Selecting a Consulting Engineer

The total cost effectiveness of a project is dependent upon the skills, resources and experience of the consulting engineer. It is therefore important to adopt a selection procedure which identifies these qualities. At the same time the client has the opportunity to assure himself that his relationship with the consultant can be based on mutual confidence.

The selection of a consulting engineer should not be based on competitive fee bidding. This is because, if cost is a significant consideration in the selection procedure, the client is likely to select a consulting engineer with insufficient experience or who provides inadequate engineering resources which can lead to cost overruns, high construction costs as well as high maintenance and operational costs. Successful consulting engineering services depend on adequate time being spent by suitably qualified personnel and therefore on fair and adequate remuneration.

Manufacturers and contractors limit the extent of their obligations and although they give guarantees of quality and performance to protect the purchaser and owner, it must be assumed that each party is acting in his own interest. There is no conflict of interest, however, between the owner and his consulting engineer who must work in the legitimate interests of his client at all times. The owner can rely, therefore, on the skill and integrity of the consulting engineer to produce the best solution.