In this, the second part of “Choosing a good consultant” Commercial Archaeology’s Helen Martin-Bacon continues to highlight things that a developer should consider before searching for a Historic Environment Consultant.
Qualities you should expect – part two
The article is of course biased towards what I believe on a personal and professional level makes a good Historic Environment consultant.
However, there may be points raised below which resonate with consultancy in other disciplines. I would be interested to hear any views on whether this is the case.
Here are an additional eight pointers that complement the five in part one of this article. The list is, of course, not exhaustive and there are other abilities which make for a good Historic Environment consultant.
- At all times works in accordance with best practice and in accordance with all relevant professional standards and guidelines
- Keeps a client regularly updated on all historic environment elements of the project and never forces a client to request or chase information
- Is transparent and honest with the client about issues arising from the presence of below-ground or above-ground remains within a development area and does not downplay the repercussions for the client in the event of significant archaeological remains being present i.e. tells a client what they need to know not just what they want to hear
- Ideally has done their ‘time in the trenches’ and understands the operational realities of active archaeological investigation, especially when being carried out in conjunction with construction activity
- Has up to date knowledge of heritage legislation and of the latest archaeological technologies
- Has sound knowledge and experience of good archaeological contractors and of those to be avoided
- Is able to effectively balance responsibility for the historic environment with the interests of the client
- Is able to deal calmly and rationally with a bewildered, distressed or just downright furious client who has just been informed that their development site contains extensive, complex and potentially internationally significant archaeological remains.