Business of Consulting Engineering


Course Structure and Schedules Curriculum How To Apply
Course structure  Curriculum Timetable
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Learner Outcomes Admission Requirements Timetable
Learner outcomes Admission requirements 
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Course Structure and Schedules

Business of Consulting Engineering includes three Business subjects and one core Project Delivery subject.

Each programme consists of three trimesters, which commence with a one week block release module taking place at the SCE in Johannesburg. Each module runs from Monday through Friday and includes contact teaching and along with group and one-on-one sessions.

Modules for the current course are scheduled as follows:

Block week 1: 5-9 March 2018
Block Week 2: 28 May – 1 June 2018
Block Week 3: 13 – 17 August 2018

With a “portfolio of evidence” based on the assignments and a final written exam to be completed end 2016.

The time between the Modules, approximately 13 weeks in duration, is used for self and workplace learning. Assessments take place shortly before the end of each trimester, with the final written exam venue being at the SCE or at a venue at each Branch to facilitate Members throughout the country.

Participants are required to demonstrate a high standard of competence according to the required outcome. 



Consulting Engineering Business  (Business Economics, Professional Practice and Management):

  • Consulting engineering industry overview
  • Structure of consulting engineering firms
  • ECSA, CESA, FIDIC, CIDB and the learned institutions
  • Codes of conduct
  • Introduction to economics, markets, and supply and demand
  • Communication, report writings negotiation, problem solving, conflict management relationship management, team work, liaison and coordination personal relations, networking, negotiating and report writing
  • Quality and risk management
  • Business integrity, morals and ethics.
  • Principles of sustainability

Finance (Introduction to accounting and financial planning)

Introduction to Accounting:

  • Basic accounting principles and practice
  • Accounting rules and definitions
  • The accounting process
  • Income statement: income, gross profit, net profit/loss.
  • Balance sheet: assets, liabilities and owners equity.
  • Cash vs profit, cash flow management, working capital management.
  • Key ratios: profitability, liquidity, efficiency, solvency.

Project Financial Administration

  • Estimating, bills of quantity, and budgeting
  • Principles of inflation and escalation
  • Principles of life cycle costing and amortization.
  • Principles of capital budgeting, present value, discounted future values.
  • Contract financial administration.

Managing Project Income and Costs

  • Fees: fixed (lump sum) vs time based vs percentage of cost of works.
  • Project income: percentage complete, work in progress, invoicing, VAT, accounts receivable, debtor days.
  • Project costing: timesheets, salary multiplier, expenses and reimbursable
  • Project profitability.
  • KPI’s (turnover per person, profit per person, utilisation rate.)


Introduction to South African Law:

  • Roman Dutch Law and the South African legal system
  • Law of delict, law of contract.
  • Legal structure of business enterprises, sole trader, partnership, private company, public listed company.
  • Procurement legislation.
  • BEE legislation.
  • Public vs private sector procurement and the CIDB Standard for Uniformity in Construction
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations.

Procurement of Professional Services and the Professional Services Agreement:

  • Client/Consultant professional services agreement
  • Joint venture agreement
  • Sub-Consultancy agreement

Conditions of Contract for Construction

  • Forms of contract: GCC, JBCC, FIDIC, NEC
  • The role of ‘the Engineer’

Project Delivery (the process of managing an engineering project throughout the entire project cycle)

  • Introduction to the concept of project management
  • The project cycle
  • ECSA and PROCSA Guideline Scope of Services and the duties of the consulting engineer
  • ISO 9001 and Quality Management, project planning, control and resource management
  • Risk management and risk assessments
  • ISO 9001 and Quality Management
  • Project inception and registration
  • Liaison, communications, and meetings
  • Programming
  • Time Management
  • Client/consultant activities
  • External and site factors
  • Financial (cost estimating, control and reporting)
  • Health and safety
  • Design (drawings, calculations, specification, schedules and coordination)
  • Contractual and procurement
  • Contract administration
  • Completion and close-out
  • Operation and maintenance
  • Project review and client feedback procedures.

BCE Development Programme Indicative Timetable



First Contact Session


Session 1

                                Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Module 1: Consulting Engineering Environment


Programme Introduction and Orientation,

Talk by past student,


Consulting Engineering Overview,  Role of Learned Institutions, Structure of Consulting Engineering Firms,  Codes of Conduct, Business Integrity, Morals and Ethics


Communication cont….
student introductions

Negotiation Skills


Introduction to business economics

Economics applied to Consulting Engineering

Team Work


Risk and Quality Management, Liability and Negligence


Technical and Business Report Writing

Module 2: Project Delivery (1)


The concept of Project Delivery

The Project Cycle


Performing in a Project (Planning and Programming, Project Control

Performing in a Project (Risk and Quality Management)

Introduction to Case Study

Second Contact Session


Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Module 2: Project Delivery (2)


Review and Coaching: Individual and Group evaluation, presentations, portfolio/assignment support and reviews. Case Study…….

Performing in a Project (Project Inception, Client Relationships, Liaison, Communication and Meetings)

Performing in a Project (Problem Solving)


Performing in a Project (External and Site Factors, Design Processes)

Performing in a Project (Design Changes, Document Control)

Performing in a Project (Contractual and Procurement)

Interpersonal Skills (Stress Management)

Module 3: Law


Introduction to South African legal system

Legislative requirements of the Public Sector

Health and Safety Issues


Procurement: Professional Services

Professional Services Agreements

CIDB Prescripts and SFU for Construction

Conditions of Contract for Construction


Applications of the Conditions of Contract for Construction

Introduction to South African Legal system cont…..


