Consulting engineers are one of those specialists that may not have high visibility, but are a valuable – and often essential – “hired guns” that can save you time, money, and headaches on critical projects.
What is a consulting engineer? He or she is an engineering specialist hired to fulfill a specific function on a design or construction project who can fill any number of shoes, including acting as an advisor, project manager, design supervisor, or just all-round engineering trouble-shooter.
Firms typically choose to work with consulting engineers for one or more of several reasons: they don’t have the time in-house to come up with a solution for a particular problem; they don’t have the employees to do it; or they don’t have the expertise. A significant number of companies have experienced one or more of these situations and find the best solution is to hire the short-term technical expertise of a consulting engineer.
An added benefit to hiring an outside consultant is their ability to provide objective, third-party advice and insight. They can deal directly with client owners and management to provide a crucial outside perspective that is free of in-house politics and controversy, often supplying a more efficient or effective engineering solution that an employee might not be comfortable recommending.
There is, of course, a cost associated with hiring a consulting engineer, but that cost can often be offset by a better design and cost-saving suggestions that can save money in the long run and even make the difference in winning or losing a competitive bid. In addition to time and money savings, hiring a consulting engineer can also minimize risk because of their experience and expertise.
The next time you’ve got a project coming up that may present some challenges to in-house staff, consider hiring a consulting engineer. Chances are, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by all the advantages and benefits a consulting engineer can bring to a project.