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How to Select a Firm

When Do You Use a Professional Firm

Engineering or surveying firms are retained when a client needs specialized technical assistance to solve a problem or develop a project.   The professional firms assist their clients by providing specialized knowledge attained through education and experience, independent judgment, and the capability to apply modern engineering and surveying techniques to benefit their clients.  Professional firms should be retained at the earliest stage of any project to assist in the definition of the problem, develop the preliminary plans and perform cost analyses.  As the project develops the retained firm can complete the project design, prepare the construction documents, administer and monitor the construction, and verify the completed project for acceptance by the client.  The client and the engineering firm work in a collaborative process to achieve the client’s goals and objectives.

Engineering and surveying firms are available when clients do not have the internal resources or expertise to solve technical problems or develop projects. A professional firm provides its services on an “as needed” basis, which saves the client from hiring additional staff and, perhaps, dismissing that staff when the problem is solved or the project is completed. Firms may work for government, commercial, or industrial clients. Firms may team up to provide comprehensive services for complex projects.



How Do You Select a Professional Firm

Selection of a professional engineering or surveying firm should be based on the qualifications of the firm to solve the client’s particular problem or develop their project. The cost of the firm’s services should not be a consideration in the selection process. The firm’s qualifications are a reflection of its experience, staff capability, and facility resources. Qualifications are also an indicator of the firm’s integrity and reputation. Experience on similar projects suggests that the firm understands the concept of the project and has knowledge of local conditions.

Six Steps to Selection

The following is the recommended procedure to select engineering or surveying firms.  This process can be modified to fit the circumstances of the client.

  1. Prepare a brief statement of the problem requiring resolution or project to be developed.
  2. Provide the statement to firms through direct contact or newspaper advertising and request firms to provide, in writing: 1) an expression of their interest to work on your project; and, 2) a statement of their qualifications to perform the work.  Establish and provide a deadline for submittal of this information.
  3. Review the responses received to your request and select three to five of the responding firms considered most qualified to fulfill you needs.  Invite the short-listed firms to an interview at which you will discuss their qualifications along with staff availability, present workload, and key personnel that would be assigned to your project.
  4. Check with recent clients of the firms to determine the quality of past performance.
  5. List the firms in order of their suitability for your project based on reputation, location, experience, availability of qualified staff, ability to meet your schedule, and any other factors pertinent to your specific project.
  6. Select the firm considered to be most qualified to complete your project. Invite that firm to a meeting to develop a mutual understanding of the scope of the services required for your project and determine the equitable compensation for the required engineering or surveying services.


The compensation is based on the amount and type of services required for the project. Unnecessary services are wasteful. Insufficient services can cause problems. Most engineering and surveying firms will charge for services based on the actual amount of time spent by its various categories of personnel. The charges will be typically higher for the more experienced personnel and the more specialized expertise. The contract amount is based on the hourly rate schedule of the selected firm, the anticipated hours to be spent on the project, and the anticipated expenses that the firm will incur during the project. These parameters establish a contract amount that cannot be exceeded without prior approval of the client.


We’re Here To Help

Contact the ACEC of Wyoming office for additional information to assist in your selection of engineers and surveyors.


Wyoming State Procurement Law

The State of Wyoming has statutes that dictate how state agencies must select and retain professional services. While these statutes do not apply to private interests or to many other public agencies, they do offer a systematic and efficient process for selecting firms. Click here for the text of the Wyoming Procurement Act.

For more information about ACEC of Wyoming, please contact or call (307) 635-8111.

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