Columns / Business Strategies for Surveyors / Construction / Association News / Government

Engineers and Surveyors: Joining Forces for the Future

The surveying profession is rapidly changing from both a business and technological standpoint. Competitive pressures and the tremendous advances in technology and software are putting pressure on our industry. Now more than ever, engineers and surveyors must work together to turn these challenging times into opportunity.

At press time, as the June 30 expiration date loomed on yet another transportation bill extension, the American Council of Engineer Companies (ACEC) was hard at work urging House and Senate negotiators to finalize a long-term bill. “The infrastructure investments and program reforms in this bill will reap huge economic dividends across the country and should be enacted as soon as possible,” ACEC President Dave Raymond wrote to members of the House-Senate Conference Committee negotiating the bill.

The self-described “voice of the engineering industry,” ACEC has long been advocating for robust funding levels, aggressive project delivery reforms, increased contracting for engineering services and expanded financing options in the final bill. But it’s not just engineers that stand to benefit; the entire survey/geospatial industry would gain work from a long-term bill.

Indeed, ACEC is an organization that advocates for the entire built industry. Through the Council of Professional Surveyors (COPS), a coalition within ACEC representing the survey and geospatial industry, ACEC is also an effective advocacy and business organization for the survey/geospatial sector. Within the bylaws of the ACEC, the two professions are interchangeably written as “Engineer/Surveyor.” However, leveraging this strength requires us to speak with a louder voice.

Of the more than 5,100 ACEC member firms, approximately 1,600 offer survey or geospatial services. The COPS coalition was developed to strengthen the business environment and image of these groups and organizations, with a focus on quality professional geospatial services in a competitive global market.

Advocacy is a major focus within ACEC. The organization’s political action committee raises $1.4 million annually and has five full-time staff members, and the ACEC government affairs department effectively supports issues that affect our industry at the federal level. In addition to the transportation bill, other key issues include supporting expanded domestic production of energy sources, pushing for investments in water infrastructure, and maximizing the use and innovation of the private sector. COPS gives surveyors a seat at the table on these and other issues relating to legislation and regulatory reform. ACEC has also fought diligently for qualifications-based selection (QBS)–an issue that affects geospatial professionals as well as engineers. For our services to be recognized as professional rather than being viewed as a commodity, our voices need to be heard on this topic.

In addition to advocacy, ACEC and COPS develop business tools that can help firms better manage their businesses and assets, implement health and safety training, streamline procedures and increase profitability. For example, a six-month forecasting tool provides survey managers with the ability to determine total staffing needs by individual and classification on a month-by-month basis based on data input for up to 10 separate ongoing projects and eight promotional or proposed projects. Other worksheets can help firms make go/no-go decisions for jobs with private and public clients. Sample contracts, health and safety resources, marketing materials and other resources are also available through COPS and the broader ACEC organization.

Importantly, COPS is in a position to bring awareness to the larger engineering community regarding the appropriate collection, use and management of geospatial data. One example is machine control. Working closely with engineers, the COPS Steering Committee developed a position statement recommending that professional engineers state in construction plans and specifications they prepare that professional land surveyors or engineers must be in responsible charge of the digital terrain model creation and site calibration. ACEC/COPS also developed a draft of suggested language for use in construction plans and contracts involving machine guidance. These documents are made available for comment by all ACEC member firms.

Surveyors and engineers depend on each other. ACEC already recognizes this truth. By growing and elevating COPS within ACEC, geospatial professionals will achieve even greater collaboration with the engineering community on the legislative and business issues that affect all of us. It’s time for our voices to be heard.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to POB

Recent Articles by Ken Brown

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

HxGN Live

More than 3,500 attendees from more than 70 countries attended HxGN Live, the annual Hexagon AB user conference, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 3-6. About 450 keynotes and panel discussions were held, and several companies from around the world exhibited their geospatial products. Here are a few snapshots from the event.


POB January 2015 Cover

2015 January

In this January 2015 issue of POB, we take a look at integrated technologies that provide real-time 3D measurements of a Brisbane construction site.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

With the unmanned aerial system (UAS) presence growing in surveying, you will in 2015:
View Results Poll Archive

Point of Beginning Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\POB\epubsite\Statues-pic-large.gif
Surveyor Statues

The perfect gift or award for any special occasion.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Facebook logo Twitter logo  LinkedIn logo  YouTube logoRPLS small logo

Google +

Geo Locator

Buyers Guide

The #1 buyers' guide for land surveyors and geomatics professionals. Search listings for software and equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers and professional services. CLICK HERE to view GeoLocator.