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Consultants Review 2021 – And the winners are…

Another year has gone by, and despite difficulties in most industries around the country, the waste sector has come out smelling like roses. To be fair, the waste industry is one that is necessary, however that doesn’t negate the disruption COVID-19 has caused in Australia for the best part of two years.

Through it all, waste consultants have been at the coal face offering advice, setting plans in motion and doing a lot of the dirty work (bin audits anyone?) to help industry as it navigates its way through legislation, export bans and making sure waste reduction targets are met.

With different pieces of legislation coming into effect, such as the ban of single-use plastics and export ban on whole-baled tyres, consultants need to be on top of their game when it comes to knowing the law. These laws can be complicated and the industry relies on the knowledge, advice and strategies that consultancies offer so they can navigate the intricacies set out in legislation. Some companies have principals who know their specialty of the industry well but most rely on consultants who know the industry inside out for a broader picture. A lot of local government councils rely on consultants to keep them on track, whether it is auditing, advice on landfills, or to keep abreast of the latest technologies.

This year’s Consultancy Survey, like those before, involved a lot of engagement with waste industry members who voted for their favourite consultancy in a range of categories. A longer voting period, compared to last year, resulted in more votes than ever, and we’re grateful for such strong engagement. As well as overall winners, there were 11 category winners in the two separate sections – Large Consultancy, and Small Consultancy.

The categories were:

  • waste auditing;
  • collection and transfer studies;
  • landfill – design and operations;
  • design and engineering of facilities;
  • technology/infrastructure reviews/evaluations;
  • strategy, policy and planning;
  • economic evaluation and modelling;
  • education, training and communication consultation;
  • environmental compliance;
  • environmental approvals; and
  • procurement.

Winners
In the Large Consultancy section, GHD did well in the waste auditing, design and engineering, strategy and planning, environmental, and procurement categories. The likes of Golder, Arup and SLR also did well in several categories where their expertise is needed.

Read more: Platform to provide KPIs on circular economy

In the Small Consultancy section we saw a diverse group of winners this time around. MRA took out five gongs as it did last year. It also finished in the top three in five other categories. A.Prince Consulting fared well with a couple of wins and top three finishes, while others to feature prominently included InSitu Advisory and Talis Consultants.

The Survey
As expected, local government was the single biggest representative body to reply to the survey, making up just over 40 per cent of respondents. State government made up 4 per cent.

Private sector providers – mainly contractors and service companies – came in at 26 per cent, while 15 per cent of respondents were from the commercial field. The remaining 14 per cent came from consultancy firms themselves. And yes, we did make sure said companies didn’t vote for themselves.

Spending
Looking at last year’s figures on how much government and private enterprise companies were expecting to spend on waste consultants, and how much they did spend, shows how accurate predictions can be.

Most did their due diligence as their predictions more or less stacked up. That is, with the exceptions of those who thought their spend would increase by more than 10 per cent, and those who thought there would be no change. Although it is impossible to marry figures with actual companies, there was an overall increase in spend of six per cent compared to what had been budgeted for by the industry.

Looking ahead, it seems that the majority of respondents are not planning to change their spend at all, with a similar result from the previous survey – 40 per cent said the purse strings will stay stagnant in 2022.

Just over 12 per cent are looking to increase their spend by less than 10 per cent, while 29 per cent have earmarked an increase of more than 10 per cent.

Survey participants feedback
Inside Waste was also keen to get some feedback from those who filled out the survey. The results provided an array of answers, some of which gave food for thought. Here is what they had to say:

“You need to be marketing to larger consumer goods companies and others. It was really hard to find a waste consultant. Lots of companies want to do the right thing but don’t know how, where or who to contact to start. There is a huge untapped market available here,” said one respondent.

Several companies were singled out for their services and approach to their work.

“A.Prince Consulting were extremely professional to work with through our waste audits. They managed the logistics of four waste audits at four facilities in four states seamlessly. They were a pleasure to communicate with and made themselves available at short notice for project updates and were responsive to email queries. Their experience, expertise and knowledge gave us confidence that we were in good hands,” said one respondent.

