The Hub provides an Adviser Panel that you may wish to use for your project.

The Adviser Panel is a list of organisations and individuals. These advisers are either local to the area or have a good knowledge of the area and its issues and ideally have experience and knowledge of working with communities and/or on small-scale housing developments. The advisers have been asked to set out how they meet these criteria and the information provided should help you when you are looking for experts to support your project.

If you have the necessary skills and experience and are interested in becoming an adviser you can find out more information here.

There is no requirement for communities to use the Adviser Panel, but it provides information to help in choosing suitable advisers.

The following advisers are available to support your project.Further checks may be required to verify the information provided. For further guidance contact Sharon Graham, Housing Strategy Manager.

Sharon Graham
[email protected]
01609 767 256
07773 367 378

Community Development Advisers

These can help form your community housing group, support community consultation and help develop your project in its earliest stages. They can also provide training to develop and manage your project.

They can help by advising on;

  • how to generate interest in the community for your project
  • how to carry out community consultation exercises
  • how to identify need for housing
  • the type of legal entity which would be best for the proposed project
  • funding and fundraising for your projects

Funding/Finance Advisers

These should be able to advise you about how to fund your project and manage the financial aspects. If they advise you about borrowing money to fund your project they should be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.

They can help by advising on:

  • raising development finance for community led housing, which may include mortgages, share issues or crowd funding.
  • the financial aspects of business plans
  • budgeting and cashflow for your organisation and projects
  • assessing the financial accounts of prospective consultants, developers and builders
  • the financial risks involved

These will be solicitors that may have experience in advising groups about their constitution and forming a charitable body. They may also have experience in housing law and be able to advise you on your responsibilities to prospective tenants and entering into management contracts.

They can help by advising on;

  • legal structures
  • your legal obligations and responsibilities
  • legal risks and issues
  • tenancy agreements, landlord responsibilities and housing management issues

These will be solicitors that have experience in development projects and land and property matters. They will help you to understand and agree contracts with Advisors, how to gain a legal interest in any sites you are considering and handle the purchase. They will also deal with specialist planning law issues and, if necessary, any disputes you may have with the builder.

They can help by advising on;

  • contracts for advisory services
  • site acquisition, option agreements and leases
  • site disposals
  • planning issues
  • restrictive covenants, wayleaves and other land issues
  • building contracts
  • contractual disputes

Technical Co-ordinator

They can help you to develop your project and business plan and help you to apply for grants. They will advise you on how to manage and structure your project and how to commission and manage consultants. Their involvement may be just at the start of the project or you may wish them to support you throughout the process.

They can help by advising on;

  • how to find a suitable site
  • assessing options for sites
  • business plans
  • viability
  • submitting planning applications
  • commissioning consultants, writing project briefs and assembling a project team
  • managing the project team

Planning Advisers

They may help you to assess planning issues which may affect sites you are considering and how the sites could be developed. They can help you to make your planning application and give you advice on any matters that need to be dealt with as your application is processed. They may help you deal with issues arising as the development takes place including changes that may need to be made to the planning application after it has been approved.

They can help by advising on;

  • planning policy, including liaison and negotiation with the Local Planning Authorities
  • masterplanning and site layout options
  • submission of planning applications
  • environmental, heritage and listed building issues in relation to planning
  • highways matters in relation to planning
  • dealing with planning conditions
  • planning appeals

Land/Valuation Advisers

They can provide advice on finding sites and negotiating with the land owner, assist with viability calculations and, where they are registered with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, provide valuations for sites.

They can help by advising on;

  • how to find sites
  • contractual mechanisms to secure land for development
  • site viability
  • valuations to support site acquisition and disposal

Architectural Design Advisers

They will provide designs and layouts to help you cost your project and prepare your planning and building regulations applications and technical plans for your builder to follow.

They can help by advising on;

  • housing design concepts and layouts for feasibility/viability assessment
  • sub-contracting and/or managing specialist design input where required
  • plans for planning applications
  • full building construction drawings and specifications
  • full design services based on RIBA plan of works
  • landscape design services

Cost Adviser (Quantity Surveyor)

They will work with the architect to look at costs as the design progresses and review the builder’s prices to make sure that you get best value for money. They will advise on the type of building contract you should use and, if required, will monitor the works as they progress.
They can help by advising on;

  • outline costs for feasibility/viability assessment
  • cost management and risks involved
  • procuring builders
  • assessing tenders from builders
  • building contracts
  • quantities of materials
  • analysing completed work and assessing payment to contractors

Construction Project Manager

They will oversee the building works on your behalf to make sure that everything is completed smoothly, and any problems identified as quickly as possible. This will be particularly important for larger scale developments.

