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Re: AISC Seminar/ Does the Client really want a cheaper steel frame?[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
- To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
- Subject: Re: AISC Seminar/ Does the Client really want a cheaper steel frame?
- From: "Lanny J. Flynn" <flynn(--nospam--at)aiscmail.com>
- Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 11:19:28 -0800
Mark, I agree that the economy word need to be passed on to the professional estimators or cost consultants. Many times they view fabricated steel as a commodity product and simply perform a quantity take off and multiply by the appropriate $'s/ton and then move on to the drywall. On any given project material can range from $300 to $600 per ton, Labor can range from $200 to $600 per ton bolts welding and supplies can range from $30 to $50 per ton, freight $25 to $100 per ton, shop drawing preparation $80 to $145 per ton and erection $350 to $550 per ton. Focusing designs and details which reduce shop and field labor clearly brings economy to the project (a point often overlooked). Simply plugging in a unit price for typical projects isn't very accurate however as you mentioned this is often used by architects, cost estimators and some engineers. We are trying to get this same message out to contractors and architects. For some additional cost assistance I encourage engineers to call their local fabricator for some assistance in preliminary costs of projects. Hope to see you at the seminar!! -----Original Message----- From: Mark K Gilligan <MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)compuserve.com> To: INTERNET:seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org> Date: Saturday, February 13, 1999 10:30 AM Subject: AISC Seminar/ Does the Client really want a cheaper steel frame? 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 reduce 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 establish the construction estimate with the assistance of a professional estimator, 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 stages. 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 to design a slightly heavier structure but the estimate for this "cheaper" frame will come back higher and you will be criticized. Because we want a 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 believes 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 recognize the lower cost per pound. In this way we can give the owner what he really 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. Once this is in place there should be an outreach program to educate architects 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 weights 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 will 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 the 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 the 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 lighter 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 an end result at odds with what is supposedly desired. Mark Gilligan
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