Property Development: Glossary to All the Key Players | Content Hub

Property Development: Glossary to All the Key Players

October 2017
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Property Development: Glossary to All the Key Players

Every property development project involves a host of people, from the developers who are the driving force behind the project to the community members who may be directly affected by any construction.

Key players in property development shape the projects, with their ability to drive the outcome. Some of the key players you’ll want to include on your project team are those who can provide insight and expertise into every aspect of property development and also offer valuable resources.

But they also include people who affect the project outcome – whether it is the couple buying your property off the plan or the council members who are stalling the approval of your development application.

Below, we’ve listed some of the key players and their role who are instrumental on every property development project.


Architects are trained and licensed to plan and design buildings and often supervise the construction phase if required.

While many development companies try to save money by using draftsmen, the benefits of appointing an astute architect are numerous - in addition to architectural services they can also advise you on the feasibility and profitability of your project, making them valuable assets on any development team.

An astute architect can contribute to the development project in in many aspects, potentially helping to:

  • Locate a site
  • Design and plan the project
  • Assist with the town planning process
  • Manage the budget
  • Choose and manage the construction and project team
  • Coordinate with necessary consultants (such as structural and civil engineers)
  • Supervise construction

Of course, not all architects offer the full suite of services.

Buyers and Buyer’s Advocates

Buyers are those who are purchasing a property. They typically work through real estate agents, although engaging buyer’s advocates are also becoming increasingly popular.

Buyer’s advocates are the middlemen who consider a buyer’s budget and needs and helps them buy a suitable property at the right price, with a good contract to boot. They’re there to take away the stress associated with purchasing and provide expertise and insight into an often-complicated market.


We mentioned earlier that the architects often coordinate with other consultants on your projects, including civil and structural engineers.

Where any big infrastructure projects are in development engineers are required to oversee the construction and guarantee the integrity and safety of the overall development.

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers will oversee ground works and other major infrastructure projects. They’re particularly important if you’re building on contaminated land or where your project could have a significant environmental impact.

You’ll also need a civil engineer if you’re likely to be engaging in complex construction processes, such as drainage, water supply or earthworks.

Structural Engineers

Structural engineers are a godsend on your design team, working to meet your construction challenges with innovative solutions.

They work alongside your architect and quantity surveyor to ensure the structure of your building legal meets safety requirements.


You can’t build a project without a financier (unless you hold substantial wealth, that is!). Financiers can include banks or other private financial lenders, such as Michael Corcoran’s Solido Capital.

Non-bank lenders tend to provide alternative financial mechanisms that are a welcome relief as the traditional banks become pickier about funding development projects.

Property Developers and Project Managers

We’ve grouped these two roles together, as property developers commonly also act as project managers. Property developers manage the project from start to finish, right from planning through to execution and sale.

Property developers may hire a project manager for larger projects that are likely to take more time and cost more money. This is more commonly the case when a property developer has several projects on the go.

Solicitors and Conveyancers

A solicitor is always a key player in any development project, following the project through from site acquisition through to the final contracts of sale.

A solicitor provides legal advice and assistance and undertakes any work related to conveyancing, lease holding and property development law. This could include sorting out the title deeds to your property and ensuring any contract is drafted correctly and is legally accurate.


Surveyors work on a diverse variety of projects from land subdivision to major construction. They are experts in determining land size and measurement and can often be the most important consultants on your team. There are several types of surveyors, all with different expertise, so it’s common to have more than one surveyor on the books.

Valuation Surveyor

Your valuation surveyor is your first port of call for advice regarding the value and profitability of your project. They can help you find development opportunities and guidance on important aspects from rental returns to setting sale prices.

Building Surveyor

Building surveyors can provide professional advice on many aspects of your properties and construction. They are responsible for making sure that buildings are safe, energy efficient and livable. They interact with other professionals such as engineers, architects and builders to ensure that buildings are designed and constructed to comply with building regulations. During construction, they tend to work on-site, while afterwards, they often oversee your existing properties.

Quantity Surveyor

Quantity surveyors are essentially your accountants. They track the costs of your project, and manage everything from the purchase strategy and building contract tender to the costs of your architect’s plans.

Town Planners

Town planners bring a deep knowledge of environmental, sustainability, social welfare, heritage and urban development requirements in addition to  insights on how to fast-track council approval.

Getting town planners involved early in the process can prevent a lot of headaches later down the road.

Among their services, town planners can:

  • Provide feedback on designs based on their compliance with state and local regulations.
  • Prepare your development application and lodge all necessary documentation.
  • Manage all correspondence with the council and other key stakeholders.
  • Represent you at any mediation meetings, consulting with objectors and finding appropriate solutions.
  • Handle your case as an expert witness in an appeals court.

Vendors and Vendors Advocates

Vendors are those with property to sell and are commonly represented by real estate agents or vendor’s advocates.

These go-betweens typically charge a commission to ensure your property is sold at a good price. Vendors’ advocates do what they can to secure you a top-performing agent, along with assisting negotiations and guiding you on how to present your property for the best price.

Other key stakeholders

Of course, your project development team involves many more key players than the ones we’ve listed above, from the objectors in the community to the builders working on-site.

Here are some of the other stakeholders you may be involved with during your project’s lifetime:

  • Local authorities
  • Council members
  • Construction teams
  • Neighbours
  • Community groups

The speediest and most successful development projects are those that consider all key players, hiring the best team and consulting all relevant parties to ensure the development plans are mutually beneficial to both the community and the property developer.

For more information about property development, check out our other resources on the Development Ready blog today

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