Top 10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Engineering Consulting Firms

February 24, 2024 | < 1 min read

Many companies turn to an external engineering firm when they require additional capacity, technical assistance or need to accelerate a project.

When evaluating prospective engineering partners, it’s important to find a firm with the technical know-how and customer service that best matches your expectations and needs. Asking the right questions can help you make a fair comparison and ultimately find the best match.

As one of North America’s premier providers of engineering services, Industrial Inspection & Analysis (IIA) offers these Top 10 Questions to ask when evaluating engineering consulting firms.

  1. What kind of engineering services do you provide?

    Many disciplines exist within the field of engineering. You can position your project for success by ensuring that your engineering provider has the experience and expertise to do the job right the first time.

    As a full-service provider with multidisciplinary expertise, IIA offers a wide array of engineering services:

  2. What kind of education and experience do your engineers have?

    It is critical that your project be performed by trained and qualified professionals. Ask potential providers about their staff’s qualifications to complete your job. The Professional Engineer license (PE in the United States and P.Eng. in Canada) represents the field’s highest standard and offers some degree of quality assurance.

    In addition to professional credentials, ask about the experience level of the personnel who will be working on your project. Working with a seasoned professional can help streamline the process and may save you time and money.

    At IIA, our team includes experienced and licensed engineering professionals with expertise ranging from structural and mechanical engineering to lift planning and more. In addition, our team has in-depth knowledge of the codes and regulations that apply to your project and experience and credibility with regulators.

  3. Has your firm successfully worked on similar projects?

    While every project is unique, you will benefit from working with a provider that has successfully worked on similar projects in the past. Previous relevant experience can help streamline the time it takes to complete your project. At IIA, we bring decades of diverse engineering experience to every job.

  4. What can I expect in terms of communication when working with your firm?

    When you partner with a third party to complete engineering work, there’s a good chance you will have questions and want project updates along the way. Ask potential engineering providers about their approach to communication and project management, including frequency of status updates and willingness to answer questions throughout the process. Make your expectations clear before signing on as a client.

    At IIA, we are committed to communicating with our customers frequently and transparently on every project. We are always available to answer questions in any phase of the project, including follow-up questions after completion.

  5. How do you handle mid-project course corrections, as well as scope creep?

    If you expect that your project may need to go in a different direction or will grow in scale, share this information with potential providers. Have a conversation about their capacity and flexibility to handle changes on short notice. Knowing more about their work process and flexibility will help you determine if the consultant is a good fit for your project. IIA is committed to customer satisfaction, and we will make adjustments as needed to ensure that your expectations are met.

  6. How do you explain and report findings to your clients?

    While technical expertise is critical, it is not the only factor worthy of consideration. It’s also important to ask about the communication and support you will receive from a provider to help you understand their final report and move your project forward. IIA provides comprehensive and easy-to-read reports, and we take the time to explain our data and solutions to ensure client understanding. We are always available to address customer questions or concerns. At IIA, we aren’t satisfied until you are.

  7. What sets your firm apart from its competitors?

    A good consultant that has been around for a while knows exactly who they are and what they do best. Asking potential providers to sum up what sets them apart from their competitors can help you decide if that firm is a good match for you in terms of technical expertise, customer service philosophy and other factors.

    IIA is on a mission to make the world safer. With decades of engineering experience and a commitment to safety, quality and customer service, IIA is a partner you can trust.

  8. Can you provide examples of past clients you’ve worked with?

    To get a better feel for potential providers, you can request a list of current and former clients and a portfolio of previous projects. The depth of that information, and the willingness to provide it, may be an indicator of a company’s expertise in a given area (or lack thereof).

  9. What other related (non-engineering) services does your company offer?

    It’s helpful to know the extent of a provider’s capabilities should you have a need that goes beyond your original engineering request. A full-service provider can streamline paperwork and reduce costs associated with using multiple providers.

    As a full-service provider, IIA provides turnkey solutions that save our customers time, money and trouble. Our clients have access to a vast network of structural integrity experts, specialized inspection tools and lab facilities. Along with engineering expertise, we are experts in non-destructive examination/testing (NDE/NDT). Our engineering and NDE teams work closely together to streamline run/repair/replace decisions and maximize the life of your equipment.

  10. How fast can you turn my project around?

    To ensure that your project’s goals and timelines are met, ask potential providers how quickly they can turn your engineering project around.

    At IIA, we understand that time is money, and we strive to be on the forefront when it comes to delivering value-added services in a timely fashion. We bring a respect for client needs, budget and schedule to every job.