How Mechanical Engineering Differs from Mechanical Contracting, Part Two

mechanical-engineering-mechanical-contracting-2Turnabout is fair play, and since our previous blog post addressed who mechanical engineers are and what they do, this one focuses on mechanical contractors—you know, those practical professionals who put the plans of multidisciplinary mechanical engineers into motion.

Idea vs. Execution

Mechanical engineers think of ways to produce and distribute energy, the processing of materials, control and automation of manufacturing systems, and the design and development of both machines and the environment. But without execution, their plans would remain on the page—it takes mechanical contractors to turn their bright ideas into reality. It could be said mechanical contractors tackle projects with both brawn and brains since these hands-on workers regularly handle piping, line installation and custom steel fabrication.

Say, for example, your company needs to create a design on a mezzanine where products and equipment will be set up. If you give this job to an engineering firm, chances are you will wait three to four weeks for just their drawn plans, opposed to straight-away hiring a mechanical contractor, who will have physically installed the area in that same amount of time. Not only will the mechanical contractor turn the project around in less time, it will be 18-20% less expensive since, unlike mechanical engineers, they don’t sublet the physical work to another company for execution.

Mechanical Engineer vs. Mechanical Contractor

Simply stated, mechanical contractors implement the design, manufacturing and operation of components, devices or systems generated by mechanical engineers. If problems within these systems occur, companies don’t need to revert back to square one by contacting the mechanical engineer who designed it since mechanical contractors are trained to identify and resolve system issues.

In other words, if your facility needs to audit its waste water drain system or if it needs an entirely new system designed, you would seek the expertise of a mechanical engineer. But if you need to make changes to a system that is already in operation with an established process in place, a mechanical contractor can handle the job. Even though we didn’t design the system, we can easily make modifications such as replacing an old inefficient pump with a new pump to rectify the bottleneck slowing down the system.

Working with Others

While mechanical engineers and contractors often work independently of each other, there can be situations that require input from both. When needed, these professionals will work side-by-side, applying the unique assets each brings to the table.

Sometimes a place at that table will also need to be filled by another engineering professional, a chemical engineer. If the situation pertains to chemical reactions, a chemical engineer will be able to ask the right questions, offer the right answers and successfully find the right solution. But in the end, a mechanical contractor will still be on the job applying that solution.

Whether working solo or with mechanical and chemical engineers, mechanical contractors and their much needed services are valued by facilities across the nation. Let TMS Inc. handle all your mechanical contracting needs. To learn more, visit