Civil + Structural Engineering News
Quality of Clients

Quality of Clients

I just finished reading John Bachner’s article "Open Letter from a Client Representative" in the May issue of CE News. It relates a hypothetical letter from a dissatisfied client and provides several points regarding the desired role of the engineer from the client’s point of view. Of course, correspondence from a client like this is rare. Many firms may attempt to gauge their performance with post-project surveys or interviews, but this valuable insight often is foregone in favor of moving on to the next project.

For a client to write such a letter might indeed be a once-in-a-career event. But the hypothetical views in the article provided as much information about the client as they did about the consultant. The letter also implicitly distinguishes between two extremes of potential clients: those who want a low-cost, textbook solution to their "typical" project and those who have a vision for the edge of technological ability and want a consultant who is willing and able to venture into the unknown with them.

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