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RE: duplication of plans

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Brian,
I really wish I had you out in the desert here to market for me - I'd be
doing great. The sad reality is that you can only get what the market will
bear. The competition is tough both within the Coachella Valley and close by
(much of the work goes to outside services). The fee I indicated in my post
is in par with this area.
I believe that the primary consideration in our profession is to insure that
we have work. Most tract developements require the stamp of a professional
architect or engineer. In these cases you may be correct in trying to get
90% of your original fee, but this is simply not reasonable in my area. 50%
is the max and more realistically the fee's are closer to 25%.
The driving factor, in my case, is not the duplication fee, but the choice
that the client has to eliminate the engineer and architect entirely and to
stick to the conventional framing standards. My client is not building a
tract development. The company has purchased 80 individual homesites in my
neighborhood and is building 80 individual homes which are pre-sold to low
income families.
If the duplication fee, the original engineering fee, and the increased
construction cost to upgrade the wind or seismic strength of these homes in
compliance with chapter 16 provisions is taken into consideration, there is
a point where the project cost exceeds what the low income family can
financially bear.
When this occurs, the client will eliminate the professionals and upgrades
and build in accordance with the conventional framing standards of the 94
UBC. This is allowed by the local building official and won't be eliminated
until adoption of the IBC.
I live and work within the same small community that the homes are being
constructed. Our area is mixed - some higher end homes and many lower end
single family residences. I don't wish to see either degrade the quality of
the neighborhood and potential growth of my community. I have tried to do
much with my local building officials to improve construction quality, which
has suffered due to poor inspection practices and a general acceptance of
traditional construction to be in compliance with minimum code standards.
Homes that are designed by engineers are constructed with more attention to
connections than those assumed to be in compliance with conventional framing
standards. The problem is that local inspectors still have not completed all
of their ICBO Inspection classes and do not know how to recognize
discontinuities in load paths (both at the counter plan check or in the
field). Seldom are homes constructed without mistakes, and when conventional
framing is used, comprimises to corrections are often made between
contractor and building inspector without the advice of an engineer or
architect. Right or wrong, this is reality here.
There are currently 1,000 homes in my community called the Cove. There is
room for another 500 or so. I do not want my neighbors to suffer from
unnecessary damage that might occur. This can be avoided - even on a low
income home - with some basic inspection practices.
It's worth it to me to assure the community has quality, low cost homes that
are not only safe, but have taken the extra few dollars needed to insure
proper construction quality.
No one gains when those providing homes are forced to cut corners to work
within the families budget or those who wish to maximize their profit
margins on low cost housing. The best we can offer the families that live in
these homes is our experience - and that is always in the best interest of
our profession.

Sincerely,
Dennis Wish PE