Civil engineers face the challenge of needing to meet or exceed the expectations of three parties – the client, their firm, and the public – for a project to succeed. How does a design professional develop a solid relationship with stakeholder to ensure success of a project?
Building a productive and mutually beneficial relationship with stakeholders involved in a civil engineering project requires a common understanding about the factors affecting the cost, scope, and schedule of the project. Given the duration and complexity of public works projects, chances are that the parties involved in the project develop misunderstandings about the original agreements about the task. By following these steps, engineers can minimize the risk of project failure due to a breakdown of their relationships with stakeholders.
1. Hold a Meeting to Establish the Scope of the Project: Ideally, the meeting between the client’s lead project manager and the lead engineer should take place onsite so both are clear about the conditions where the work is to take place. The goal of the meeting is to establish the respective duties and responsibilities of the client and engineer as well as the deliverables linked to each party’s task.
2. Reach a Fee Agreement: Once the scope of the project is finalized, the engineer need to establish a fair fee for each task. The practice of overcharging for certain task to make up for losses associated with tasks that do not require the expertise of an engineer. Consider subcontracting this work to others that can do the work at the desired expense.
3. Establish a Schedule: The project schedule needs to include benchmark dates for the deliverables provided by both the engineer and the client. In addition, the client needs to agree to have their review complete by a certain date so the project can proceed. There also needs to be an understanding that if the client is late with their review, the completed date for the overall project may need to be extended.
4. Thoroughly Document All Communication with the Client: The engineer needs to keep written minutes of meetings as well as records of other communication. The client should review and sign all documentation indicating agreement with the content.
For other ways to ensure the success of your projects, take time to read Civil and Structural Engineer.