Another stated that they, “would like to take this time to commend Donald from EnviroCom. He has always provided outstanding service to our organisation. Donald has a great communication style, and he isvery personable and quick to respond to questions. Furthermore, his audits, reporting, and workshops are of a very high standard”.

“I find MRA Consulting Group to be extremely professional and thorough in their approach to all the waste-related projects we have worked on together. I can highly recommend them,” said yet another. And then there was praise for EnviroCom Australia; “EnviroCom Australia team has been instrumental in the facilitation and success of our waste education program, with schools and early learning centre waste reduction and recovery measurement and data collection plus regional waste audits, and so much more,” the participant said.

Another handed out a brickbat of sorts when commenting on some of the charges set out by some firms. “It has sometimes been noticed that minor changes to design attract expensive variation claims from consultants. Phone consultations on minor works need to be factored in initial project costing in order to avoid such consultation charges once the project is commenced.”

There was also a range of comments aimed at where those that use consultancy services think the providers lay in the waste landscape.

“In a changing waste and recycling landscape, the importance of industry having the support of experienced and knowledgeable consultants is more important than ever. As we push towards a circular economy for recovered resources, a system-wide change to how we manage things like plastic is required, and consultants can help companies navigate this complex landscape. In the process of bringing emerging technology, like advanced recycling online, it is all hands on deck to bring the rapid and bold changes needed to reach our National Waste Targets (particularly an average 80 per cent resource recovery rate),” said one.

Another thought, “consultants are an important player in the waste management industry both from an independent and specialist area of input perspective, not to mention their up-to-date legislative knowledge in their respective speciality area”.

Change in criteria
While the survey is popular and is a good gauge of not only which consultancies are doing well, but also how much spend is out there, things can always be done better. Next year we are tweaking the voting/criteria/collation in line with other industries in how they decide awards.

Changes will be announced in the new year.

CONSULTANTS’ WINNERS LIST

Small Firms

Waste Auditing

  • A.Prince Consulting
  • MRA Consulting Group
  • EC Sustainable

Logistics

  • A.Prince Consulting
  • MRA Consulting Group
  • Talis Consultants

Landfill

  • MRA Consulting Group
  • Talis Consultants
  • InSitu Advisory

Design

  • SMEC Australia
  • Talis Consultants
  • InSitu Advisory

Technology

  • MRA Consulting Group
  • Arcadis Australia
  • A.Prince Consulting

Strategy

  • MRA Consulting Group
  • A.Prince Consulting
  • Jackson Environmental Planning

Modelling

  • InSitu Advisory
  • MRA Consulting Group
  • A.Prince Consulting

Education

  • EnviroCom
  • MRA Consulting Group
  • A.Prince Consulting

Environmental Compliance

  • MRA Consulting Group
  • Talis Consultants
  • A.Prince Consulting

Environmental Approvals

  • MRA Consulting Group
  • InSitu Advisory
  • SMEC Australia

Procurement

  • Impact Environmental Consulting
  • A.Prince Consulting
  • MRA Consulting Group

Large Firms

Waste Auditing

  • GHD
  • Terra Sana Consultants
  • Eunomia

Logistics

  • SLR Consulting Australia
  • Arup
  • GHD

Landfill

  • Golder
  • GHD
  • SLR Consulting Australia

Design and Engineering

  • GHD
  • Golder
  • Arup

Technology

  • SLR Consulting Australia
  • Enviropacific Services
  • Arup

Strategy and Planning

  • GHD
  • Arup
  • Aargus

Modelling

  • Arup
  • GHD
  • SLR Consulting Australia

Education

  • Golder
  • Terra Sana Consultants
  • GHD

Environmental Compliance

  • GHD
  • Golder
  • SLR Consulting Australia

Environmental Approvals

  • GHD
  • Golder
  • Arup

Procurement

  • GHD
  • SLR Consulting Australia
  • Golder

 

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