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Consulting engineers advised to pick and choose clients, projects

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by &Mdash; Patricia Williams

Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO) president John Gamble has some advice for firms saddled with lousy clients: tell them to take a hike.

Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO) president John Gamble has some advice for firms saddled with lousy clients: tell them to take a hike.

“While there are a few economic clouds on the horizon, spending on infrastructure remains robust,” he told CEO’s recent annual meeting. “You are in demand. Why work for bad clients?”

Gamble, whose association promotes the business and professional interests of its members, said it’s an opportune time for firms to raise fees to “more appropriate” levels given the current “favourable” supply and demand situation.

As well, firms would be well advised to be more selective in responding to requests for proposals, Gamble said. One of the industry’s current concerns is the excessive amount of time senior engineers spend on preparing proposals.

“We need to get away from the notion that we have to respond to every single RFP that crosses our desk,” he said. “Engineers tend to treat RFPs like heroin. We know these projects are killing us, we know these clients are terrible, but we still respond.”

The association represents more than 250 engineering firms across the province.

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