5) Think. Outside. The. Box.
It’s cliché but true. Structural engineers who can uncouple their precepts from their imagination will embody the definition of “engineer”. There is ALWAYS a solution to a problem: that’s what the pre-design and schematic design phases are for. Dare I say it: sometimes it’s okay to put efficiency and costing aside…at least for a moment or two.
4) Become your PARTNER in design, rather than a necessity in the design process
Not all SE’s create equally: Having an SE who you can rely on to respond at the speed of x-cubed, not nickel-and-dime every interaction, will look out for your best interest, and consist of a group of people you enjoy working and communicating with is the distinction. Note that I’ve said nothing about their capability—most SE’s have great resumes with outstanding technical abilities but this is completely uncoupled from the talent it takes to develop a trusting, symbiotic relationship.
3) Never take relationships for granted
So you’ve laughed, you’ve cried, and even “high-fived” over some successful projects together. It’s easy to take a connection for granted, especially when things get busy. Great SEs continue to share the same enthusiasm and vested interest in your company and their goals. Showing interest in your firm even when you DON’T have a need is the difference.
2) Strive to distinguish themselves from their competitors
SEs who continually evolve, capitalize on, and promote their strengths/experience, will advance the quality of the entire Design Team. Find SEs who chase relationships not projects, lead advancements in technology, and consistently produce awesome products.
1) Aren’t afraid to admit if they aren’t needed
Some engineers would shy away from talking themselves out of a job, but some unique cases arise when an SE may not be needed. The ones who present other avenues or solutions to address a problem, where it may not necessitate spending money on their services, are both partners in design and true protectors of the Client’s cash.