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RE: Uncooperative owner

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I have had good and bad results with the method. For the most part, building
officials will not support me by simply removing me as EOR based upon a
letter once the permit is issued. The building official does not want to
increase his paperwork simply to assure that I receive payment.
Assuming you remove yourself as EOR, there is nothing stopping the building
official from recognizing the problem and allowing the builder to hire
another engineer to address problems that arise on an individual basis -
this has been done repeatedly in my area.
Second, it does not stop your client from building the project without your
control - not a smart move but one that is also common. This is especially
true of the type of client that you describe since he probably feels that
the engineering is nothing more than a formality to get the permit and he
intends to build it anyway he chooses.

What I would do is "get revenge". While I threaten to sue for the money, I
would visit the job under construction and nit pick every construction
method. Go for the throat - send the building inspector reports that
identify every error and discrepency. The report will generally be followed
by the building inspector who will require adherence to every detail and to
the EOR's correction list. In many cases, this will require an approved
detail change from the EOR which you simply do not provide until you have
been paid in full. Then charge him up front for detail changes that you have
to spend the time to correct. He can't hire another engineer to make the
changes without you releasing the intellectual rights to your design and
removing yourself as EOR once the discrepencies are identified.
Don't even think about future work with this jerk - he isn't worth it. Get
what's comming to you and then some.
I have done this a few times and found it to be very effective.

Dennis Wish PE

|-----Original Message-----
|From: HARRISENGR(--nospam--at) [mailto:HARRISENGR(--nospam--at)]
|Sent: Thursday, February 12, 1998 9:05 PM
|To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
|Subject: Re: Uncooperative owner
|In a message dated 98-02-11 21:48:38 EST, you write:
|<<  I am considering sending a letter to the building
| department, with a copy to the client saying that I no longer take
| responsibility for this project. >>
|     I would have no problem doing this but the building official may not
|able to do anything. While the code now defines " engineer of record " it
|not advise the building official of what to do in your situation so most
|just do nothing.
|     It is worth a try and i feel there should be no guilt . This is a two
|lane road where the client wanted a fast / cheap/ excellent design from you
|return for PAYMENT  that was mutually agreed to prior to start, i assume.
|      I have found collection agencies moderately successful . For about
|$400.00 per year they "go after " late payers and are successful on the
|that we have solid contracts with and there was no dispute ( they claim a
|problem with services). If it goes to court ( almost never ) they get 50%.
|     Tom Harris, SE
|     Thousand Oaks, CA