What Is an Engineer of Record?

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If you’re planning multiple design or construction projects, you’ll want to hire an experienced and reliable engineer of record.

The engineer of record, which is typically referred to with an “EOR” abbreviation in construction and other fields, is key to making sure your projects run smoothly and effectively. Typically, they’re hired through a Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) process that demonstrates that they’re qualified to perform the work. Some municipalities have a pool of engineers, defined as preferred engineers, or a singular EOR.

Having an EOR for your projects means you only need to negotiate the fee, confirm the scope, and trust the rest to the engineer because you already know they’re capable. This also helps form a better relationship between you and the engineer(s) because you work together frequently. The EOR learns and hones in on your wants and needs, standards and expectations, budgets, and priorities. Ultimately, they become an extension of your staff.

F&V is the EOR or a preferred engineer for over 80 communities in Michigan and Indiana. We have nine offices and nearly 300 professional staff members. Our staff have worked as EOR for countless communities at prior firms and have worked in engineering departments for municipalities and businesses.

The Benefits of Working with an EOR

Our goal as EOR is to have a partnership with our clients – someone they can trust for the long haul to help continue to meet their goals. As EOR, we provide the support of all our engineers, scientists, and specialists as needed. Benefits of hiring an engineer of record include:

  • Synergy: Having one engineer act as EOR allows them to understand the synergy of how multiple projects can benefit each other. Instead of acting simply as the engineer for one project, they can advise on the community’s big-picture needs.
  • Efficiency: It allows the client to skip the time-consuming RFP and interviewing process for every project and negotiate an agreed upon scope with hourly rates that have already been agreed upon.
  • Clear authority: When an issue arises that a community may not know how to handle, they can simply turn it over to their EOR to handle. This may involve having the EOR contacting sub-contractors to deal with something out of their range of service offerings.
  • Cohesion: An EOR will be invested in your community’s long-term growth and success, since it directly affects their success as well.
  • More funding: Finding and filling out applications for competitive and limited funding opportunities that firms may only chase for their core clients where they act as EOR.
  • Stronger decision-making: EORs will be able to assist and participate in council meetings and have institutional and historical knowledge of your community that can be beneficial for decision-making.
  • More opportunities: EORs are better suited to proactively bring projects to the table that a client may not be thinking about.

When to Hire an Engineer of Record

There is never a wrong time to hire an EOR for construction or design. An engineer of record can benefit any size community by providing extensive municipal services to a community and serving as a trusted advisor for all their engineering projects.

Larger communities may want to consider hiring multiple EORs because they often have more projects and need multiple engineering companies to assist. This allows the community to spread work out among multiple engineering firms without the worry they are overloading a single firm. For specific projects, they can pick and choose from their engineering firms with targeted specialties and experience.

Smaller to mid-size communities can find it more cost-effective to hire a single engineer of record. An EOR is typically hired for a three-to-five-year term, with optional annual extensions both parties can agree to.

Overall, having a prequalified consultant on hand will help a community. It helps eliminate time spent writing extensive RFPs, reviewing proposals, and holding interviews because you already know the team is qualified for the work.

Tips for Hiring an Engineer of Record

Sending out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is a great place to start hiring an EOR. As a community, it’s essential to determine what qualifications of an engineering firm are important to you so your goals align.

Things to consider include:

  • Services provided: Can the firm assist you with all your project types?
  • Experience: Has the firm performed the type of work you’re looking for?
  • Location: Is the firm able to quickly arrive on a project site in case of an emergency, and do they have an understanding of the local conditions and jurisdictions?
  • Construction cost overruns: Are they able to keep budgets on track?
  • References: How have other communities liked working with them?
  • Rates: How much does the engineering firm charge?

When developing your criteria, it helps to come up with an evaluation structure, so your review committee knows exactly what to look for. It also makes it easier for firms responding to give you exactly what you want to see.

Talk with Our Engineering Team

Looking to work with a qualified and reliable engineer of record? Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to talk about your project and how Fleis & VandenBrink can help.