managers are becoming alarmingly more commonplace.

What are two potential consequences of a project manager? ›

The consequences are bad reputation, project cost overruns, project schedule delays, demotivation of the project team, and sustainability risk to the organization.

What is the main ethical responsibility of an manager when there are any issues in project? ›

The code of Ethics and Professional Conduct highlights ethical values such as trust, honesty, responsibility respect and fairness. Trust, honesty, responsibility respect and fairness are critical values that create harmony and professionalism in teams, which in turn leads to project success.

What does a project manager do UK? ›

As a project manager, you'll need to track work to be completed, set deadlines and delegate tasks to your project team, identifying any potential risks. Ultimately, you're responsible for completing the project work in line with the plan and will often report progress to senior managers.

What are standards in project management? ›

A standard is a document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, which provides for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.

What are the 5 pieces of project management? ›

Developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the five phases of project management include conception and initiation, project planning, project execution, performance/monitoring, and project close.

What is the ISO standard for project management? ›

ISO 21500, Project, programme and portfolio management – Context and concepts, is a foundational standard that provides overarching guidance for the use of the ISO 21500 series of standards. It gives an overview on project, programme and portfolio management and their governance.

Is project manager responsible or accountable for the project? ›

Project Manager is accountable for anything related to the project, only if he is fully empowered. This in turn allows the project manager to embrace accountability for the successful delivery of the project.

What is one of the first things that a project manager must do? ›

Create a project plan. Develop a resource plan. Define goals and performance measures. Communicate roles and responsibilities to team members.

What are the 10 responsibilities of a manager? ›

The ten management roles are:
  • Figurehead.
  • Leader.
  • Liaison.
  • Monitor.
  • Disseminator.
  • Spokesperson.
  • Entrepreneur.
  • Disturbance Handler.

What is the most basic responsibility of a manager? ›

Manager Job Responsibilities:

Accomplishes department objectives by managing staff; planning and evaluating department activities. Maintains staff by recruiting, selecting, orienting, and training employees. Ensures a safe, secure, and legal work environment.

What is the most effective duty of a general manager? ›

A General Manager is responsible for improving efficiency and increasing departmental profits while managing the company's overall operations. They oversee several elements in a business, including hiring staff, operating budgets, and launching price promotions that could attract more customers.

What are the six traits of a highly effective project managers? ›

From communication to stability, here are the top six traits of successful project managers.
  • Competence.
  • Decisiveness.
  • Vision.
  • Communication.
  • Stability.
  • Open-mindedness.
20 Sept 2019

What is project manager checklist? ›

Set the vision, goals, and objectives. Meet with stakeholders and other project managers. Gather specs and requirements for the project team. Make the project plan.

What are the top three things a project manager needs to succeed at? ›

Here are the three “must-have” skills for every successful project manager:
  • Communication and interpersonal skills. It is often said that the primary reason projects fail is due to communication mishaps, not for technical reasons. ...
  • Ability to negotiate and resolve conflicts. ...
  • Building commitment within the team.
10 Apr 2019

What are three critically important things you must do well as a project manager in order for the project to succeed ?*? ›

To be a success, a project needs careful planning, effective communication, and attention to detail. With proper risk management and strong project closure, organizations can create project success.

What are the 12 golden rules of project success? ›

Rule 1: Thou shall gain consensus on the project outcome. Rule 2: Thou shall build the best team possible. Rule 3: Thou shall develop a comprehensive, viable plan and keep it up-to-date. Rule 4: Thou shall determine how much activity you really need to get all things done.

What is the golden triangle of project management? ›

The golden triangle is another name for a project management triangle. It is a project management model that shows that three constraints—time, scope and cost—all must be balanced in project management in order to deliver a quality final deliverable.

What are the 9 principles of project management? ›

Here are the nine principles of project management:
  • Formal project management structure.
  • Invested and engaged project sponsor.
  • Clear and objective goals and outcomes.
  • Documented roles and responsibilities.
  • Strong change management.
  • Risk management.
  • Mature value delivery capabilities.
  • Performance management baseline.

Can a manager be held personally liable? ›

A manager cannot be found personally liable for employment-related decisions under the federal civil rights laws that protect employees from discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the ...

Is a manager liable for negligence? ›

Simply stated, an employer is vicariously liable for the torts (or wrongful acts) of its employees committed within the scope of employment. (Lisa M. v. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hosp., (1995) 12 Cal.

Do project managers need professional liability insurance? ›

Professional liability insurance is one of the most important coverages a project manager can obtain, as project managers are highly susceptible to these claims. These lawsuits may emerge from a number of allegations, including claims of negligence, breach of duty, poor performance, and more.

What two common problems can a project manager avoid by escalating an issue? ›

What two common problems can a project manager avoid by escalating an issue? Rapid decision making and increased agility are two of the most common problems that are helped with escalations.

What are the characteristics of a bad project manager? ›

A bad project manager does not have an understanding of their domain of expertise, and they do not take the initiative to build up their knowledge base. They constantly use the excuse of having too many meetings, too many phone calls and too many issues to resolve.

What is the most common problem in project management? ›

Lack of communication

Deloitte states that 32 percent of professionals believe that communication is the biggest issue of project management. Miscommunication is also dangerous for project teams because it affects their teamwork. It can cause conflicts among team members and can potentially delay the project.

