So now we know. Apparently the ACE believes that the reason consulting engineers put in such low fee bids is nothing to do with the fact that their competitors are breathing down their necks, but because they are such bad businessmen that they put in low fees just for fun (NCE 17 January).
Presumably civil engineering contractors operate on low profit margins for the same reason?
If there really were a shortage of civil engineers then clients would be on their bended knees imploring us to work for them, not getting competitive offers from a number of firms and almost invariably going for the lowest price.
If the ACE wants to tackle the problems of low pay and morale in the industry then it should focus on limiting the number of chartered engineers to numbers that can command sensible fees.
In this, the ACE is up against the university departments that need to continue turning out graduates to justify their existence.
My solution is therefore that consultants and contractors should headhunt engineering lecturers so that they cease producing the stream of new entrants competing for the finite amount of work available.
Roger Button, 4 Beauford Place, Bath BA1 6RP