Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: AISC Seminar/ Does the Client really want a cheaper steel frame?

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Your points are well taken here at AISC. Personally, I think you've hit the 
nail on the head about cost perceptions. The AISC seminar you referenced is 
primarily technical and focused toward engineers and other technical 
entities. We are also trying to communicate a compatible (and less 
technical) message about what makes steel economical to owners, architects, 
construction managers, general contractors, estimators and other 
non-technical entities through our Marketing Department.

Thanks for your advice.


On Monday, February 15, 1999 9:32 AM, Mark K Gilligan 
[SMTP:MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)] wrote:
> AISC  has sent out announcements for a seminar entitled "Essentials of
> Steel Design Economy".  One of  the listed course benefits listed is "The
> course also shows you when increasing steel weight you can actually 
> cost".
> Although it can be cheaper to use more steel, my experience is that  this
> is not the way to satisfy the Owner.  Owners/Architects typically 
> the construction estimate with the assistance of a professional 
> and as long as the Contractor will agree to build the project for that
> price or less everybody is happy.
>  In my experience professional estimators are either not sophisticated
> enough to take into account the cost of details or for other reasons base
> their estimate on an average cost per ton. Remember the fabricator is
> typically not involved in estimating the costs at the SD, DD, or CD 
>   The end result is that if you follow AISC's advice you will produce a
> heavier building and in the eyes of the Architect and Owner a more
> expensive building.  You may make the point that it is actually cheaper 
> design a  slightly heavier structure but the estimate for this "cheaper"
> frame will come back higher and you will be criticized.  Because we want 
> satisfied client it is often easier to design to minimize the weight
> because this is what they believe is important.
> In spite of this we should still try to give the client a more cost
> effective building but the point being that you can only do so much to
> educate the client.   If in spite of our efforts the client still 
> lighter is cheaper then as businessmen we must give the client what he
> believes he wants.
> If the project budget is high enough or if there is some reason why the
> steel weight will be higher than normal, you can sometimes get away with
> designing the "cheaper" structure although the estimates will not 
> the lower cost per pound.  In this way we can give the owner what he 
> wants.
> I suggest that if AISC really wants to make steel more competitive with
> respect to other materials they should be working with the professional
> estimators so that the estimates reflect the actual fabricated costs. 
> this is in place there should be an outreach program to educate 
> and developers since a number of then work with rules of thumb as to how
> many pounds of steel there should be per square foot.  These target 
> create perceptions that can influence client satisfaction as much as and
> sometimes more than the estimated price.
> Once the estimators, architects and owners are educated the engineers 
> modify their designs to reflect the new perception.
> Another manifestation of this problem occurs when a structural system has
> been established but in order to bring money out of the project some of 
> members have been made lighter.  The savings sould be computed based only
> on the cost of the material saved (approx $.30 per pound) as opposed to 
> higher unit price used to estimate the cost of the frame.  Unless you
> change the number of members or the complexity of the detailing the 
> member is not any cheaper to detail, fabricate, or erecet thus to use the
> larger unit price would over estimate the savings.
> I would be interested in other examples where the the market encourages 
> end result at odds with what is supposedly desired.
> Mark Gilligan