I would throw this back at the Owner and force a change in perspective. I
would tell the Owner "He is your Contractor, not mine. I am not responsible
for his mistake and should not bear the financial burden. I am your
engineer, not the Contractors. If there is a cost problem then you (Owner)
negotiate the additional services to take it out of the Contractors fee."
You should not have to take the risk for the Owner hiring a Contractor. If
the Owner wants your services for corrections to the work then he should pay
The problem arises when the contractor misses something or has made a change
in construction that requires correction which must be noted in the
structural Observation. My contract calls for Observation fee's to be paid by
the owner and clearly states that the need for additional engineering to
correct errors or justify changes in construction will be billed at an hourly
rate (time and materials).
This is the root of the problem. It creates conflict between the owner and
contractor. The engineer is usually on the short end of the stick in this
case. The owner does not feel obligated to pay the engineer to correct the
contractors error and the contractor tries to cover up the error and blame it
back on the engineer.
Richard Lewis, P.E.
Missionary TECH Team
The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.