Handex Insights

4 Things You Need to Know Before Hiring an Environmental Engineering Firm

Written by Andy Hooper | March 29, 2016

construction site

When searching for an environmental engineering firm to partner with, it is important to keep in mind that the most cost effective method to properly assess and remediate your site is not necessarily performed by the firm submitting the least expensive proposal. You should take into consideration the savings you will recognize by utilizing an environmental engineering firm that has the knowledge base to save you time and resources. The experience of your environmental partner is the most important thing you should consider and in the long run, experience will save you cost.

Here are a few things to look for when selecting a firm to partner with:

What are Their Specialties?

When dealing with groundwater and soil contamination, you’ll need to be sure your partner has a history of dealing with contamination issues and identifying contamination sources, as these areas will be regulated by federal, state and local jurisdictions.

A quick look through the company’s website will tell you a lot about what they do and their specialties. A reputable company should be able to provide references to you without hesitation. If they are not able to point you toward any longstanding clients of theirs, you might want to keep looking.

Are They Knowledgeable of Regulations and How to Implement Them?

The right partner is one who understands that you will need to be guided through the different regulations and will make sure everyone has a clear understanding of what is happening and why. To make sure your partner has experience and knowledge of regulations, you’ll have to ask the right questions. Are they familiar with local regulations in the project area and do they have relationships with the appropriate regulatory agencies? Have they ever been cited by agencies for failures to follow the proper regulations?

Does Their Staff Have the Right Experience?

The right firm should have a broad base of capabilities. You will want to look at their staff and see what kind of experience they possess. The right partner should have a staff with a wide range of expertise and capabilities that can be of use in case unexpected problems arise (which they will). This means they should be able to assist with everything from assessment to remedial system design and from project oversight to reporting and preparing compliance submittals. Ask all of your potential partners if they have the ability to go from the assessment to the remediation/treatment phases. They should also be able to design a cost effective closure method.

Are They Successful?

Any partner worth considering should have a reliable track record and be financially stable. Do some research and find out how long they have been in business and what is their track record for success. Finally, are they safe? What type of safety programs and training do they have, what is their safety track record and do they have any OSHA Reportable Incidents or citations? Any good company should keep employee health and safety as a top priority. After all, the last thing you want is to be liable for an accident on your property.

The key to hiring the right environmental engineering firm is to value experience over low proposal cost. Make sure the company has all the necessary licenses and understand the applicable regulations. They need to have both the capacity and expertise to handle your project. Ask a few similar businesses who have been in your position before for the names of the firms they worked with. This will give you a good starting point to begin your search.


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Written by Andy Hooper
Andy Hooper is the Sr. Operations Director SE for Handex. After graduating from Auburn University, Andy became a licensed contractor, received his Florida PE and obtained his Project Manager Professional certification. He has over 27 years of experience in the industry.

Topics: Environmental Engineering