The roles of engineers are respectively wide. Amongst the major responsibilities for engineers are design, construction supervision, consultation, project procurement, commissioning and management etc. Engineers are responsible to give the highest regard to his profession and conduct himself with integrity when executing his task. For example a good design solution would have to include two important aspects namely design adequacy and cost effectiveness.
In addition, engineers have obligation to generate design solutions that are environmental friendly at the same time meeting the demanding requirements of client. Engineers have a duty of care to the environment, society and to their valuable customers or clients. They would have to generate design that fulfill the design clauses in the engineering codes of design, meeting the requirements by the various Governmental Departments and incorporate design solutions that are environmental friendly which induce minimum negative impacts to the surrounding environment and society.
Besides, engineers would have to take into consideration the cost implication of their design solution to their clients. This has caused great dilemma in engineers, as they have to balance cost implication of the design solution with other factors such as quality, efficiency and various socio-economy factors. In the context of a developing country like Malaysia, in some cases, clients however have different mindset from that of the engineers.
Clients are more concern about the cost implication of the generated design solution; they are more interested in design solution that is cost effective and yet fulfills the minimum design requirements by the Government. In this respect, clients would normally opt for design solutions that are cost effective, that stay within their budget. Some clients would incorporate project budget that is far inadequate which requires the engineers to sacrifice the quality and long-term efficiencies aspects in their design solution.
This has obviously contradicted with the engineers’ interests of incorporating optimum design that would guarantee long-term efficiencies and easy maintenance. In addition, a not-up-to the standards design solution that obviously with an associated lower construction cost would mean that the engineer would be getting a much lesser consultation fees in view that the engineering fees are normally proportional to the cost expenditure of the project. However these two factors, namely the cost factors and quality are normally indirectly roportional to one another. This has made the engineers’ life extremely tough and difficult. Engineers are constantly wondering if they should go for expensive design solution that would definitely give both long-term efficient operations and maintenance and most importantly getting a higher professional fees, or go for an ‘ok’ design solution that might not be able to guarantee the quality aspects of the project and yet getting a lower professional fees.
In view of the dilemma that engineers are constantly encountering in balancing capital expenditure with optimum design for efficient operations and maintenance, engineers should by all means combine both the design and cost aspects in the process of generating design solutions for their clients. Engineers should not produce a cheap design solution that does not comply with the relevant code of practices with the purpose just to please their valuable clients, hoping for more projects. Neither should they generate expensive design, ignore the cost implication of that particular design and with the purpose to obtain higher professional fee.