Third Contact Session


Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Module 4: Finance


Review and Coaching: Individual and Group evaluation, presentations, portfolio/assignment support and reviews.

Performing in a Project: Construction Administration/ Site Inspection/ Project Close- out

Stress in the Workplace/Conflict Management


Financial Accounting and Practice: Accounting Principals and ractice /Income Statement and Balance Sheet

WEDNESDAYFinancial Accounting and Practice: Cash Flow and Working Capital/ Key Financial Indicators
Module 2: Project Delivery (3)
THURSDAYManaging a Consulting Project (Income, Costs and Profitability)Financial Administration of a Conatruction ProjectPerforming in a Project (Construction Administration, Site Inspection, Project Close-out)
FRIDAYConsulting Project Financial Performance: Project Expenses KPIs, Budgets, ReportsAssignments/BCE Exam/ Closing Session

How to apply

Business of Consulting Engineering (BCE)

Before you apply of the BCE programme please note that you will need to commit to the following:

Every student must:

  • Have a dedicated Mentor
    • This can be the student’s supervisor or boss and in the case of an own business, another Consulting Engineer (Pr Eng or Pr Tech Eng) from another CESA member firm)
  • Attend all 3 contact sessions/block weeks
  • Complete 2/3 assignments each week
  • Write a final exam at the end of the year
  • Pay all registration fees before the programme starts (no exceptions)

STEP 1 – Applying for Registration

  • Complete the on-line application form
  • Upload and submit the following documents:
    • A certified copy of the participants degree
    • A brief CV
  • A signed Co- operative agreement between the CESA/SCE, the Employer, and the participant.
  • An automatic acknowledgement will be emailed to the learner confirming that the School of Consulting Engineering (SCE) has received the learner’s application. If the learner does not receive this acknowledgement, please contact the programme co-ordinator on or 011 463-2022.
  • Once the learner’s application has been checked and approved, the learner will be sent a confirmation letter and a Co-operative Agreement to be signed by:
    • Student
    • Mentor
    • Company CEO
  • The signed 'Co-operative Agreement' must be returned to the programme co-ordinator on within 7 working days of registering.

STEP 2 – Invoice

An invoice with the bank account details will be send to you within 3 working days. Should you not receive this invoice, please contact the SCE Bookkeeper on or 011 463-2022

STEP 3 Payment

Full payment is due, no later than two weeks prior to the commencement of the first contact session/block week of the development programme.

(Choose Payment Method)

There are two types of payment options available namely

  • Direct Deposit/EFT
  • Credit card  (Student/Employer needs to come to CESA’s office to process credit card payment)

Payment – Terms & Conditions

  • Payment in full and proof of payment must be sent to the programme co-ordinator on, at least two weeks prior to the commencement of the first contact session/block week of the development programme.
  • A 10% administration fee is payable if you cancel less than 14 working days prior to the start of the module, even if we have not received payment, however a substitute can be made up to 24 hours prior to the start of the programme.
  • In order to secure your place, advance booking is essential.
  • If you fail to attend the module you will be liable for the 100% registration fee.
  • CESA reserves the right to change dates and venues.
  • If no e-mail confirmation is received, please call to confirm.
  • No booking will be considered confirmed until proof of payment has been received.

Step 4 (Final Confirmation)

  • A final confirmation will be send to you 7 days before the block week with all the relevant details.

Contact Us - For further information on how to apply please contact the:

Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA)
P O Box 68482, Bryanston 2021, Johannesburg, South Africa
Building 9, Kildrummy Office Park, c/o Witkoppen and Umhlanga Rd, Paulshof, Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel: +27 11 463 2022
Fax: 086 668 3539 (011) 463 7383

Learner Outcomes

Although each course and each subject will have its own specific and related outcomes, the delegate will develop the following broad outcomes:

  • A sound understanding of the consulting engineering industry and the structure and business of consulting engineering firms, an introduction to economics and market theory, and an appreciation of quality, moral and ethical issues and communication and other interpersonal skills.
  • An introduction to finance, including basic accounting practices and the accounting process, project costing and invoicing, company accounts, budgeting, planning and financial analysis.
  • An introduction to the principles of law and the legal system, legal structures of businesses and the principles of a contract and construction contracts.
  • A sound grounding in all aspects of the entire project delivery process with emphasis on the role played by the consulting engineer, his duties and responsibilities.
  • In essence, the programme will broaden the participant’s knowledge at the level of a tertiary education institution.

Admission Requirements

The requirements for acceptance to the BCE training programme are:

  • BSc/BTech degree with a minimum of 1 - 2 years’ experience in a CESA Member firm or
  • Technical Diploma with a minimum of 5 years’ experience in a CESA Member firm
  • Relevant non–engineering qualification (Finance, HR, Legal) with a minimum 3 years’ experience in a consulting engineering firm.

Applications from students who lack the above basic requirements will be considered, provided these are accompanied by a detailed written motivation from the applicant’s employer. Experience has proven that students without these requirements usually struggle.