What is Consulting Engineering?

Consulting engineering companies provide an important contribution to the social, economic and environmental quality of life in Ontario and around the globe.

Consulting engineers offer an array of professional engineering services and expertise to both public and private sector organizations that goes far beyond bridges and office towers.

Consulting engineers act as independent agents and advocates for their clients, and are responsible for finding innovative solutions to technical problems and providing strategic advice to business and management. In Canada, these licenced professionals offer a wide array of services and expertise in areas not only related to engineering and science, but also in economic sectors such as agriculture, energy, forensics, industrial and residential buildings, mining, municipal services, transportation, environmental protection and manufacturing. The solutions and services that consulting engineers provide include:

  • pre-feasibility and investment studies
  • social-impact and environmental-impact studies
  • preliminary and final designs for construction or engineering work
  • supervision and inspection of construction work, including on-site project management
  • technical assistance and advice
  • asset-management studies.

Looking for quality consulting engineering expertise? The member firms of ACEC-Ontario offer a wide variety of professional engineering services and expertise to meet your needs. They develop innovative solutions and provide strategic advice.

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Consulting Engineering Companies

Consulting engineering services are usually offered by companies, though some are also offered by sole practitioners. Most firms in the industry are privately owned enterprises, operating at the community level and employing only a few dozen people; a smaller number are large integrated firms, with over a thousand employees nationally or internationally, providing a wider range of services.

Engineers in consulting companies come from virtually every discipline and specialty and they usually work in teams within their firms. Their roles may range from purely scientific or technical, to coordinating or managerial, or any combination-depending on the type and size of the client’s project. In many cases, consulting engineers will be responsible for coordinating the efforts and activities of team members: other disciplines and professions that work in the field include natural scientists, technologists, planners, surveyors, architects, ecologists, geoscientists, archaeologists, economists, construction specialists, property negotiators, and a range of other specialties-whatever is needed to deliver the project services most effectively. Others engineers may specialize entirely in their own sphere of expertise.

The gross revenues of such firms contribute upwards of $28 billion and nearly $10 billon to the Canadian and Ontario economy, respectively, every year. In Ontario alone over $4 billion goes to support the livelihood of families through wages and benefits from the engineering services industry. The industry boasts an increasing number of small, medium and large firms that are able to compete successfully at the international level: Canada is now the fifth-largest exporter of engineering services in the world.

The Regulation of Engineering

Engineering is a regulated profession in Canada and engineers working in both the public and private sectors require a licence to practice. Professional engineers are held to a high standard of conduct and expertise, and are required to regard the public interest as paramount. For more information on the licensing of engineers and the regulation of the profession, visit the Professional Engineers Ontario.