What engineering consultants do

The engineering consultant

Engineering consultancy services embrace more than purely technical advice and design. A technical proposal is the basis of each project to which a whole array of services are to be added. These services can be summarised in 7 points. He/she :
  • advises on procurement and funding of projects
  • assumes the tasks of both project and construction management;
  • studies the feasibility of projects;
  • conceives the design;
  • executes the design in detail;
  • procures contractors and suppliers;
  • administers contracts and supervises construction and installation.
Engineering consultancy services are market or client driven. Clients increasingly require the full range of project related services from the consultancies, e.g. economic, legal, accountancy, financial and other ad hoc services. However, one should bear in mind that a well-engineered project can be improved by a sophisticated legal and financial framework, but clever financing can never make a badly designed project feasible.

Engineering consultancy and related services are by nature intellectual services and therefore intangible. That is why engineering consultants are not seen in the street scene whereas everyone will know the name of e.g. road maintenance companies or contractors who materialise the thinking behind a project.

Engineering services apply to:
  • the construction of all kinds of buildings in their totality or in their principal functions;
  • infrastructure works (ports, airports, roads, railroads, tunnels, car parks, etc.);
  • the development and maintenance of public utilities (water, energy, telecommunications, etc.);
  • industrial plant (storage of goods and materials, process research and development, etc.);
  • environment protection (treatment of waste, pollution control, etc.);
  • agriculture (irrigation, soil protection, etc.);
  • exploitation of natural resources (mining, oil and gas winning, etc.);
  • computer services (data processing, hardware consultancy, etc.);
  • management and organisation (human resources, technology, etc.);
  • planning (urban, transport, etc.).

The sector's economic importance and its impact on the construction sector

The total construction engineering consultancy employment in the countries belonging to the EFCA membership can be estimated at around one million highly qualified jobs.

For the same group of countries, the basic engineering investments are estimated at € 1,530 billion, whereas the total production of professional engineering consultancy services are considered to amount to around € 70 billion, i.e. € 158 per inhabitant. Of these € 70 billion, exports represent more or less € 20 billion, i.e. approximately 28%.

The average size of the engineering consultancies  varies considerably from one country to another, but is generally small: as an example, in Denmark, France and Sweden most of the enterprises (more than 90%) have less than 10 employees.

The distribution of turnover by market segments also varies considerably between the countries, although buildings, manufacturing, energy and environment are generally found amongst the most important market segments.

Showcase of projects by EFCA member organisations : available here