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How sustainability affects Canadian consulting engineering companies and their clients


Sustainable projects are now drivers for the consulting engineering industry. Delivering projects that are demonstrably more sustainable than previous ones, adds layers to the performance demands of the client. 


How sustainability requirements directly affect engineering project design in 4 fundamental ways:

The key to success will be innovation, but here’s what clients and consulting engineers need to be aware of: ​

  • Innovation is inherently riskier. The possibility of failure of some or all of the project components increases simply because there is no previous experience with them.
  • Innovation requires more time. Developing new ideas and turning them into plans and specifications requires more time because there is no previous body of knowledge or experience on which to draw.
  • Payoff for clients is often further into the future. Sustainable projects often save operating expenses, sometimes with increased costs for initial development.

The relationship between consultant and client when delivering a sustainable project has to reflect these realities: the work will be more expensive, may take longer, and will carry higher risk, with the payoff at some point downstream.