Feasibility studies (as a tool to save money)
We are currently facing a flood of inquiries relating to diverse environmental issues. We see this as a positive development as inquirers are, after all, potential customers. It would seem that in over 25 years in the business, we have managed to get something right.
But, although this type of inquiry requires a fair amount of research and a great deal of thought and is extremely time consuming and expensive, it cannot be billed (aka sales development costs).
In our day-to-day lives we behave in a similar way; we go into a specialized store and have someone spend ¾ of an hour explaining the latest TV technology to us, only to go round the corner or onto the Internet and buy the same product at a cheaper price. This is of course not satisfactory, or else disastrous for well-trained experts, whose numbers are slowly dwindling as a result.
The point we want to make clear after decades of providing a virtually free advice service for public interest groups, municipalities and industry, is that every project should begin with a feasibility study or preliminary planning phase that considers the alternatives and provides the customer with a qualified decisional basis for further engineering planning and a rough preliminary calculation for the expected cost of the project.
The two most crucial reasons for this are given here:
By far the most potential for cutting costs is in the area of preliminary planning … not in the details of the subsequent construction phase.
We just cannot understand why customers are almost entirely ignorant of this phenomenon – above all, by the way, most of our foreign project partners who consistently refuse to invest in feasibility studies.
It is our view as a contractor for environment-related engineering services that an important criterion with which to establish the seriousness of a client’s inquiry is a proposal to carry out a feasibility study or variance analysis as part of a preliminary plan fee schedule.
If someone is not prepared to pay 5,000 to 15,000 euros for this crucial diagnostic basis research and preliminary planning, they have not understood how decisive these initial phases are for the entire project. Or, to put it differently, someone who cuts costs during the anamnesis and diagnosis phase of an illness, often ends up paying double or threefold for the wrong treatment.