They can help by advising on;

  • building works, by overseeing quality of the build and how to deal with any issues arising
  • the contractor’s health and safety responsibilities
  • complying with building regulations
  • progress of the works and how to deal with any issues arising
  • managing relationships with the wider community to resolve issues arising from construction operations

Other considerations when engaging advisors

Income Tax

If a company is registered at Companies House then it should automatically be registered with HMRC. If the company is not registered, for example in the case of a Partnership or Sole Trader then you should ensure that they are registered as self employed with HMRC.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

If a company is registered with HMRC to pay VAT then this will be added to their bill. It is unlikely that you will be able to claim this back unless your organisation is also registered to pay VAT with HMRC. Advisers do not need to be registered with HMRC if their turnover is less than the required threshold and therefore do not need to charge VAT on the cost of their services and so may be up to 20% cheaper. It may be possible to reclaim VAT on construction costs. You should seek specialist advice about this.

Sub-contracted Services

Where the service is shown as Sub-Contracted this means that the Adviser will be employing another person to carry out some or all of the work. This has some advantages in that it makes it easier to have a ‘team’ of people operating under the management of one Adviser. However you may pay an extra management fee or commission to the managing Adviser and it may be appropriate to choose an Adviser that can supply the service directly.


We have given the Advisers an opportunity to describe their experience of working with communities and community projects. You should still ask them to provide details of their experience of providing the specific service when inviting them to bid for work.


Advisers that are members of recognised professional bodies are regulated and adhere to codes of conduct. It is recommended that you use Advisers that are members of professional bodies unless they possess specialised qualifications or experience. If you are applying for grant funding to pay Advisers you should ensure that the funding body is comfortable with your proposed advisers. Further details can be found in the Find an Adviser section.


Professional Indemnity Insurance is important in case something goes wrong and in the unlikely event that you need to make a claim against your Adviser. Public Liability ensures that they are covered for any damage to property, to you and members of the public. Employers Liability Insurance is a legal requirement unless the Adviser does not employ any staff. Further details can be found in the Find an Adviser section.

Fee Rates

Some of the advisers have provided suggested fees information. The rates provided by Advisers are indicative only as the rate will depend on the specific advise and the type of project. If you propose to employ a consultant on a daily rate it is important to be clear about what they are expected to do within the time allotted. Sometimes services are priced on the basis of a percentage of the total project cost or a ‘lump sum’ fee is provided. You may then have additional work that was not foreseen in which case, the daily rate may give you an indication of the likely cost.

Larger Projects

For larger or more complicated projects, you may need a team of Advisors each with special knowledge about each part of the process. In this case it may be more important to employ a Technical Co-ordinator that understands how they all work together, to help you choose who is needed and what you need help with. The Technical Co-ordinator may start to work with you quite early in the project to help you find a site, write a business plan and apply for grant funding.

For large projects you might also need a Construction Project Manager who can oversee the work of the builder on your behalf and who oversees the work on site to make sure that the builder is doing the work to a high standard.

For larger projects, or for specialist services you can also find advisers through public sector bodies that have secured firms through a formal tender process and which are able to offer services to charitable bodies.

Commissioning Advisers

The Adviser Panel lists individuals and firms that are interested in working with communities to develop and manage their projects. They have been asked a range of questions to help you to decide if they are suitable for your project, but the Hub is not making any recommendations or implying approval of the Advisers. The list will help you to pick consultants that you can ask for more information by reviewing their experience and qualifications.

You will be expected to show funders that you have achieved value for money to ensure that funds are spent wisely. To do this it is good practice to get prices for the work from more than one supplier. It is recommended that you ask at least three suppliers for quotations. You will need to prepare a brief or specification which sets out what you require, when it is needed by and how the work will be assessed as being satisfactory.

You would prepare this and send it out with a request for prices, setting a deadline for these to come back, after which you would not normally accept any further bids. This will normally be a request for a fixed price or, in the case of a full design service may be for a percentage of the cost of the building works. You should set out how you will decide which bid you will accept. This may be the lowest price or a combination of price and quality. You can consider the quality of the bid by asking questions about their previous experience, how they will carry out the work or you could ask how they would deal with situations or issues that might arise during the project. You can use quality as a higher proportion, but you need to be careful that the highest quality proposal is not beyond what you can afford to pay, or your funders will allow.

You should score bids you receive based on the scoring method you choose.

Once you have chosen your adviser or advisers you will need to issue a contract which is an agreement for the advisers to carry out the work based on the tender and sets out what you expect from them, when you expect it and when you expect to pay them. This protects both parties from misunderstandings and can help resolve disputes. You may need to commission an adviser from the legal panel to help you with this.

The organisation ‘Power to Change’ publishes a useful guide to working with consultants here;

You may find it useful to refer to the Process Chart for guidance about where consultants may need to be involved in your project. You can also refer to the ‘Plan of Work published by the Royal Institute of British Architects which sets out what is needed at each stage of the project and which is used throughout the development industry.

National Panels

There are Framework Panels of consultants or organisations which have been procured by regional or national bodies covering specialist services or for larger projects. Each of these will have a procedure set out which you must follow if you wish to use them; you can find this on the organisation’s website.

Tendered Panels that may be available to community groups include:

Homes England
Efficiency North

General Enquiries

Sharon Graham

[email protected]
01609 767 256
07773 367 378

If you are interested in becoming an Adviser you can find out more information here.