BFPA Top Tips - The right credentials

Published:  06 March, 2015

The British Fluid Power Association (BFPA) outlines what it considers to be a valuable set of rules to abide by when engaging an external consultancy to undertake work on fluid power equipment and related solutions.

Most organisations that use fluid power equipment and related solutions will, from time to time, require expert guidance and advice. In the case of existing equipment, this would likely be in order to ensure everything is well-maintained, operating reliably, and that any niggling ongoing efficiency issues are ironed-out. Also, when looking to source new or replacement systems, consultants can be invaluable in ensuring that only the most fit-for-purpose equipment is purchased. Moreover, if you need help with a system or layout design, consultants can again prove invaluable.

Even if everything seems to be running smoothly, with little or no downtime to impact negatively on your company’s bottom line or put customer delivery times at risk, it is still reassuring to know you have a consultant’s contact details to hand – just in case.

In the case of hydraulics, pneumatics, compressed air and other related or complementary technologies, calling on a consultant to determine the root cause of, and solution(s) to, any new or more long-term problems can not only be a very worthwhile cost-saving and efficiency exercise, but can also be one that can keep potential safety hazards at bay.

Recommendations

However, in order to reap these types of benefits, the BFPA cannot stress enough the importance of engaging a consultancy that has a proven reputation within your particular industry, and one that abides by a tried-and-tested set of rules. Therefore, before seeking the services of a consultant, the BFPA strongly recommends that you discuss the following points with the consultancy in question in order to best ensure that your company, and the consultancy itself, enjoy the most beneficial and trouble-free working relationship from the outset:

• Ensure as best as possible that the consultancy you are looking to engage has earned the respect of peers and can demonstrate significant expertise within the field of fluid power.

• The consultancy should have access to the best professional advice prior to beginning a project, and have access to the latest standards and technology developments.

• A consultancy should not quote for a project or contract for which it has insufficient time or is otherwise unsuited to undertake.

• A consultancy should always carry the correct insurance for the particular project or work in question.

• A consultancy should give completely impartial advice on the broad market place, recommending the best solution with no un-declared commercial bias.

• Quotations from a consultancy should be clearly written in plain English, fully identifying the scope of the project, and making reference to any relevant specifications and defined deliverables structured within quotations agreed between it and the client.

• If there are any specific conditions required by a company such as ‘passport’ to work etc., this should be made clear within the initial request for a quotation. Should a condition be imposed once the job has been initiated, the Consultancy shall have the right to negotiate additional charges and method statement changes such as health & safety risk assessments.

• A consultancy should proceed with the project and contract according to the Agreement between both parties.

• Should there be changes to the specification during the course of the project, these should be advised, and agreed, at the earliest opportunity.

• Should the project or contract involve working on site, then this should be carried out maintaining a safe and healthy environment. Upon completion of said project, the site should be left in a clean and safe condition.

• Should the site have specific health & safety, or equipment requirements, the consultancy should work in conjunction with the client’s staff.

• Any specific conditions should be detailed at the proposal stage of any contract. From the client’s perspective, it should be borne in mind that conditions imposed post-quotation could attract additional charges.

• Consultants should only take instruction (in writing either by letter, fax, and/or email) from the appointed staff of the client and not from third parties, unless specifically instructed to do so by the contracting client. The consultant should request name(s) of client staff to who he/she may refer during the project. The responsibilities and authority shall be made clear.

BFPA Registered Consultants – Code of Practice

The BFPA operates a Registered Consultants – Code of Practice in order to promote professional good conduct and best practice wherever possible. A BFPA Registered Consultancy member will have earned the respect of its peers and can demonstrate significant expertise within the field of fluid power. Our Registered Consultancy members will also abide by all of the above areas of recommended good practice.

More information

For more information on BFPA Registered Consultants, the Code of Practice or any other enquiries related to consultancies, please contact the Association at info@bfpa.co.uk, tel: 01608 647900 or visit the website at: www.bfpa.co.uk.

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