Red Flags: Watch Out

flagsEvery industry has its share of less experienced operators. The engineering profession is no exception. However, once you know what to look for, spotting a substandard firm becomes relatively easy.

We are referring to engineers that are either inexperienced, incompetent, or both. They may mean well but their lack of relevant experience or their inability to complete your review correctly and provide the proper support can be just as troublesome as the work of a truly unscrupulous reviewer.

Here’s few things you’ll want to watch out for:

They Don’t Have Your Back

What’s their reputation like? Do they have a reputation for delivering reviews that you can absolutely depend on to survive a government visit? Or are the reviews themselves deficient – leaving you open to fines or worse yet, injuries and lawsuits?

Omitting Items To Avoid Slowing Production

When key items are left out of a review, it creates a ticking time bomb. The eventual end result is fines, or worse, operator injury and subsequent lawsuits.

Lack Of A Dedicated Office

Some businesses without a verifiable address may be harder to locate if something goes wrong down the road. ZCS has permanent offices located in Guelph and Newmarket and are ready to help you no matter what.

Lack of Relevant Experience

All types of engineers can perform safety reviews on machines, but at ZCS we believe that mechanical, electrical and structural engineers are best suited to do the job. That is why our team consists of mechanical and electrical controls staff with years of machine build experience.

Lack of Supervision of Subordinates & Scrutiny of the Subordinate’s Review

Often, to offer a lower bid, an engineering firm will send in a less qualified, less experienced engineer to conduct the review without supervision and without scrutiny of the final product – the review itself. This leaves you completely wide open to operator injury and liability.

The Actual Physical ‘Report’ Appears… Lacking

We all know not to “judge a book by its cover,” but if you fail to recognize this telltale warning sign, expect bad things to happen!

A poor looking report is an invitation for government scrutiny. Seriously, which one do you think is least likely to be questioned?


We’ve already discussed this, but it is clearly the most common mistake so it definitely warrants repeating. Certainly, cost can and should be a factor in choosing your reviewer, but it should not be the main determining factor. A reputable reviewer won’t take foolish shortcuts just to save money.

Lack of Checklist Template

According to Atul Gawande author of “The Checklist Manifesto”, the use of checklists can dramatically lower the incidence of error. Inexperienced engineers can make the error of ignorance (mistakes we make because we simply don’t know enough) or errors of ineptitude (mistakes made because we did not properly use what we know). While ZCS AKIA Engineers are highly competent and experienced, nothing is left to chance. The ZCS AKIA 57 Point Gold Standard Checklist Template ensures there are never missed steps or key items ignored.