Questions to Ask When Hiring a Consulting Engineer
If you're leading a large construction project, you may need to hire a consulting engineer. This professional lends independent expertise to your project, and they help with multiple different aspects of the work. When deciding which consulting engineer to choose, here are some questions you may want to ask.
What Is Your Primary Experience?
Consulting engineers work in a variety of different fields. Some work with bridges, others work with roads, and still others work with buildings or countless other developments. In other cases, you may want an engineer with a more arcane specialty such as acoustical engineering or fire safety.
Engineers usually get trained in most of those areas, but to ensure you are hiring the best professional for your needs, you should look for someone who has direct experience with your type of project.
Do You Have a Portfolio?
Ideally, you should also ask prospective candidates to see their portfolio. This is especially important with structural engineers, and their portfolios tend to be relatively easy to assess. If the buildings look great, you know they can handle the work.
However, you should still ask to see portfolios of engineers that work in other areas. They should also have a visual record of their work that you can look through. If they work on improving buildings (for example, by redoing the acoustics in a building), they should have numbers that compare the performance of the building before and after their work.
Can You Take a Leadership Role?
In some cases, you may want a consulting engineer to play a small but dedicated and important role. For instance, you may want them to look over just a single aspect of your project and give you advice on which direction to take that. However, in other cases, you may want a consultant who has the ability to take a leadership role. You may want your consulting engineer to coordinate and help drive the whole project forward.
Ultimately, you need to identify what you want. Then, make sure the consultant you are hiring can thrive in that capacity.
Do You Have a Technologist on Staff?
In many cases, when you hire a consulting engineer they work on their own, but in other cases, they are part of a larger company of professionals. In the latter case, you may want to choose a company that has a technologist on staff. A technologists is an expert in technology who can advise you on which technologies are the best to integrate into your project.