Guide to hiring a setting-out engineer

Getting The Right Person For The Job

Hiring a professional setting out engineer needn’t be a headache. Whilst they hold a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience, and as such are often in high demand, knowing what you are looking for will ensure that you get the right person for the job rather than just picking the first available engineering surveyor that is available.

Many setting out surveyors are self employed contractors, so it is perfectly acceptable and advantageous to be able to pick and choose which contractor to use, one job at a time. But there are considerations that must be made in order to balance both convenience for yourself, and also the safety of colleagues and the project being worked on.

What Should I Look For?

As well as relevant experience in surveying and laying out, anyone being hired for the task will need other supplementary skills. CAD (computer aided design) is one such skill that is practically impossible to live without in this field of work. The days of working to sketches are over; in today’s modern times, any setting out or surveying work is generally planned out far in advance using CAD, thanks to its perfectly accurate mathematical abilities and ability to actively assist with the task at hand.

Certification with health and safety, trade and membership legislation in the area of operation is also key. There is no greater inconvenience than finding out your hired gun does not conform to legal requirements and having the project stalled or shut down. Worse still, hiring an unqualified engineer and having an accident on site can leave the hirer and company open to civil or even criminal proceedings. Any qualifiations that the contractor lays claim to must of course be corroborated before a contract of employment is commenced.

It is with this in mind that professional indemnity insurance must be considered. Employees will generally be covered under a corporate policy, but with self employed and casual contractors, any reputable engineers should have a standalone policy as standard.

Where Can I Hire Such A Person?

There are specialist agencies who deal solely with surveyors and related contractors. Any general temping agency will not have an in depth knowledge of the industry in the same way that a specialist agency will; additionally, these agencies will be able to offer staff who consistently meet targets and successfully complete project (in effect, a ‘preferred contractor’ list.) It is also possible to hire contractors directly, either through word of mouth or by re-hiring contractors who have previously worked on projects with success. CV and résumé websites such as Reed, Linkedin and Hays will also have a wealth of contractors with relevant experience posted, as well as qualifications and testimonials from other employers.

It may sound like a daunting task; such contractors will generally need to be booked quite far in advance and are often able to ‘cherry pick’ contracts and projects due to there being more demand than availability. However, the process for finding and hiring them is much the same as if you were hiring any general contractor or member of staff, except with a few more qualifications and legislation issues to consider. Take a common sense approach and hiring the right person for the job will come easily and naturally.

Four things you need to consider for when hiring a setting out engineer

Four things you need to consider for when hiring a setting out engineer

Hiring a setting-out engineer seems easy to do but there are some things that you need to consider when getting a setting-out engineer. Although you must hire someone with the right skills and experience to do the job, you have to undertake some contractual and insurance related due-diligence and provide the right information. With the growing rate of cowboy surveyors doing a one-day course it is getting more important now than ever to take time when getting a setting-out engineer.

Here are three things to consider before engaging with one.

They must be provided with the latest drawings in PDF and DWG

You should provide the setting out engineer with the latest drawing in PDF and DWG format. It is also important that the drawings are provided in their most up-to-date revision. The drawings must be supplied with sufficient time for review and questions before the start of work.

The control stations should also be provided to the setting out engineer so they can check all construction elements prior to attending site.

They must have the ability to communicate with the site team.

The setting-out engineer must have the ability to communicate with the site team. Communication is key in this role, as they need to explain the stakeout with contractors and site teams. They also need to be able to communicate with designers or architects on any queries relating to clashes during construction or design.

Setting out engineers must be able to explain their stakeouts clearly so that everyone is on board with what needs to be done next for them on a given project.

The surveyor must be able to read drawings.

The surveyor must be able to read drawings. A good setting-out engineer does not need to be an expert on the design or construction of the project, but he or she needs excellent reading skills. They can read drawings correctly, identify clashes and plan of work with the site team, avoid mistakes such as version control and get the latest drawings.

They also need to ensure they have all the relevant setting out credentials.

Ok, so far, you’ve been able to check if they can read, speak and do their job. Now you just need to ensure that 1) they hold Professional Indemnity insurance for Setting-out. There are only insurance providers that deal with this in the UK. It is very expensive to have proper PI insurance, if they are coming in as a cheap surveyor, the change is that they are not insured, and any errors will be at your own cost.

Once I looked an insurance document for a setting out engineer, and he had a cover for a teacher, which has nothing to do with surveying. So make sure you check this.

Second, make sure they are qualified properly, the only non-land surveying course that you can get at the moment is from the Survey School and they are providing the ProQual Engineering Surveying Level 3.

Hopefully, this article was helpful in giving you some insights on hiring a setting-out engineer. If you’re looking for a setting-out engineer we provide qualified land surveyors who are insured to do the job. Contact me on 0203 744 3020 or to get a quote. (Please note we only cover the London area)

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