Tips For Choosing an Environmental Consultant

Finding and hiring the right environmental consultant can be a daunting and sometimes stressful process. If you're not sure how to get started or how to make a decision between the options available then you're not alone. There are numerous environmental consultants out there, each with a wide range of services on offer, so how do you start narrowing the field to find the right person, or team, for the job at hand.

Know What You Need From a Environmental Consultant

In order to find the right environmental consultant for your project it is essential that you understand your own requirements from the outset. Define your objectives and needs clearly and communicate these to any prospective environmental consultant during your initial discussions. Questions that are useful to ask include:

  • What is your budget?

  • How much time are you willing to commit to the project?

  • Do you have a timetable of work in mind?

  • How much work can be carried out by your own team and how much will the environmental consultant be required to do?

By asking yourself questions like these you can start to form a proposal that will provide environmental consultants with clear, quality information from the first meeting.

Identify What Type of Services Different Environmental Consultants Can Provide

Once you have established what you require from an environmental consultant in terms of services and level of support then you will be better placed to find the right fit for your project. Environmental consultancy services vary widely, each may have specific areas of expertise, their services may include:

  • Providing independent environmental assessments of varying types and detail

  • Assistance in understanding specific legislation getting advice from regulators

  • Providing insight and expertise in areas requiring specialist knowledge

  • Assistance with applications for permits and tender applications

  • Help with report writing

  • Overseeing new system implementation and operation changes

  • Carrying out tasks annualy, including internal reviews and audits

  • Carrying out feasibility studies

Always bear in mind that an environmental consultant is there to supplement your own expertise and improve the operations of your business. Your environmental consultant should not be making decisions for you, purchasing products or equipment that aren't in your best interests or providing environmental consultancy services that aren't tailored to the specific needs of your business.

The Search For The Right Environmental Consultant

In the modern world a Google search is often the first stop for anyone looking for services of any kind, and rightly so. It is worth having a look and finding consultants in your local area and perhaps further afield, take into account their online reviews made on independent mediums such as Google itself. However, speaking to colleagues and neighbouring businesses to see if they have any recommendations can be valuable as well to find a tried and trusted business to work with. Ideally you should be looking to find 3 or 4 environmental consultants to speak to about a proposal.

Request & Review Proposals From Several Environmental Consultants

Provide the environmental consultants you have chosen with your project brief in order to obtain a proposal from them. Decide on a deadline and aim to receive proposals from at least 3 environmental consultants in order to make comparisons.

Decide upon criteria that you can evaluate the proposals against, this may include:

  • Experience – Do they have case studies to show you?

  • Qualifications – Look out for industry relevant training and qualifications

  • Relationship – Do you feel comfortable with them?

  • Availability – Where are they based and how easy will they be to contact?

  • Price – Compare like for like as different environmental consultants take different approaches. Know what exactly is included so you can make an informed decision.

Make Your Choice and Negotiate a Contract

Once you have selected the environmental consultant you want to work with you need to ensure you are both clear on what work should be carried out and what your goals are. A written description of work to be carried out by the consultant that includes a schedule and completion date.

Stewart Parsons