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What are Engineering Consultants?

Margo Upson
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Engineering consultants work with businesses to help them to meet their design and construction needs. Engineering consultants usually work as part of a consulting company, and come into the field after receiving an engineering degree and obtaining several years of experience in the field. They are experts at whatever field of engineering consulting they are involved in. Engineering is a very broad field, and consultants are required to have a very clear understanding of everything that a potential client may need.

One area that engineering consultants may work in is mechanical engineering. A consultant would be able to design and help implement plans for a more efficient heating and cooling system in a large building. Consultants may also be hired to assist in improving indoor air quality, processing exhaust and ventilation fumes, and designing commercial kitchens.

Engineering consultants can also work with businesses to create solutions for electrical problems. This may mean designing better lighting for a portion of the building or the parking area. They will also work on regulating energy distribution, and planning for an emergency power generator. An engineering consultant may also design a fire detection system or a security system complete with video surveillance equipment.

The plumbing system of a building is another section that an engineering consultant might be hired to work on. Waste removal, ventilation, hot and cold water distribution, and water heaters are all a part of what an engineer may work on. The sprinkler system, used to control fires, may also be designed by an engineering consultant.

An engineering consultant may also be responsible for designing an airport. He or she may also do land assessments, help with landscaping designs, and plan walkways through parks. Consultants design flood plans, making sure that there are sufficient drainage ducts to prevent costly flooding repairs. They assist with zoning decisions and planning development sites for residential, commercial, and government use.

Traffic studies are often performed by an engineering consulting firm. They plan roadways, plot traffic patterns, and create designs for new subway systems. They help to design better pavement for roadways that will last longer and require less maintenance. They also design and inspect bridges.

The work of an engineering consultant is varied. Because engineering is such a wide field, there is almost no limit to the work a consultant can perform. They perform several different types of work, for many different types of businesses. Engineering consultants find solutions that meet or exceed the needs of their clients.

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Margo Upson
By Margo Upson
With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education, Margo Upson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role as a Practical Adult Insights writer. Her wide-ranging interests and skill at diving into new topics make her articles informative, engaging, and valuable to readers seeking to expand their knowledge.
Discussion Comments
By baresprint — On May 21, 2011

I think this is such a cool job. I really want to work as a structural engineering consultant when I get older.

I know that it's a huge challenge, since some of the best engineering consultancy jobs require years of experience and an "artistic intuition," but it would just be so amazing to work with the professional engineering consultants have this expertise and vision under their belt.

Is anybody reading this actually a structural engineering consultant, could you give me any tips on getting into the industry?

By Artyest — On May 20, 2011

Nice overview! I'd just like to add that there is at least one more type of engineering consultant -- biomedical engineering consultants.

In case you're wondering, biomedical engineering consultants (like me!) help develop imaging techniques, or tissue culture techniques to help a company advance their goals.

By dotreader — On Jan 23, 2009

In the US, Canada and Great Britain, an engineering consultant must either be licensed by the state (as a "Professional Engineer", PE) or must be working under the supervision of a PE.

The exact requirements vary, but typical is a college degree, four years of experience, and two written exams, the "Fundamentals of Engineering" or "Engineer in Training" (EIT) exam and the PE exam.

For more details, contact the appropriate office of your state or province. (And yes, I am a registered PE in Massachusetts)

Margo Upson
Margo Upson
With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education,...
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