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National ACEC launches study to compare DOTs' cost of doing engineering in-house versus hiring consultants

ACEC Ohio is encouraging its members to participate in a nationwide study, commissioned by the national ACEC, that will compare the cost to state departments of transportation of performing engineering design in-house versus contracting with consulting engineering companies to provide those services.

The Council has contracted with New York University's Polytechnic School of Engineering to perform the study.  A similar study performed by NYU for ACEC New York concluded that – conservatively – the cost of the in-house engineer “exceeds the cost of a private engineer by at least 15%.” 

NYU will obtain data from every state DOT, as well as from ACEC members in each state, then calculate an average salary, cost of fringe benefits and a fully loaded overhead for each state DOT and for the engineering industry in each state.

Public agencies all too often decide to perform engineering design-in house based on flawed calculations of agency salary and fringe benefits costs and overhead rates.  This study is designed to provide an "apples-to-apples" comparison of those costs.

While the study only examines the cost structures of state transportation departments, ACEC believes it is reasonable to assume that the conclusions reached in the study would apply equally to government agencies engaged in the development of vertical construction projects, as well.

Detailed information regarding the study has been mailed to the "key principal" in each ACEC Ohio member firm, but if you would like more information about the study, contact ACEC Ohio Executive Director Don Mader (

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