10 Things to Ask Before Hiring an Engineering Firm
- Wednesday, 17 September 2014 20:24
Shawnee Professional Services is committed to the region and their customers. If your business has a big project on the horizon, here are 10 things your company should ask as it chooses an engineering firm.
These questions have been culled from industry experts:
- What is the firm’s expertise? Is it environmental engineering? Civil engineering? Is the focus on small or large businesses, public or private? Even integrated firms often specialize in a particular area of engineering or in certain types of projects.
- Have any of your projects won awards? Low-impact development projects, outside-the-box designs, prominent government buildings – these are all examples of projects that might have brought a firm recognition. (To ensure the best value for your money, consider a firm that can build you something unique rather than standard.)
- Are any of your buildings LEED-certified? Environmentally friendly designs do more than prevent pollution or excessive energy use. (They are a new way of doing business in the building industry. A firm with expertise in engineering work on structures that have received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification also may help reduce your maintenance costs down the road.)
- What are your hourly rates? You need to strike a balance between saving money and getting the maximum value per dollar. (Keep in mind that you are paying for a trust relationship with the engineering team as well as for the physical structure.)
- Which person on your staff will be my regular contact on the project? Ask to meet the people who will be working on your project. (Get examples of their typical clients. You should be able to develop a comfortable connection with the engineering team focusing on your project.)
- What is your level of commitment to this project? Is the firm willing to commit the necessary time and resources to your specific needs? Nail down a completion date for the project and the materials that will be needed.
- What scope of work do you think is necessary to complete this project? Once you’ve described your project to the firm’s professionals, get their estimate of its scope. The scope includes more than the estimated fee. (It should provide the details of what the team will do and how it will do it. Ask the firm about the likelihood it will be able to stick to that plan.)
- What sort of quality control do you have in place? Good quality control may make a pricier firm worth the extra cost. Also pay attention to the quality of the staff, including its communication skills and education.
- Do you have experience working in this region? Many permitting processes and zoning laws vary by jurisdiction, and some jurisdictions are more cumbersome than others. (The firm should know whether it takes six weeks or three months to get a zoning document approved. That knowledge will help the firm keep you on schedule and within budget.)
- Who are your repeat clients? If the firm frequently serves bigger developers or owners, it is probably more highly respected.