Save time and money with a professional plan by a professional engineer

Engineering and environmental services are easy to gloss over at the onset of a project.

It's not like concrete or construction workers – who take on pieces of a project for roads and bridges that you wouldn't dream of doing without. In the end, however, engineering services are the piece that keeps your project on time – and more importantly, on budget.

Consider this: Hiring an engineer early in the planning process is not an expense so much as it is an investment. The engineer develops a detailed plan of how your project will run so that your contractor has the best opportunity to match your expectations.

Most large municipal projects require engineering services before they can begin construction. For those that don't – often smaller, maintenance-based projects – consulting with an engineer is still a wise step.

Engineers bring surveying equipment, software, project experience and know-how to the table. You might be charged for four hours of their time, but they pour decades of expertise into your plans. The cost of an engineer's design fee is a small portion of a project's overall construction price tag. If using an engineer saves even 10% over the course of your project, you come out ahead of where you would have been without taking that extra step.

Expect to see savings from using an engineer as soon as you receive contractor bids. Bringing a finished engineering plan to the table will lower the contractor's fee, because they won't need to factor in design time.

Additionally, when the contractor can see the full scope of the project from the beginning, a few things happen differently:

  • Each bidding contractor looks at the same information, so bids are financially comparable. Without a plan, contractors might have a different interpretation of what needs to be accomplished. The cheapest bid might not reflect the lowest price, but a project that isn't finished in the way you envision.

  • The project's timetable is clearly expressed and understood. This plan helps contractors know upfront exactly what will be required of them so they can be realistic with their forecasting.

  • The final vision is agreed upon by all parties. If ever a project wasn't done to satisfaction, you would only need to point to the engineer's plans to establish the standard of work you expected. Without a plan, the contractor's standard might not be the same as yours.

It's not unusual for some factors, such as environmental concerns, tying into a water main or sidewalk closures, to be overlooked when engineering isn't used. Every time that happens, the project is halted until a solution is found and permits are obtained.

Sometimes, a project truly doesn't need engineering services because of its size or scope. If that's the case, a quality engineer will communicate that and point you in the right direction to manage the project alone.

There's nothing to lose by starting each project with the assistance of an engineer. It's a step that will save you time, money and plenty of headaches down the road.

At Fehr Graham, our team of engineers, certified technicians and landscape architects are committed to helping businesses, municipalities and private parties with projects. Our professionals can help your municipality or business thrive. If you have questions about a project and how you might benefit from working with an engineer, we can help. Our consultants are eager to hear from you.

To learn more about how Fehr Graham can help you bring value to your projects, contact us or give us a call at 563.927.2060.

”Portrait Ryan Wicks is a Professional Engineer who helps municipalities solve tough challenges to improve aging infrastructure. He doesn’t settle for “good,” and always goes for “great.” As one of the firm’s owners, Ryan is passionate about looking toward the future. Ryan focuses on collaborating with clients and training the next generation of engineers. He does all this while providing administrative, technical, quality and safety support on his projects. He has a tremendous impact on improving the quality of life in the communities where our clients live and work, which earned him the Inspiring Iowan Award in 2018 for his dedication to Manchester’s Whitewater Park. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..