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In-house vs Consultancy: Is there a best approach?

August 27, 2021 Civil Bites 1 Comment

There is a constant need for expertise within infrastructure development. It can the driving force between a fledgling idea and successful implementation.

Often, an organization can tap into it’s existing staff, utilizing their In house vs Consultancy knowledge and understanding of the business, calling upon their prior expertise in order to see a project through to completion. However, there is an argument to be made that an external consultancy can provide knowledge and expertise that may otherwise miss.

In house vs Consultancy: Is there a best approach?

Is there an advantage to in-house expertise, or is utilizing a consultancy firm the surest way forwards? 

There is, without a doubt, an immense value to having existing staff take on premier roles within a project. Their existing knowledge of the fabric of the business, its scope, and requirements are elements that are only understood after years of working within an organization. Being able to tap into the existing skills of a workforce can reap tangible benefits.

“There was no major consultant or major contractor involved,” said Matthew Philpot, director of the Water Management Alliance, speaking to New Civil Engineer on their £2.1m water storage project, “our own staff delivered it.”

Philpot acknowledges that this project can act as a catalyst for training and developing staff’s capabilities, allowing for an increased future scope for future projects: “The WMA really tries to keep those skills In house vs Consultancy so that we can deliver projects if we need to.”

But in order to operate in this way, there has to be a vast amount of knowledge and skills on hand, requiring a diverse, talented workforce and the capability to coordinate them efficiently. 

This is where the field of consultancy shines – offering a client organization a wealth of expertise and management processes that could otherwise be vacant. In the UK, the consulting industry is worth around £10 billion, contributing to the UK economy across a vast array of sectors.

This allows for projects of a vast scope to be executed as effectively as possible, using the knowledge and experience of some of the world’s leading consultants.

A consultancy can draw on their experiences of working on similar projects that most client organizations simply cannot. They are experts in their field, and have the know-how and drive to optimize projects, ensuring efficient and effective delivery. 

In house vs Consultancy: Is there a best approach?

The team behind Heathrow’s £14billion expansion plans comprised seven leading consultancy firms, each offering a unique and valuable insight into how best to proceed.

It is the expertise that would not exist within one organisation.

Not only this, but the competitive selection process means that there is diligence in the cost-effectiveness of the seven organization’s proposals, offering security in the value being delivered.

So, is there any significant value in using a consultancy over in-house staff?

The answer is not clear-cut.

The value of in-house staff should never be overlooked, and the chance of progressing an organization parallel to a large-scale project can be highly beneficial. The consultancy offers a direct, results-driven approach to project completion that can utilize a vast array of expertise that may otherwise be inaccessible. What is vital is that they consider all options with the objectives in mind.

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