Tips on Choosing the Right Engineering Services Consultant for Your Project

September 23, 2015

An engineering services consultant is typically a recognized, licensed group of experienced engineering professionals offering professional engineering services to the public and private sectors. The best choice is a firm that understands the client’s needs and objectives. Because not every engineering services consultant offers all types of services, the client must determine what services they need and which consultant provides them at an equitable cost.

Types of Services

To provide the client essential project value, the consulting firm must provide critical project elements, continuity, and sufficient means of implementation.

  • Advisory Services include feasibility studies, accident/litigation investigations, environmental assessments, and value engineering;
  • Pre-design Services include developing project scope, preliminary designs and schedules and alternative design solutions;
  • Design Services upon project scope acceptance include working drawings, specifications, schedules, and cost estimates;
  • Administrative Services upon design approval include contract preparation, review of drawings and documents, and quality assurance;
  • Site Review Services include site/project meetings, obtaining permits and certifications;
  • Special Investigations Services include surveys, change orders, mechanical and structural drawings and schedules, utilities coordination, bonding

Cost /Fees

Once the extent of services is decided, a client/consultant agreement with milestones and fee schedules and deliverables can be signed and work begun. Consultant fees should be based on the value of services received, not solely on the consultant’s cost to provide those services. When the project scope and schedule are defined sufficiently that project costs can effectively be estimated, agreed project fees can be fixed or lump sum.

Hourly rates charged by the consultant must be tracked and logged and billed at the agreed rate. Time spent on travel, consultant/client project meetings, production, technical, and clerical services (correspondence, documents, and specifications) are billed.

Common Mistakes

Common mistakes are made when selecting an engineering services consultant. Some of them include:

  • 1. Making a cost-based decision rather than one based on the necessary scope of work and needed deliverables, or the firm’s experience and expertise;
  • 2. Assuming a large (global) consulting group is better equipped with resources and expertise to accommodate the client’s needs;
  • 3. Not fully understanding the differences and varying degrees of experience, knowledge, and expertise among different engineering areas/specialties within a particular firm;
  • 4. Not being fully informed about overall project/site conditions and prior history when contracting project engineering services;
  • 5. Selecting an engineering consultant firm without fully understanding the extent of services needed;
  • 6. Selecting an engineering consultant firm that is not entirely familiar with legal and regulatory rules, permits, environmental requirements, etc. necessary to cost-effectively design and build the project, or
  • 7. Selecting an engineering consultant firm that has difficulty working as a team internally as well as coordinating and integrating input information to aid in project development.

Consultant services can be a very costly venture when awareness and project planning are not effectively done prior to hiring the engineering consultant services firm.

Connor Pincus Group. Consulting Engineers.

Address: 1196 Toorak Road, CAMBERWELL, VIC 3124

Phone: (03) 9835 5000
Fax: (03) 9835 5050

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