Build GMP into your facility from the start with an owner consultant

In this article you can read about how an independent owner consultant can create value. Especially through assessment of the enterprise and through continuous monitoring of the progress. This is interesting if you are responsible for expanding a production, for new GMP facilities, or have an enterprise task to be solved. Especially if you do not have an established project organisation or project execution model.

Are you an ‘owner’?

The word owner calls to mind a large construction projects or new houses. But an owner is, in fact, the one who orders and pays for a building work or construction of any size, even if you just perceive it as a project, and yourself as a project owner. You may need medicinal cannabis manufacturing facilities, you may need to expand your current pharmaceutical production with a QC laboratorium, or you need to build new GMP manufacturing facilities. In other words, you will often as a part of your area of responsibility in the pharmaceutical industry be an owner, even if you perceive your role as someone else.

What is an owner consultant and why do I have to hire one?

The Danish Association of Construction Clients have made a guideline for owner consultancy (YBB 19), where you can find a brief description of what an owner consultant is doing.

'’An owner consultant is an advisor who advises and assists the client in connection with the solution of the assignment in collaboration with the owner's other advisors and with the contractors.’

But why is it a good idea to have a special advisor on your project? In this article, we will try to provide a thorough explanation of the purpose of an owner consultant, as well as focus in particular on some of the areas where it has a special value to the owner. 

Who needs an owner consultant?

Not all project owners need an owner consultant, just as not all projects need a physical construction. The project owners who have their own project organisation with project managers, controllers and purchasers often also have a clearly defined approval model which ensures that the project is well rooted in the organisation, and that an appropriate approval process for projects is assured before committing to the full investment. These actions help ensure that the necessary resources such as time, money and staffing are present in the project owner's own organisations.

However, there are many organisations that do not continuously have so many investment projects that they have setup their own project department or have had the need to have project execution or project approval processes. Such organisations can benefit greatly from hiring an external owner consultant to take care of the project owner's interests. Especially in connection with major investment projects.

Especially larger investment projects without project organisation benefit from an owner consultant

Thus, it is normally larger investment projects or project portfolios with a project owner who does not have his own project organisation, which especially benefits from an owner consultant.

But why not just buy this service from the technical advisor or the architect?

The role is described in ABR18, YBL18 and YBB19 and is therefore part of the contract basis for projects carried out under these conditions. This means that the vast majority of construction projects in Denmark have the owner consultant as a defined role. It is obvious to think of advising as a single service in a project, but by letting one advisor take on all the advising roles of a project, one can end up letting the 'wolf guard the sheeps'. There are many examples of the owner consultant's necessary focus on advising and supporting the project owner will be diluted when the advisor’s own employer must be taken into consideration. The same is in evidence for a construction management team that comes from the same company as the technical advisor or architect.

The performance should be seen as a staff augmentation of the owner's organisation. It's like hiring a specialist to solve a particular task, and to ensure independence and full focus on the advising task, it should be an independent advisor.

How does owner consultancy create value for the owner?

In addition to the obvious benefit of having an extra specialized resource in the project owner's organisation, there are a number of other areas where, as an owner / project owner, you get the value of having an independent owner consultant as part of your project.

There is an extra set of eyes on the project, which helps to ensure that focus is maintained on some of the areas that most often cause problems in a project. The figure below shows the five main reasons why projects do not meet the expected goals. 

An owner consultant can help to ensure the focus on resources, manage change, clarify roles and responsibilities in the project and to some extent also support the owner on the definition of goals and requirements in relation to the project. In this way, the owner / project owner can focus on the financing, organizational backing and the key objective. You may our article on project due diligence, that includes more information on pitfalls in projects ..

Der er mange eksempler på projekter, der har undervurderet værdien af at have fokus på forankringen. De mest synlige er store offentlige byggerier, hvor der er mange politiske hensyn at tage og mange modsat rettede ønsker. For eksempel er Niels Bohr bygningen på Københavns Universitet et projekt, hvor der er fejlet på mange af de ovenstående parametre. Men også hos private firmaer findes der mange eksempler på projekter, som ikke har haft den fornødne interne fokus. Præcist derfor er der stor værdi i at have den uafhængige specialiserede bygherrerådgiver.

There are many examples of projects that have underestimated the value of focusing on the backing. The most visible are large public buildings, where there are many political considerations and many opposing wishes. For example, the Niels Bohr building at the University of Copenhagen is a project where many of the above parameters have failed. But also, in private companies there are many examples of projects that have not had the necessary internal focus. That is exactly why there is great value in having the independent specialist owner consultant.


At AlfaNordic, we have a team of highly experienced owner consultants who, with their special focus on the pharmaceutical industry, can help ensure that the owner / project owner avoids the worst traps before committing to a major investment.


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