If you are reading this it is because you care enough about your project and the quality of your structural engineer that you are dedicating your time to finding the greatest return for your hard earned dollar. Your project and wallet will appreciate this choice.
A good choice is defined by the value, you the client, put in the product of your structural engineer. Your values are typically one, or several, of the following choices:
Our advice is ESTABLISH YOUR AREA OF VALUE.
Is schedule delay a big risk? Is price the only way your project will move forward? Is life safety and liability a concern? Do you need a balance of all three?
Examples of Unbalanced Structural Engineering Operations would be:
- High quality plans, delivered weeks after they are needed, as Winter sets in.
- Plans with many errors, leading to a variety of construction coordination problems
- An overly complex structural set of plans for a simple box garage
- An engineer who can't answer the phone, or returns your calls days later
In the name of earning your business, many engineers will quickly claim they can meet all three areas of quality, price and schedule. Ask these questions to establish their true abilities:
QUALITY: Inform your proposing engineer that you are considering submitting their calculations to a third party for review of code compliance at the time of permit submittal. In addition, ask them to provide you with some samples of their plan work so you can review them with your contractor. Your contractor will be a great resource as he will immediately identify quality issues.
TIME: Hesitancy or unwillingness to commit to a deadline is a flag for someone who struggles with scheduling. Did they mention schedule in their proposal? Did they ask about your deadlines? Unwillingness to acknowledge schedule indicates that they would rather not have one.
PRICE: If their proposal did not include an hourly breakdown for major parts of your job, ask them to do so. Then ask them how they calculated those hours (was the item simple? complex?) Ask them to provide a performance guarantee that they can do the job for a fixed price. Identify the mindset of "we will make that up later" by walking them through your project and requiring a fixed, or not to exceed price estimate.
How Much Are Your Services? What is your schedule?
Do yourself a Favor and Compare Apples to Apples....