Replacing in-house expertise

“We can’t deliver with in-house staff,” says a respondent from the West whose department serves more than 1 million people. The department spent more than $1 million for 11 to 20 projects over the past year and plans to spend more next year because of an anticipated reduction in engineering staff.

Other survey-takers who plan to spend more on AEC firms gave similar reasons, citing retirements and planned projects that can no longer be postponed.

Says one respondent: “The governor wants to decrease state workers, but we spend more and more on consultants.”

Optimistic reasons for spending more include more grant applications and improving local economies.

Many of the 19% who will spend less on AEC firms have the necessary expertise on staff or don’t need the help because they have fewer or less complicated projects. Another reason to bring work in-house, says a Midwest county engineer, is to better control costs and avoid poor service and project overruns.

Respondents who will be spending about the same over the next year expect to have similar workloads and/or funding or their local economy to remain stagnant.

Next page: Funding sources