/ '| From the Desk ()_________)
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(__) Dennis S. Wish PE
Dear SEAINT Listservice,
I attended a meeting of the Consulting Structural Engineers Society in Los
Angeles two weeks ago. I was pleased to be invited as the guest speaker and
found that I had much in common with the majority of the members who attended.
Before I get to my question, I would like to recommend CSES (which is now a
symbiotic partner to SEAOSC - representing their business chapter). CSES
represents the practical business concerns of engineers and has been around ,
as I understand it, since the 1940's. Their dues are very reasonable and
their goals are to address the business side of structural engineering. I
highly recommend this group as being worthy of your membership.
One of the traditions, again as I understand it as an outsider, was to pass
around an architectural package and explanation of engineering scope of work.
All of the engineers participating in this dinner meeting were asked to bid
on the services. The results were announced during the dinner and a small
discussion about the range of fee's resulted.
We have discussed these same concerns on our list but many feel that we are
close to overstepping ourselves by discussing a taboo topic. After attending
this meeting, I realized that we have every right to discuss our fee's and
even to determine where our fee's should lie in relationship to the work
The example project had a range of fees from less than 0.75% toover 2.5 % of
the construction cost. The average in the meeting was closer to 1% which was
considered by most in the meeting to be below par. The individual who
presented the fee ranges indicated that he believed we should be getting
closer to 1.5% of construction cost for services depending upon the
difficulty of the scope of work.
How can we expect to meet this goal if we are not allowed to discuss fee
ranges or set a range of fee's that accurately represents the amount of
compensation that we believe we deserve as a professional group.
Why are other fee's (law, medical, insurance, cost of goods etc.) established
within appropriate ranges but we are restricted from discussing our services?
Is this a real concern or is a perceived threat that prevents us from
determining an appropriate range of fees that we can all live within?
I believe we should discuss fee's more openly and establish a fair range of
fee's for the services we provide.
Dennis S. Wish PE
Dennis S. Wish PE
Structural Engineering Consultant