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Re: Fee Information Sharing

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Seaintonln(--nospam--at) wrote:
> Please see my comments embedded in your text:
> In a message dated 7/4/99 11:03:37 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
> viacalx(--nospam--at) writes:
> << I agree with most of what you say about fee-sharing.  However, I thought
>  the original problem (for us) started in the 70's with the Justice Dept.
>  forcing the ASCE to no longer publish fee as %% of Cost curves.
>  Several other thoughts you discussed:
>  1.     Generic details (assuming they work) are good.  Repeatability lowers
>  cost, and contractors get used to using them and are generally better at
>  building them.  I worked for a firm that did a LOT of tilt-up design
>  work and repeated several details on all jobs.  One of the local steel
>  fab shops, who sold to many of the tilt-up contractors, would have
>  workers fab up panel bottom connectors when work was otherwise slow.
>  They knew the connectors would be used soon when another tilt job came
>  along.
> ** There are always standard details which represent conventional
> construction or interpretations of the written code (ie, double plate
> splices). However, too many engineers rely upon a standards sheet consisting
> of generic details that they expect covers all conditions - and the majority
> do not. Either the physical constraints of the design do not allow strict
> interpretation of the generic detail or the designer assumes that the
> contractor will know how to work around the physical problems.
> I have seen details sheets of twenty details or more where the engineer has
> simply crossed out those that he felt were inadequate and left the rest.
> The major problem comes when the detail represents a drag or chord or is to
> convey an load path. In this case every connection has to be verified so that
> the correct loads are passed and the straps or materials used have the
> capacity to transfer the loads.
> I was pretty clear in my post that there are always standard details apply,
> but in wood framed wood construction where there is a great amount of
> creativity by the architect, a project can not be adequately represented by
> generic details.***
>  2.     When the contractors low-bid those retrofit jobs, did their redesign
>  figure (and make sense), or not?  If they could design/build for less
>  then more power to them.  If they were cutting too many corners, then I
>  would expect our profession to discuss the problem w/ local building
>  officials and some control mechanism created - like adequate plan check.
> *** The types of tricks used in URM retrofit include the following:
> A design/construct firm is hired (or a contractor that provides engineering
> under  separate contract). Two sets of drawings are produced - one which
> represents the actual scope of work and another which represents an excessive
> overdesign. The design/build firm has a contract that allows the owner to
> obtain competitive bidding and provides the drawings that are overdesigned.
> The original design/construct firm low bids to assure that he gets the work,
> however, his low bid still represents a far greater profit over the well
> designed set. Of course, the design construct firm gets the contract and
> proceeds to submit the original set.
> Trick two, An engineer is hired because of his reputation and the owners
> trust in his ability. The contractor experienced in URM work identified those
> area's of design that could be eliminated or reduced in scope that will meet
> code but may not be what the original engineer wanted. The contractor bids
> the project based upon his redesigned scope of work. The original engineer is
> out of the picture and the contractor submits the redesign without the owners
> approval.
> I've seen every game in the book. This is what killed many good
> design/construct firms that could not compete with the games. In the end, the
> owner really only cared to take the low bid and you know that in this game,
> you get what you paid for.****
>  When I look around our society, at the degree of standardization in
>  consumer products and drive to lower costs, I'm amazed that more of this
>  hasn't crept into our industry.  Mobile homes and metal buildings have
>  only scratched the surface.  Should we thank the selling ability of
>  architect's for the design diversity out there?
> *** I can see how in certain types of design there is room for
> standardization. I don't agree in area's of design such as wood construction
> where there is a great deal of architectural creativity involved. I
> specialize in this area and I think that there are approximately twenty of
> thirty "typical details" per job an closer to sixty specific details required
> to complete the job.
> I think we need to be very careful and responsible when we balance our design
> with a degree of standardization or provide the use of "Typical" type
> details. There are those that apply and there are those that don't but which
> are often abused to get the job out the money in.****
> Dennis
>  Laurence Oeth, P.E >>
I didn't mean to imply that use of standard details relieves us of our
responsibility to properly present the design requirements.  I
absolutely concur w/ your thoughts on detailing, esp on the load path.  
My thoughts on standardization apply to designing according to
standardized concepts/systems to lower cost but maintain quality. 
Clearly in one-off creative geometry this is not appropriate...but 95%
of the U.S population can't afford that approach (much less the rest of
the world).

Laurence Oeth, P.E.