Are you looking to have a new building constructed or do you want to renovate an existing one? Are you wondering if it’s time to hire an engineer?
Hiring an engineer involves more than just searching the Internet for local professionals who have the right experience. You’ll want to find the ideal candidate to oversee an important project.
Here are some things to look for before making your final decision.
1. The Right Background
Not everyone can become an engineer. While there are many factors to consider, you’ll want to start by making sure you’re working with someone who’s properly certified.
If someone wants to be a structural engineer, for example, they’ll need to earn a Bachelor’s of Engineering at an accredited college or university. While studying, they will learn about subjects like material mechanics and engineering mechanics. They may also choose to pursue a Master’s Degree.
Structural engineers will need to pass the six-hour Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) organization to start training. They will also need to have at least three years of education in an engineering program. After that, they can begin working with an accredited employer.
During training, engineers gain the first-hand experience they need as they work toward their licensure. After they earn their license, the training period ends. This is usually about four or five years later.
Structural engineers will need to pass certification exams in order to gain certain certifications, including the Fundamental Engineering Certification (FE,) Principles and Practice of Engineering License (PE,) and Structural Engineering License (SE.) Some states may require additional certification.
The right engineer for you will have certifications they can show you.
2. The Right Insurance
Before hiring an engineer, you’ll want to make sure they’re insured. Most importantly, they should have Professional Liability Insurance.
This type of insurance is designed to cover them for any errors or omissions in the services or advice they offer their clients. It will cover costs such as attorney fees and accounting, as well as any judgments or settlements.
Some engineers may also have General Liability Insurance. This covers their business in case claims that involve bodily injury or property damage results from their services. It could also protect you in the event that an accident happened on your property.
Mistakes in engineering have far-reaching consequences that can be quite costly. They could amount to thousands of dollars even if your project is on a smaller scale. It’s important to make sure your engineer is insured.
Ask for your engineer’s insurance policy number before you hire them. You should also call the insurance company to verify it for assurance and your own peace of mind.
You won’t want to hire an engineer if you haven’t heard anyone speak highly of their services. If someone recommends an engineer to you, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Was the advice they gave with regard to design and construction sound? Were they easy to work with? Were their fees reasonable?
If you can’t get anyone to personally recommend an engineer, look for someone local online. It’s important to find someone in your area, as they will have intimate knowledge of the structures and regulations in your neighborhood.
Read online reviews so you can get an idea of what former clients are saying. Look for patterns that let you know what your experience could be like.
You may, for example, notice that a lot of former clients found the engineer’s assessments were spot-on. Or you may see others saying that the professional was inattentive. It’s important to pay attention to repeated comments that could be a red flag.
You can call up prospective engineers and interview them. Ask for at least three references that you can speak to about a positive personal experience.
Your engineer may have all of the technical knowledge required, but you won’t want to hire someone who doesn’t care about their clients. Watch out for an engineer who is constantly late, disrespectful, or sloppy in appearance. You’ll want to hire someone who gives the impression that they care about their job, their clients, and their reputation.
Make sure that your client listens to your questions and explains industry terms in a way that’s easy to understand. You also shouldn’t feel that they’re being condescending in explaining things in layman’s terms.
Your engineer should be able to build a relationship with clients and peers that involves an appropriate amount of feedback and negotiations. They should be able to collaborate and listen respectfully to criticisms of their ideas, as well as make a good case for their analyses. An experienced engineer will have the confidence to make good decisions throughout the process.
The right engineer will return your calls, emails, and texts in a reasonable amount of time. You’ll know that they respect your position as their client and are happy for your business.
Many engineers have the right technical knowledge to approach a particular problem. Only some, however, can come up with out-of-the-box solutions to issues.
The right engineer will be able to combine critical analysis with planning and creativity. They should be able to use their resources and vision to create workable solutions.
The Right Engineer
The right engineer for your job will have the certifications, vision, and experience to see it through from start to finish. With a little homework and some careful questioning, you’ll find a qualified professional in no time.
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