Geoprofessionals are recognizing that our services are increasingly under threat of commoditization. More and more private sector projects are awarded on price alone. Minimizing cost is understandable, given the state of the economy; however, it is important that clients and practitioners not lose sight of the increased risk that clients may incur in the race to the bottom of the cost ladder.
Most geoprofessional services are not commodities and should not be treated as such because they involve applying professional judgment and opinion, which can vary based on expertise and experience.
In the broadest sense, geoprofessionals help reduce risk at the intersection between the natural and built environments. Our clients have to consider many variables, including finances, regulatory frameworks, scheduling, environmental impacts and natural hazards as they plan and implement new projects. Geoprofessionals help clients manage this daunting list of considerations, providing professional judgment and recommendations at each step along the way.
Evaluating earth elements such as rocks, soil, water, flora and fauna often involves making inferences and drawing conclusions from a limited number of widely spaced samples. With so many variables, professional opinions and quality of those inferences can vary widely. Just like physicians, no two geoprofessional consultants—or earth doctors—are created equal. Therefore, it is dangerous to assume that we are all the same and that the lowest-cost provider will deliver the best value.
When selecting geoprofessionals, it is our qualifications and reputation that count.