Infrastructure Design Advisor (retainer), Multiple positions at UNOPS

Background Information – IAIG

UNOPS mission is to help people build better lives and countries to achieve peace and sustainable development. UNOPS brings to this task the values and principles of the United Nations and the innovation, boldness, speed and efficiency of a self-financed institution. UNOPS is a resource for technical expertise and implementation support across peace and security, humanitarian, and development efforts, even in the most challenging operational contexts. With its headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, UNOPS has a global presence in more than 80 countries.

UNOPS activities cover the most vulnerable countries in special and fragile situations, including least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing states, and countries in fragile, conflict and post-conflict situations.

With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, the workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. UNOPS is determined to be the employer-of-choice for its personnel, and offer all personnel an enabling work environment to reach their full potential. An engaged and empowered workforce is critical for the organization to deliver on its mission to help people build better lives and countries achieve peace and sustainable development.

Background information – Internal Audit and Investigations Group (IAIG)

The Internal Audit and Investigations Group (IAIG) provides independent and impartial assurance and advice designed to improve UNOPS operations. Further, IAIG leads the Executive Director’s investigations into alleged fraud, corruption, waste of resources, sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment and other misconduct and violations of UNOPS regulations, rules and administrative instructions. It helps UNOPS bring a systematic approach to evaluating and enhancing the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes. In line with the 2022 annual work plan, IAIG will be conducting an advisory engagement on Design review process efficiency.

Background information – Infrastructure and Project Management Group (IPMG)

UNOPS strategic focus places increased emphasis on national capacity development and sustainable approaches to project management, procurement and infrastructure services. A key objective is to be recognized as an organization that delivers world-class infrastructure and project management, which is both economically and socially sustainable, even in the most challenging environments. To achieve this goal, UNOPS has established the Infrastructure and Project Management Group (IPMG).

To achieve its objectives, IPMG has established three interrelated and interdependent work streams, namely, Strategic Initiatives, Standards, and Engagement Assurance. IPMG is managed overall by the Deputy Director of IPMG. The Engagement Assurance (EA) team ensures an oversight function on the application of standards, guidance and best practices throughout the project cycle. This is undertaken through the following functional teams: Infrastructure Design Review, Organizational Portfolio Management Office (OPMO) reviews, Risk-based Performance Assessments (RBPA) and hosting the secretariat for the Engagement Acceptance Committee.

As per its organizational mandate, the Design Review team ensures delivery of safe and functional infrastructure designs to UNOPS partners, incorporation of minimum engineering codes and standards to protect safety and functionality. The Design Review team ensures that these fundamental internal assurance requirements are consistently applied across all infrastructure designs delivered by the UNOPS global office network.

Functional Responsibilities

UNOPS is seeking a consultant with broad and deep knowledge of infrastructure design management to conduct a review of the efficiency of the UNOPS design review process.

1. Overall objective

The main objective is to make the Design Review process more streamlined and more efficient to enhance overall project implementation performance of UNOPS. IAIG will look at the efficiency of the design review process from start to end and assess its impact on UNOPS operations and partners from a broader risk/cost/benefit perspective. IAIG will identify relevant room for improvement with the aim to balance effective design risk management with the design review process. IAIG aims to make this engagement as inclusive as possible on the UNOPS side.

2. Scope

The scope should cover all elements of the design review process, including, but not limited to the assessment of the following:

  • End-to-end efficiency of the design development and review process coordinated by IPMG as well as peer review;
  • Average duration of design review, including duration of design improvement from the time of first submission to the certification of the design, while considering the design risk level, type of infrastructure, source of design (in-house, outsourced including related liabilities, or from partners), source of review, estimated value of works, language of design submitted);
  • Impact of the Design Review process on the end-to-end project implementation, including assessing whether the process allows for a timely delivery of project outputs, and whether appropriate time and costs are considered in the project schedule and budget;
  • Identification of delays in the review process and their respective root causes;
  • Link between the increase in cost of the process and the increase in quality of infrastructure and/or reduction of risks, as well as liabilities associated with failed infrastructure (historical write-offs) and current provisions for write-offs;
  • Impact of available project resources to develop and effectively manage the design development process;
  • Impact of the quality and detailing of the design package on the total time and cost of design review;
  • Impact of the design risk on the overall process efficiency;
  • Relevance of the use of independent third parties in the design review process;
  • Use of existing manuals and technical guidance and their impact on the efficiency of the process, including the available guidance for estimating costs and time of design review during the engagement acceptance process;
  • Use and accuracy of the design review platform for data management;
  • Verification of all findings on an agreed sample of design review submissions by the IPMG and field offices;
  • Responsibility, scope and resourcing of the Design Review team;
  • Comparison with industry best practice (both private sector and UN agencies, where the efficiency has been proven);
  • Adequacy of Design Review performance and efficiency metrics versus organizational objectives;
  • Any existing or past review on UNOPS design (including Design Management Steering Committee’s assessment and others);
  • Effectiveness of the escalation mechanism and problem-solving approach;
  • Supplier performance assessments conducted by IPMG;
  • Considerations by IPMG of the field offices’ satisfaction level and feedback from different channels and mechanisms; and
  • Learning approach to mistakes made by the field or the Design Review team and review how such an analysis and the implementation is done in UNOPS.

