If you've got a major construction project ahead and you're starting with a clean sheet of white paper, the first thing you need to do is surround yourself with relevant experts. This can be a confusing proposition as it's difficult to know what type of engineer, for example, you should choose based on your criteria. You do need to think carefully at this stage of proceedings, as an incorrect decision could end up costing you down the line. What's at stake here and what do you need to consider before you make your selection?
Sizing Them up
Engineering firms come in all shapes and sizes and some of them are not necessarily ideal for your type of project. To help determine which company will fit the bill, you will need to clearly outline the complexity of your project, together with its scale and the all-important budget.
Why Teamwork Is Crucial
You will likely be best choosing an engineering firm that has its own team within, rather than just somebody who is independent. Certainly, the independent agent can reach out to others if needed, but it is less likely to be streamlined and more likely to add costs to the bottom line. Furthermore, in an established team environment your particular engineer is more likely to be available to you, even though the company may have several projects on the books.
The Importance of Specificity
A knowledgeable and experienced team of engineers is likely to have amassed the right amount of knowledge to be able to foresee any issues with your particular contract. They will be able to come up with a very specific and relevant engineered solution, rather than something which is generalised.
This is important as every project requires a large number of components from columns to slabs, from joists to beams and all the supporting hardware. These need to be drawn up and subsequently ordered to very precise specifications and this process takes time. Be wary of any attempt to cut corners or costs by a prospect engineering firm, as this may mean a less specific approach. Certain structural elements may be overstated and have load bearings that are greater than needed, simply because it is easier to do so from their perspective. Certainly, there is no risk of design failure by going beyond what is necessary, but it's likely to cost more in terms of materials at the other end.
Checking the Fine Print
Finally, make sure that the firm you choose has a good reputation in the marketplace and is very transparent when it comes to detailed testimonials. They should also carry the highest level of professional indemnity insurance as a matter of course.
Taking Your Time
It's worth taking the extra time to get this right, as the project is going to be detailed and complex enough. Have a chat with each contractor carefully as you make your decision.