The late appointment of the ecologist does not necessarily impinge on achieving the credit, provided they would have had no advice for the early site layout decisions. The ecologist needs to provide an explanation detailing this, that they would have had no advice if they were appointed during the Preparation and Brief stage.
This does not set a precedent. The early appointment of an ecologist has important benefits and must be followed as per the ‘Early stage involvement from the SQE’ Compliance Note within the technical manual. This KBCN is specific to situations where their late appointment has not had a bearing on the advice they could have provided.