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RE: Design fee guidelines

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This is in line with my area (Palm Springs California). The problem with
contracting directly with the owner is that in the majority of cases the
owner has no conception of what an engineer does. I recently had a homeowner
who I contracted with directly at the request of the architect, get very
angry because he felt I was holding is project up. He wanted to know why I
could not simply finish the letter or report I needed to give the city in
order for him to get a permit.
I'm serious - he had not conception that my fee included design drawings,
details, calculations and specifications. He honestly thought that the
architect provided the total design and that I simply checked it and wrote a
letter to the city. He believed that $2,500 was outrages for engineering
services but that engineers in the area must be holding the public up to
charge so much for a letter.

So, when is the engineering community going to invest money into the
education of the public:>)

Dennis Wish PE

BTW, this same client threatened to visit the city with a shotgun unless
they expedited his plan check cycle. The amazing thing was that he was a
retired public works employee from San Francisco.

-----Original Message-----
From: BSmithSE(--nospam--at) [mailto:BSmithSE(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, November 05, 1998 7:13 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Design fee guidelines

I do believe working for architects lowers structural fee.  Frequently,
architects will work for glory than as a business and thus sharing their low
fees with us necessitate choosing a structural consultant based on lowest
not competence.

Whenever I can, I encourage my architect clients to omit structural fees in
the contract with their client.  This way, the architect doesn't pay our
and frees them from choosing a structural consultant solely on lowest fee.
Frequently, an architect will recommend to the client to sign me up even
though my fee wasn't the lowest.

For new custom homes, 1.0 - 1.5% of total estimated construction cost or
-- 1.75/s.f.    seems reasonable based on amount of hours we normally spend.
But lately, we been losing projects at this rate.

Recently, I bid couple of commercial projects (not repetitive type like
ups) based on 1% of total construction cost (excluding site prep. work) and
lost both times to large and established firms.  The architect told me the
fees he received and they were in the 3/4% range.

Brad Smith