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Re: Design fee guidelines

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Whether the client sees "quality engineering" as value added or
"overdesign" is often a function of the client's relation to the project.
 A corporate or business client who is building for their own long-term
use may certainly listen to "value" arguements, particularly if they have
experienced the sad results of "minimum code" structures.  A developer,
on the other hand, usually finds it hard to charge extra for lease, rent,
or sale of a "better structure".

Perhaps we need to understand who our client is, and market our services
accordingly.  If your prospective client is of the low-bid-gets-the-job
mentality on a speculative development, and your service is "quality" and
"value", or state-of-the-art, you are probably selling in the wrong
marketplace.  Find a client who will value what you have to sell.

Russ Nester
On Wed, 4 Nov 1998 10:47:59 -0800 "Bill Allen, S.E."
<Bill(--nospam--at)> writes:
 In a lot of cases, the "better" the structural engineering, 
>higher the construction costs are. This is often due to the fact that 
>"good" structural design considers ALL the elements of the building 
>code as
>well as some judicious consideration of performance issues not 
>mandated by code. While this may be a rational approach (by the design
>engineer as well as legal representation), the owner often interprets 
>methodology as "over engineering".
>To compensate, I believe we need to provide an ever expanding effort 
>educate our clients with regards to "features and benefits" of a well
>engineered structure. IMO, it would be prudent to become service 
>and abandon "my way or the highway" attitude found in many engineering
>firms. Those firms who appreciate and understand construction methods 
>incorporate those considerations into their plans will generally have 
>a more
>grateful clientele.
>Again, just my $0.02 and my opinion
>Bill Allen
>-----Original Message-----
>From: GRileyPE(--nospam--at) [mailto:GRileyPE(--nospam--at)]
>Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 1998 10:26 AM
>To: seaint(--nospam--at)
>Subject: Re: Design fee guidelines
>Dennis, et al.
>I couldn't take it anymore and I had to jump in. Fees can be addressed 
>in a
>variety of ways. In my days at corporate hell (i.e. any organization 
>than 100 employees), the fees were figured based opun actual manhours 
>multiplier (usually 2.65). This number was then compared to the total
>construction cost. Since the competition were bidding in a similar 
>all washed out.
>However, in the world of micro-hell, this is not possible since many 
>of us
>not believe that we have the power to dictate our fees, but rather 
>that the
>market determines our fees (in other words when an owner says that the 
>outrageous and they can get it for less we fold. Half a loaf being 
>none). So we work for $1.99/hour.
>What needs to be done is better negotiations. Owners (they ultimately 
>bills) view engineering as a line item on a bid similar to a quantitiy 
>concrete. Therefore, their first reaction is to take the lesser bid. 
>But, at
>this point, it must be shown that the structural engineering design 
>a large percentage of the construction cost well over the design fee. 
>this in mind, show the owner that your services (not fees) will result 
>in a
>less expensive structural cost through value engineering and a good 
>set of
>plans that will limit the time and money lost due to change orders,
>clarifications, etc. If the owner can be convinced that the structural
>services (not fees) that you are proposing will lower the project's 
>cost, then a reasonable owner will pay the premium for the service. If 
>still can't be convinced, you don't want to work for them.
>Remember, it is services and not fees that you must sell to the 
>clients. And
>if you don't believe me, ask Richard Meier what he got to do the 
>Greg Riley PE

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