The consulting engineer provides services which can be divided into five broad categories:
These studies are the investigations which normally precede decisions to invest in specific projects and are to:
- to establish investment policies and sector policies;
- to determine the basic features and the feasibility of individual projects; and
- to define changes in policies, operations and institutions necessary for successful implementation or functioning of projects.
As well as project-orientated studies, comprehensive investigations can be undertaken such as water resource surveys, environmental studies, energy management studies and transportation planning including traffic and transport surveys, traffic engineering and traffic management studies.
Design and Supervision Services for Construction
These normally consist of three phases:
- Predesign engineering such as functional designs, feasibility studies, topographical and other surveys, negotiations regarding services and utilities and soils investigations, are needed to establish feasibility and the design criteria. Detailed target cost and time estimates are usually provided as part of a feasibility report.
- Basic design engineering comprising preliminary design, detailed design and advice on tendering and award of contracts. The consulting engineer produces drawings, specifications and other contract documents, ensures that the client's needs are met in a planned and orderly way and provides general monitoring of construction.
- Special services including resident supervision of construction; special inspection and testing; purchasing; scheduling; cost control and expediting services; assisting in placing equipment in operation and special record drawings and operation manuals.
Specialised Design and Development Services
Consulting engineers can be engaged to research and develop new designs, concepts, processes and inventions. For example new processes for manufacture or treatment of raw materials, for applications of automatic controls, design of manufactured buildings or items of machinery or equipment. In many cases this is done in conjunction with the client's own staff.
A firm of consulting engineers can be commissioned to plan and manage a project in its entirety. This service is of particular value to a client who does not have the necessary resources to manage a project or where the project is particularly large or complex.
The firm will provide design services, procurement, construction management, commissioning and, if required, feasibility analyses and assistance in arranging finance. Project implementation will involve a greatly increased management effort and use multiple contracts for construction, materials and equipment supply. The firm providing project management services prepares and negotiates contracts with all entities involved in the actual construction process and manages the construction effort.
Consulting engineers can be engaged to give professional engineering advice. In addition to these services, they can be engaged for their engineering knowledge, experience and judgement to give a professional opinion on management, valuations, production, inspection, testing and quality control as well as assistance in resolving contractual disputes. They will give engineering evidence to courts, commissions, boards and other judicial bodies.