In earlier chapters, we have talked about the client as if we were referring to a distinct person or actor. This may be the case in small projects, but in larger projects the client is more usually an assemblage of parties, such as a project team, a steering committee, a purchase department, a real estate department, work groups and external advisers. All these groups play a role, or want to play a role, in the project and it is not always easy to align their actions and interests. To keep the briefing process efficient, the roles and responsibilities of the different parties should be clearly defined. Who is responsible for the actual writing of the brief? Who is consulted and asked to provide input and ideas? Who reviews and signs off the formal briefing documents? And, most importantly, who decides what to do in the case of conflicting demands or demands that do not (or no longer) fit the budget? By setting up an organizational structure for this, the briefing process becomes like a project in itself, with the brief as its main deliverable. It makes the process somewhat more formal, but it can help to avoid frustrations, resource conflicts and power play among the various stakeholders. Typically, the organizational structure of a briefing project has three levels: a steering committee (strategic level), a briefing team (tactical level) and work groups (operational level). The steering committee will have formal responsibility for the entire project, from the briefing and design, to construction and completion. It is their task to appoint a briefing team, who in turn will be responsible for the writing of the brief and the coordination of briefing activities (e.g. surveys, occupancy studies). Work groups can be used to support the briefing team by providing input on specific topics (e.g. IT, security, catering, sustainability). End users are in most projects only indirectly represented in the project structure. Their involvement usually takes the form of interviews, workshops and surveys. A more formal representation in the project organization can take place via focus groups. In that case, a selection of users is asked to provide input and feedback concerning the brief and often also the design. In northern European countries, such as the Netherlands and Norway, users may also have a formal representation in the project via the involvement of the works council or trade unions. External client advisers are usually brought in to give advice on specific topics or to manage the briefing process if such expertise or capacity is lacking within the client organization. The roles and responsibilities of these actors will be discussed in more detail on the following pages. 121