"Under the theme Partnering for Growth, CESA is endeavouring to partner with the public sector in an effort to resolve some of the capacity issues that are causing logjams," Pirie said. "As an industry, we wish to be seen as our clients' trusted advisers. Therefore, we are trying to match private sector capacity with public sector incapacity to resolve the problems caused by the migration of skills out of the public sector."
He said the industry had developed a procurement model that encouraged long-term partnerships between consulting engineering firms and clients.
"The aim is to create informed clients, as this not only speeds up project delivery, but also helps to ensure that both parties are in rapport and have a true understanding of each other's needs and responsibilities," Pirie said.
There are two prongs to the industry's approach: helping the public sector to attract qualified and skilled professionals, and mentoring personnel.
However, lack of capacity is but one factor constricting the project delivery pipeline. CESA is concerned about the level of corruption that exists within the industry - particularly at local authority level.
"CESA has developed an Integrity Pact which we have presented to the Construction Industry Development Board, and we will do the same with Business Unity South Africa (Busa) and ultimately Nedlac. Client and service provider sign a pact and commit themselves to good governance during the procurement process," Pirie said.
The industry is also concerned about the apparent disregard for quality as a major factor in assessing tenders.
"Present legislation requires procurement to be done on the basis of price and empowerment.
"However, we would like to have quality/expertise/experience incorporated into the procurement process so that when tenders are being evaluated, the service providers' qualifications and experience are taken into account," Pirie said.