Private engineering firms cut costs for public projects

Polytechnic Institute of New York University finds private engineers save public works projects at least 15%.

03/03/2011


An independent report released in January by the Polytechnic Institute of New York University finds that using private sector engineers versus public employees to design public works projects is at least 15 percent more cost efficient for New York State. The new study, led by F.H. (Bud) Griffis, Professor in the Dept.of Civil Engineering, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, validates an October 2008 study that found a 14 percent savings when using private sector engineers. Researchers maintain that the cost differential is understated due to the omission of certain public employee in-house costs.

“At a time when the state’s budgetary issues are of grave concern, this study proves that using private sector engineering firms will result in substantial savings,” says Jay Simson, President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC New York). “New York’s consulting engineers are highly trained, world class innovators. In addition to specialized expertise and flexibility in staffing and scheduling, they bring a business perspective and competitive spirit to public works projects.”

The 2011 report ”NYSDOT Engineering Costs: In-House vs. Outsourced Engineering” (PDF) compares New York State Dept. of Transportation (NYSDOT) employee costs to private sector engineers’ costs including: direct salaries adjusted for weekly work hours, medical insurance, pension plans, workers’ compensation, unemployment, social security insurance and overhead.

According to the study, the New York taxpayer pays between $207,112 and $232,251 annually for a typical NYSDOT engineer, while a private sector New York engineer costs approximately $186,142. The higher cost of the public sector employee is attributed to the expense of the benefits package, amount of paid time off, and less work hours per week compared to the private sector. The study revealed the total cost to taxpayers for a 30-year career NYSDOT employee is more than $6.4 million.

- Edited by Gust Gianos, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, www.csemag.com



No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Water use efficiency: Diminishing water quality, escalating costs; Lowering building energy use; Power for fire pumps
Building envelope and integration; Manufacturing industrial Q&A; NFPA 99; Testing fire systems
Labs and research facilities: Q&A with the experts; Water heating systems; Smart building integration; 40 Under 40 winners
Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.