3. Approach

Information about the processes, policies and systems will be made available to the incumbent through key personnel in UNOPS HQ located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Current documents available covering design review include UNOPS Operational Instruction, Design Planning Manuals, Design Review Guidance, Design Review Checklists, Design Improvement Action Plan developed by the Design Management Steering Committee. The incumbent is expected to send through a requested list of documentation they might need in addition to the above. IAIG, in consultation with IPMG/field offices, will make this information available.

The engagement will be conducted in Copenhagen, Denmark. Interviews with UNOPS field locations will be conducted remotely. For efficiency purposes, the consultant is expected to use their network to conduct a field review on top of the engagement conducted in HQ. IAIG in consultation with the regions, will provide the consultant with at least one field office per region to review on a sample basis.

4. Impact of results

The assignment should be finalized (including reporting) within a three months’ period from the start of the field work. A final report should be prepared in English and provide a minimum but not limited to:

  • Key findings from the points listed in the scope of work.
  • A detailed assessment of the efficiency of the UNOPS design review process.
  • Relevant recommendations for the improvement of the key findings identified.

The incumbent will carry out this engagement on behalf of UNOPS IAIG and will report exclusively to IAIG Director or any UNOPS personnel designated by him.


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.

Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.

Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.

Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).

Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.

Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.

Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.

Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • An Advanced University degree (Master’s or equivalent) in Civil Engineering or relevant field is required.
  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering or relevant field with two additional years of relevant experience may be accepted in lieu of a Master’s degree.
  • Professional certification/licensure in civil engineering (CEng, PE, P.Eng, or equivalent) is considered an asset.


  • The candidate must have a minimum of 7 years of specialized experience in infrastructure design management (either design development or design review); and with an overall in-depth expertise in the field.
  • The candidate must have a proven track record of practical and operational experience in countries in which UNOPS operates (stringent and/or lack of legal regulations, limited access to equipment and technology, limited access to materials, hard to reach areas, etc…)

Language requirements:

  • Full working knowledge of English.
  • Knowledge of another official UN language is an asset.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: ICA Contract level: I-ICA 3 Contract duration: Short term; Maximum of 100 days

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link:

More information on retainer contracts:

  • A retainer ICA does not accord any exclusivity to the Individual Contractor with respect to the Services listed in the job description. UNOPS shall have no limitation on its right to obtain Services of the same kind from any other source at any time.
  • A retainer Individual Contractor Agreement (ICA) is issued for a period of time during which the services of the individual contractor may be required intermittently.
  • A retainer ICA will specify a unit price (e.g. amount per day actually worked). For budgetary purposes, a monetary limit will be specified at the time the ICA is awarded and issued.
  • UNOPS shall have no obligation to obtain any minimum quantity of Services from the Individual Contractor during the duration of the retainer ICA.
  • Payment will be made only after completion of work (if any) or reaching agreed milestones.
  • UNOPS Individual Contractors must comply with the standards of conduct required of a UN civil servant, when carrying out their official UNOPS responsibilities and also all other times. This includes the standards of conduct set forth in the UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin of 9 October 2003 entitled “Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse” (ST/SGB/2003/13) and the UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin of 18 June 2002 entitled “Regulations Governing the Status, Basic Rights and Duties of Officials other than Secretariat Officials, and Experts on Mission” (ST/SGB/2002/9) as they may be amended from time to time.
  • UNOPS Individual Contractors must comply with all applicable UNOPS policies and instructions. This includes the obligation to declare any outside activity that could result in an actual or perceived conflict with the interests of the UN; as well as to refrain from using information gained through the UNOPS Individual Contractor Agreement contract for the Individual Contractor’s own purposes or to help a third party (unless the information is already in the public domain), in particular but not only in relation to procurement of works, goods and services.
  • UNOPS Individual Contractors must abide by UN safety and security policies, instructions, directives, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.
  • The standard terms and conditions of the UNOPS ICA as of the present date can be found at
  • Given the nature of this position, particular attention should be given to section 11 on Confidentiality.

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time.
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • UNOPS embraces diversity and it is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all its employees and encourages qualified candidates to apply irrespective of race, colour, national origin, ethnic or social background, genetic information, gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, religion or belief, or disability.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization – UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.
  • All UNOPS personnel are responsible for performing their duties in accordance with the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNOPS Policies and Instructions, as well as other relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, all personnel must demonstrate an understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a manner consistent with UN core values and the UN Common Agenda.
  • It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

How to apply

Join Now

Search Jobs By Country

List of Countries

July 2024