What are the ethical and legal responsibilities of a manager? ›

As a manager, it is considered one of your primary responsibilities to both understand and practice ethical behavior in order to: meet the company's expectations for conduct, set an example of appropriate behavior for subordinates, and to minimize the ambiguity that often comes along with the practice of ethics.

What are four of the ethical issues faced by project managers in general? ›

  • Accountability. When things go wrong, it's human nature to try to avoid the consequences and place the blame somewhere else. ...
  • Conflicts of Interest. ...
  • Workplace Culture. ...
  • Health and Safety Concerns.
30 Jul 2021

What are the three 3 basic levels of ethical issues? ›

Philosophers divide ethics into into three different levels, which range from the very abstract to the concrete: metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics.

What are project managers responsible for? ›

Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing out projects. They are accountable for the entire project scope, the project team and resources, the project budget, and the success or failure of the project.

How much does a project manager earn per day UK? ›

How much does a Project manager make in United Kingdom? The average project manager salary in the United Kingdom is £48,602 per year or £24.92 per hour. Entry level positions start at £40,000 per year while most experienced workers make up to £70,000 per year.

What does a project manager get paid UK? ›

The national average salary for a Project Manager is £48,783 in United Kingdom.

What is the most difficult phase of project management? ›

The project execution phase is often the longest and most complex stage in the project life cycle. If you're not careful, your team might get off track, run into communication problems, or stop following your carefully outlined procedures.

What is the most challenging situation for project manager? ›

Biggest Challenges Faced as a Project Manager
  • Challenge 1: Poorly Defined Goals. One of the most common challenges a project manager has to face usually regard corporate, internal issues. ...
  • Challenge 2: Poor Team Skills. ...
  • Challenge 3: Inadequate Communication. ...
  • Challenge 4: Risk Assessment.
17 Jan 2019

What are the 3 levers of project management? ›

Instead, you have three levers that you can adjust in order to find the right compromise with new projects. They are scope, resources, and time. Sometimes you have flexibility over all of them, and sometimes you won't. Scope: The definition of what the project is going to deliver.

What are the four 4 Ps of project management? ›

There are 4 critical components puff project management which is known as the '4Ps” namely Product, Process, People, Project. Let us delve into each of them a little in detail to get a better understanding: Product – The meaning of this term is self-evident.

What are the 4 types of project management? ›

A 2017 report published by the Harvard Business Review divides project manager personalities into four different types—executor, prophet, expert, and gambler [2]. Knowing how you or other project managers operate can be useful in discerning what kind of project management style is best for the situation.

What are the four 4 parts of a project description? ›

Measurable: Include metrics for defining success. Achievable: Set goals that are possible to accomplish with the available resources. Relevant: Goals should be aligned with your organization's mission. Time-bound: Include intermediate and final deadlines for each goal.

What are the 4 C's in project management? ›

To solve this problem, PBL has evolved to include a new Gold Standard that incorporates the “Four Cs” of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

What are the 4 C's and 4Ps? ›

The 4Ps of product, price, place, and promotion refer to the products your company is offering and how to get them into the hands of the consumer. The 4Cs refer to stakeholders, costs, communication, and distribution channels which are all different aspects of how your company functions.

What are the for P's of a project management? ›

Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of the four P's of project management. To recap, it consists of People, Product, Process and Project. Without these four elements, project planning and execution will be impacted with roadblock issues and are less likley to meet their original goals.

What are the 5 stages of project management? ›

Five stages of project management
  • initiation.
  • planning.
  • execution.
  • monitoring and control.
  • closure.

What are the six key decisions in project management? ›

Key Decisions in Project Management
  • Deciding which projects to implement.
  • Selecting the project manager.
  • Selecting the project team.
  • Planning and designing the project.
  • Managing and controlling project resources.
  • Deciding if and when to terminate a project.

What are the six 6 types of project management methods? ›

Specific examples of project management methodologies – each with its unique advantages and limitations – include, but are not limited to Agile, Waterfall, Critical Path, Scrum, Lean Six Sigma and PRINCE2.

What are the 5 project key elements? ›

5 Key Elements To Success In Project Management
  • IDENTIFYING CLIENTS NEEDS. Accurately identifying the client's needs is the key to ensuring that you produce the right product. ...
  • PLANNING. ...
7 Sept 2021

What are the 7 steps of project planning? ›

7 Steps To Project Planning Success For Project Managers
  • Tip 1: Establish clear goals for the project. ...
  • Tip 2: Set expectations up front. ...
  • Tip 3: Outline potential risks and how you'll manage them if hazards arise. ...
  • Tip 4: Minimize the number of meetings. ...
  • Tip 5: Plan the perfect kickoff meeting.
8 Feb 2019

What are 3 main factors of every project? ›

  • 3 key factors to have a project success. Recent studies have been investigating the project successes factors. ...
  • Synergic Teamwork. A successful project is made by teamwork that knows their importance on it. ...
  • Leaders with vision and imagination. A successful project is led by project managers prepared for future events.
11 Apr 2019

What are the 3 most general categories of risks to a project? ›

Types of Project Risk

There are three main types of project risks: cost, schedule, and performance.


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