Previously, building services engineers were introduced and their place in construction was discussed. This was followed by a discussion on the roles and responsibilities of the Electrical Building Services Engineers and the benefits of engaging their services in the pursuit of construction activities. With the enactment of the Engineers Act 2011 came the repeal of Engineers Act Cap 530 of 1969 and with it provisions of establishment of scales of fees for engineering professional services. In fulfillment of this requirement, the enforcer of the Act, the Engineers Board of Kenya published, in October 2013, the scale of fees and conditions of engagement for consulting engineering services in Kenya.
Categories of Service
Professional engineering fees reflect the value of services received by the client and are not merely the consulting engineer’s cost of providing services. However, since these fees are a matter of contract between the consulting engineer and the client, both parties are free to develop arrangements suited to specific situations within the parameters presented in the guidelines published by the Engineers Board of Kenya. For these fees, a client typically expects basic project services and additional ones for which the engineer is often retained. Such services include:
- Advisory Service
- Preliminary Design Service
- Final Design Services and Contract Documents
- Tender Call Services
- Contract Administration Services
- Project Management Services
- Construction Management Services
The nature of the project will determine the scope of the services required and the necessary form of agreement.
Methods of Cost Calculation
Fees are based on one of three methods of calculation.
i. Fixed Contract/ Lump Sum Fees
Depending on the nature of the project, the client and the consulting engineer may decide on a lump sum by negotiation in advance of the project. This is suitable in instances where the full extent of the services can be determined. Lump sums may be broken down into components applicable to particular duties or stages of work. Comparisons with fees calculated by the percentage method usually give an indication of the appropriate levels of lump sums.
ii. Percentage Fees
These fees are agreed upon between the client and consulting engineer as a percentage of the cost of the project as shown in table 2 or cost of the works as shown in table 3. The amount paid therefore varies with changes in the installation cost. Usually the cost is based on the final cost of the project or works and interim accounts are invoiced on estimates of what that cost will be. However, sometimes different percentages of the estimated or actual costs at different stages of work.
|Service||% Charge on Cost of Project|
|Electrical||1.5% to 2.0%|
|Electrical Engineering Systems||1.0% to 1.5%|
Table 1: Percentage charges on the basis of cost of project. Source ERB-K
Electrical Engineering Systems refers to such services as but not limited to security systems, access control, structured cabling and other ICT systems, Video Conferencing, Public Address Systems, Conferencing Systems, Generators, Solar and other renewable energy sources.
|Cost of Works in KSHS.||Minimum Fees as % of Cost of Works|
Table 2:Percentage charges on the basis of cost of works. Source ERB-K
iii. Time Charges
Time charges are employed when the project cost cannot be estimated in advance. The client remunerates the consulting engineer on the basis of time charge for staff actually employed on the project. Time-based charges are used for studies, advisory services and consultations. The applicable rates are shown in Table 1 unless otherwise agreed upon between the client and the consulting engineer.
|LevelA – (Specialist)||10,800- 13,500||64,800 – 81,000||1,080,000 – 1,350,000|
|LevelB – (Principal)||9.000 – 12,000||54,000 – 72,000||900,000 – 1,200,000|
|Level C – (Senior Engineer)||6,500 – 9.000||42,000 – 54,000||700,000 – 900,000|
|LevelD – (Engineer)||4,500 – 6,500||33,000 – 42,000||550,000 – 700,000|
|Level E – (Graduate Engineer)/ (Senior Technician)||3,000 – 4,500||21,000 – 27,000||350,000 – 450,000|
|LevelF –(Technician)||2,000 – 3,000||15,000 – 21,000||250,000 – 350,000|
|Level G – (TechnicalAssistant) / Secretary||1,350 – 2,000||9,000 – 15,000||150,000 – 250,000|
Table 3:Rates for payment on time-basis. Source ERB-K
Unless otherwise specified or mutually agreed beforehand between the client and the consulting engineer, these fees are paid in the following manner.
|Item||Stage of Work||Fee Payable|
|1||Design Stage (Preliminary & Sketch Design||30%|
|2||Design Stage (Detailed Design)||40%|
Table 4: Stages of payment of fees. Source ERB-K
4 Bedroom Residential House
To put the above figures into context, consider a project to construct a 4 bedroom residential house. The client, cognizant of the importance of seeking professional services, engages an Electrical Building Services Engineer for advisory services, design services, tender documents, contract call and administration services as well as project management services.
A high quality and safe electrical and electrical systems installation works could cost in the neighbourhood of Ksh. 700,000. This figure could be much lower on a smaller house or a similar house providing a minimum level of service. Calculating the consultant’s fees based on the percentage of works as per Table 2 would result in a minimum of Ksh. 70,000, exclusive of VAT, that is of course subject to negotiation between the client and the consultant. The client could then pay Ksh. 21,000 during the preliminary design stage, followed by Ksh. 28,000 during the detailed design stage and a further Ksh 3,500 and Ksh. 17,500 during the tender stage and installation stage respectively. While using this method, it is important to recognize the fact that the cost of works may vary during the entire duration of the project and as such the amount payable will also vary. Such an arrangement is beneficial to the client since it allows the client to pay for the services as they are received and in manageable amounts.
Suppose the client and consultant agree on the lump sum fee or fixed contract method of costing the consultant’s services, the calculation based on the percentage of works could be used as an indication of the acceptable amount of payment. This figure could then be negotiated to a lower or higher amount depending on prevailing project conditions and is payable either as one full payment or as agreed between the client and consultant in several smaller payments.