Productivity, as a way to increase profitability, commands the daily attention of design consultants. Engineers can minimize their engineering time and effort just as they routinely minimize construction materials and labor. Certainly no one would knowingly spend $100 on engineering to save $25 to $50 on construction, but unfortunately, frequently we do this unwittingly.

One way to optimize, or minimize if you prefer, the amount of engineering service is to compare the cost of added engineering time with its effect on the cost of construction. If a structure or a member can be designed by a short, quick method, should the engineer spend additional time with longer, more exact methods in the hope of reducing the cost of construction? A numerical comparison of added engineering costs (hours spent times billing rate) with the potential savings in construction cost makes the action to be taken somewhat clearer.