Ideas for Consulting Engineers


This site is written by Consulting Engineers as a way to share knowledge and experience.

This site is not intended as a technical resource but will develop into the place to go to find knowledge about approaches, methodology and solutions to some of the tricky problems in, what has become, a tough industry.

Our main aim is to put the brakes on the race to the bottom, and support friends in the float to the top.

We have become aware that data can make a difference in the outcome of elections, or whether we are offered something we will watch on Netflix. With the world around us seemingly determined by analysis of data and an immense amount of data produced daily, we have seen the Data Scientist emerge as a new, or perhaps, rebadged specialism. How should the Consulting Engineer profession embrace this new team member? The hype is hard to see through, so it is hard to determine a good strategy.

This article is not simply about Data Science but about how Consulting Engineers can prepare for the benefits that Data Science can offer improving outcomes for our clients.

The global market for the Digital Twin market is expected to grow from a predicted UD$3.6 billion to around US$50 billion by 2026.

Digital Twins can improve efficiency and add value to the operation of our client’s building and infrastructure assets. The idea of a ‘Digital Twin’ is a ‘hot’ issue in the wider industry now, but clarity on the subject is fairly sunk by the heavy marketing of technology firms.

Here we explain how a Consulting Engineer can work with their clients, the Asset Managers, to decide how the ‘Digital Twin’ can be specified to realize real benefit – following an easy and logical eight steps.

The global market for the Digital Twin market is expected to grow from a predicted UD$3.6billion to around US$50billion by 2026.

A Digital Twin for a Grade A Commercial Office building of around 600,000 ft2 (60,000 m2) would cost $1.2m and $1.7m. Whereas, for a more complex and larger General Hospital building of around 2,100,000 ft2 (200,000m2) would cost $3m and $4.2m.

Below we provide estimates of costs for a Grade A Commercial Office, a High School, Secondary School, or Training Center, a University Campus, a General Hospital, a Distribution Center, a High-tech Factory or Laboratory, and a Shopping Mall.

With uncertainty in real data available we have researched and worked up some theoretical cost models to provide an order of cost, on a per ft2 and m2 basis, based on notional building types. These estimates include client team costs.

It is not always easy to answer the client’s questions, particularly in open meetings, video calls or face-to-face communications. Some people are good at thinking fast and giving good answers, but maybe they have been asked before. They have built up a rehearsed a formula to respond that works for them.

From our research, from the real world, we know that these questions will come up on the biggest or smallest projects, at some time, and you will be ready!

The annual maintenance costs for an office building in the US is between US$1.6/ft2 and up to US$2.8/ft2 for high end (US$17.3/m2 and US$30/m2), depending upon whether the building quality.

For buildings in the Europe annual maintenance costs are between US$1.7/ft2 and US$2.5/ft2 for high end (US$18.6/m2 and US$27.4/m2).

For Asia there is a wide variation depending upon location, but the average annual maintenance costs are between US$1.0/ft2 and US$1.4/ft2 for high end (US$11.3/m2 and US$15.3/m2).

Cost data is provided for many global cities.

It is easy to feel left behind by digital transformation, but it is experience that will be an important enabler. At present, BIM awareness is only about 73% with only 40% of projects using BIM as the norm.

There are many free resources to help you up-skill quickly and at your own pace. We tell you what we think are the best resources are. The best consultants will be those committed to learning and development, but you can play your own part, whether the support is there or not.