Inside Waste Consultants’ Review

Who are Australia’s leading consultants in the waste and recycling industry? To answer this question, Inside Waste asked industry and government exactly that. The inaugural Inside Waste Consultants Survey was established to gauge the market.

It first asked organisations which waste consultancies had completed the largest volume of projects and the highest value of contracts with them in the last two years. Respondents were asked to pick from a list of 15 service multi-disciplinary providers or nominate ‘other’.

The survey then asked respondents to rank the consultancies based on their expertise in a number of key areas, regardless of whether they had used them or not. In addition, they were asked to rank a selection of boutique consultancies based on their expertise in both technical fields and strategy.

Analysis of the admittedly limited number of 44 responses across industry and all levels of government revealed a clear leader. GHD was consistently cited as having the most expertise across all the service categories and was particularly strong in landfill design and engineering. It had the highest value of work and tied with Impact Environmental for the most projects.

Coming in closely behind GHD was Hyder Consulting, who dominated the areas of ‘Strategy, Policy & Planning’ and performed well in policy development. Other consistent higher performers were Golder Associates, SLR and Coffey Environments.

While the survey did reveal preferences for certain consultancies, many respondents said they had sought the services of a consultancy not listed in the 15 large or nine specialist consultancies. This suggests a great diversity of smaller consultancies offering services to the waste industry.

The survey also offered respondents an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback. General comments on commissioning consultants included “smaller specialist consultants provide a more personalised service and report, where you have a well defined project”.

As always, there was also some skepticism about consultants in general. “Most firms promise the earth, and charge it, and in the end most is common sense,” said one respondent, while another commented that it was a pity consultants took work at all, saying such commissions “takes out of the hands of the local community the control and input into all facets of the projects”.