We are all familiar with what engineering is, but what do engineering consultants do? Essentially, engineering consultation is the practice of planning and designing a client’s engineering needs. The consultation portion of the business is critical because the client or builder must achieve a proper balance based on what is practical for the project. What you want and what is achievable may be two different things.
A Primer on Engineering Consultation Services for Utah-based Companies
We focus on Utah-based companies because we are a Utah-based company, but we certainly do work outside of Utah and offer engineering consulting services to any business that needs them. But how do these services generally work?
As with any business partnership, the consultation generally begins with a sit-down conversation. The client and the firm will have an in-depth conversation about the specific needs of the project. Both will require a clear definition and understanding of what needs to be done in order to complete the project and provide the required services. If a client wants their project to stand out, to be a project of distinction and excellent character, it will be critical they form a strong working relationship with the engineers advising them.
Similarly, engineering companies must know and understand the wishes, needs and expectations of their client. They need to have a proper understanding of the goals, design ideas, budget, timeline and quality expectations. These are critical aspects of any large engineering or build project, and the company you partner with needs to have a strong understanding of these aspects.
There are also vital considerations to be made from the client to the engineering consultants. It is important that both adequately explore different opportunities, design ideas, budget constraints and so on. Clients need to ensure they have a full and proper understanding of timelines, details and any special features they want or need.
What are the Specific Functions of Civil or Structural Engineering Consultants
No matter the type of engineering being discussed, there are specific functions engineering consultants must consider as they work with their clients. It is incumbent on them to carefully study project reports. They need to properly understand cost estimates and the financial viability of a project. Civil engineering consultants in Utah and beyond must closely interact with the client and obtain a full understanding of their requirements and needs. They should be able to adequately analyze and identify problems that may arise in the project.
Depending on their findings, engineering consultants should not be afraid to advise their clients on repair, alteration or maintenance requirements of the existing project and plan. And they shouldn’t be afraid to clearly and tactfully explain if some of the client’s requirements fall outside of either budget or timeline. They need to create design process flows and plans based on client requirements that fall within budget and timeline and stick to it.
In the end, engineering consultants play a very important role in making sure their clients achieve their core objectives and do so within the parameters both have set. In the end, it is the firm’s job to meet the client’s expectations and implement the project according to what was agreed upon.
Understanding the Benefits of a Local Engineering Consultant
Using a Utah-based engineering firm for your Utah-based project is important for several reasons. First, local engineers will have an in-depth knowledge of local building codes, which could save you time and money when it comes to future inspections. Local engineers and licensed professionals from a local company provide a level of local competency and legitimacy for your project. Local firms also have access to data that might be useful for the completion of your project.
You must also consider costs. Hiring a local firm generally costs less because they come with a wealth of experience and know-how related to your local area. They won’t have to travel or bring equipment from afar when they operate in your local area. It’s not a bad idea to plan ahead and include a local engineer in your engagement process early on.
We also want to take a moment to talk about the risks associated with not using an engineering consultant. Without a civil or structural engineer guiding your project, you’ll be flying blind. Build mistakes will cost you a lot more down the road than if they are addressed with a consultant before the build even begins. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but hiring an engineering consultant mitigates a substantial amount of risk.
Finally, consider fee structures and rate breakdowns. From a job cost standpoint, a fixed fee is preferable to an hourly rate, but it all depends on the job. At McNeil Engineering, we provide consulting services to fit just about any civil or structural engineering job. We invite you to stop by and learn more about how our top-notch roofing, paving, civil, structural and BIM consultants can ensure your job completes on time, on budget and without a hitch.