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Consultant vs. Contractor



There are surely a lot of things to consider in building a project. If you were a client who wants to build your own project for whatever purposes it may be, your first step to consider is to consult a professional.  But hiring the right person to do the job should take into considerations. In the field of construction, there are lots of personnel involve getting it done. From concept to design development to authority approval to construction proper until completion, all had its own procedure and guidelines to finally achieve and complete a project. To help you through it, it is important to differentiate the two categories or division of construction personnel involved in a construction project which is the Consultant and the Contractor. What are their tasks, duties, responsibilities, and contributions in a construction?


Consultant or an Engineering Consulting Firm is the first construction personnel or company to consult when you have a proposed project to build. Before the implementation, the construction starts with a concept, planning, design development, and construction.  They have the expertise to conceptualize of whatever project in mind. They are involved in the project design and management aspects of the construction. The design team is composed of architects; mechanical, electrical and structural/civil engineers working together to come up with a complete plan and design needed to construct a structure. The management team is in charge of the construction and implementations of the project. They are usually composed of site architects, site mechanical and electrical engineers, site civil, structural engineers and inspector, project manager and resident engineers.

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The design team like the architects proposes and conceptualizes an architectural design of what the building or project will look like after it has been built. They prepare general sketches, plans, and perspective or a 3D view of the project. Once the final design concept of the project has been finalized, it is then coordinated with the other disciplines like the MEP and structural engineers for them to start the respective design. They are also involved in the project coordination, documentation, submission, and approval of the project for building permit applications. Below is the basic organizational chart of an engineering professional working in a consulting firm.

Consultant’s Basic Organizational Chart


After the building permit has been issued by the authority having the jurisdiction it will be then be awarded to a contractor.  Selecting the contractor for a project involves project bidding. The consultant will invite contractors to submit their quotations and project proposal and later be decided by the client or a consultant to whom the project will be awarded.

The contractors or general contractors are involved in the overall execution of the project under the management and supervision of a consultant. They are responsible for the implementation of the approved construction drawings prepared by the consultant for site construction. Their construction team is composed Document Controller, Architectural and Structural Draftsmen, Site Architects, Site Civil and MEP Engineers, QA/QC Engineers, Safety Engineers, Project Managers, and Resident Engineers. Not to mention the full labor force involved in civil and architectural works which are composed of skilled personnel like the masons, electricians,  plumbers, steel man, pipefitters, welders, carpenters, and many others. Each of its personnel contributes to the completion of the project. The contractors are also responsible for the nomination of sub-contractors and material suppliers and which is responsible for a specialty construction works like the steel contractors, façade and glazing, piling contractors, contractors for shoring and dewatering works to name a few.

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Below is the basic organizational chart of an engineering professional working in a general contractor for site construction.

Contractor’s Basic Organizational Chart

Which of the two categories of construction engineering did you want to explore your career and eventually work for? Tell us your thoughts; leave a message in a comment form below. You can also follow, like and subscribe to our social media pages below to be updated with the latest posts.

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  1. Jesse Ford

    Thanks for mentioning that an engineering consulting firm help conceptualizes implementation, planning, design, and construction before the building is built. The company I work for is thinking of hiring a structural engineering specialist because they’re considering building a new processing facility to meet consumer demands. It seems like a good idea to hire a reputable professional that can help develop a structure that can house our machines that create our products.

  2. Gayle Bravo

    I have read your post. Nice Post!

  3. Earthquake Engineering

    This article provides details about consultant vs. Contractor. This blog happens to be one of the best blog, which give proper details about it. I enjoyed reading this blog and would suggest others too, and you would get to read about it in this link.I have also found this resource Bvtengineering.com useful and its related to what you are mentioning.

  4. Claire Masters

    Thanks for explaining that an engineering consultant helps plan and conceptualize a proposed build. My sister is planning on having a commercial building built as an investment in the future. I’m going to forward this article to her and suggest that she hires a engineering consultant first to help her design the kind of structure that she wants.

  5. Guenette

    Just wanted to thank you for writing this article and informing more people about Consultant vs. Contractor. Liked it very much this post! Thanks …..


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