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3 Important Considerations for Hiring Engineers on your Construction Project

The consulting engineers that you choose to oversee your development or construction project will greatly impact the outcome of the entire undertaking. The way the project is engineered and designed early on will affect its performance, efficiency, quality and cost late into the project life cycle. Engineering services are nothing like other commodities; price is the least of your considerations. Below are the most important considerations in this regard:

Qualifications-Based Selection

QBS is the outlined selection process which focuses on proficiencies of the engineer to determine project suitability. If QBS is carried out properly, you will end up with a consulting firm whose design can save you as much as ten to fifteen percent of project costs. There are many considerations to be made in QBS, and they fall under the following major categories:

  • Professional Competence – The team should have relevant educational and training knowledge as well as suitable practical experience for the project under consideration
  • Managerial Abilities – They should also have skilled manpower to oversee and implement the project according to its size and type and deal with other stakeholders – contractors, government agents, the client, etc. – competently.
  • Resource Availability – The team should have adequate manpower and financial resources to implement the project to the detail and standards required. The staff should have relevant experience for their tasks.
  • Professional Integrity – Professional integrity is critical for smooth running of the project, and can be verified from the contenders' previous clients' references.

Value Over Price Selection: the Best Engineers Can Pay for Themselves

This principle is based on the premise that when hiring project-critical services, you select the best over the cheapest, in much the same way you would choose the best doctor for a life-critical operation. For critical projects, the cost of engineering services is typically about two percent of the cost of the total project life cycle. This cost may seem high on the outset, but if construction management is done properly by qualified engineers, you will have maximum operational efficiency. The engineer leverages his or her experience and knowledge to optimize efficiency and reduce costs. All they have to do is find a way to save you at least two percent of the project cost, essentially meaning that they save you an equivalent or more of what they charge as fees.

Carefully look into previous construction projects the firm has overseen. Were they ran more efficiently than the average project? How much savings were realized over the project life cycle? These questions can help you assess performance of various consultants before settling on the best.

Engineering Licensing

Engineers must have appropriate licenses from the overseeing bodies in their countries and states of practice. This is because the consultant oversees a project that will be used by the public, and hence, their skill must be properly vetted – you don't want a building or road to collapse once occupied or used for a few months.

In the best case, all engineers involved in the project would be licensed. However, as an alternative, be sure that every engineering supervisor for the civil, structural and electrical groups, and any other consulting engineer groups, is licensed. You can use the National Engineering Register website to confirm registration details of your top contenders.