Fingers Crossed: 15th Annual Municipal Survey

By Robert Carpenter, Editor | February 2012, Vol. 67 No. 2

Another common concern expressed by municipalities is that engineers lack field experience. Said this city official from Ohio, “engineers have gotten away from going to the field and verifying conditions.” A person from a Colorado city said “engineers definitely need to get more field experience in their organizations.” And a California respondent said simple “engineers need to do a better job by being hands on!”

There were also several comments relating to better vision and project understanding. “Understand the long-term maintenance of proposed improvements,” is very important to this Illinois city representative. “They should look at the whole project and think it through before proposing projects,” added this Pennsylvania muni official. In Missouri, a city representative pointed out that they need engineering firms to design for future access, durability and use.” And a Texas respondent wants engineers to “admit to their mistakes.”

This Oregon city employee would like “increased quality assured/quality control of project specs and drawings.” Indeed, QA/QC was another common theme for many respondents along with project inspections. “Engineers need to provide better inspection – especially with newer trenchless methods,” pointed out an official from North Carolina. (Editor’s Note: Industry association NASSCO currently offers an inspector training course for Cured-In-Place Pipe and will be launching a similar course for pipe bursting this spring.)

As with contractors, many consulting engineers have not retained some of their experienced employees for a variety of reasons. That fact has not gone unnoticed by many of the survey respondents. “We need to deal with more experienced people,” summed up a New Mexico city official.