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Engineers have to cut services to be competitive — Quebec poll

Concerned about clients awarding contracts to consulting engineers based on which firm offers the lowest fee, the Q...


Concerned about clients awarding contracts to consulting engineers based on which firm offers the lowest fee, the Quebec professional engineering association, l’Ordre des Ingenieurs du Quebec (OIQ) recently commissioned an opinion survey.
The survey involved 450 interviews with both consulting engineers and clients. Results were reported in the April 2006 issue of the association’s magazine PLAN.
Gaetan Samson, ing., the new president of OIQ, reported in the magazine that the survey confirmed the association’s concerns that the impact of fee competition was reducing the quality of the services that consultants can offer. Samson wrote:
“Virtually all engineers from the consulting engineering firms polled stated that when price is a selection factor, to have the lowest possible price in order to win a contract, they must substantially reduce the services they offer their clients. The report strongly suggests that such reductions of professional services may affect the public interest.
“What especially concerns the OIQ is that the consulting engineers have to reduce the time and the human and material resources they devote to the execution of such projects, with a potential impact on the public interest, i.e. the overall value of the work done. The engineers also admit that the efforts used to obtain contracts where price is a selection factor lead them to reduce their investments in R&D , training and the purchase of equipment and software.”
Apparently the project developers (clients) interviewed indicate that they are also aware that reduced fees mean that engineers reduce the amount of time they devote to projects. They find that as a result the size of the consultant teams and their expertise can be inadequate for the project.


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