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RE: Fee Information Sharing

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I absolutely agree! There is another factor too, the shortage of engineers
in the market relative to the demand. That should push up prices as well.
Steve Strapac

-----Original Message-----
From: chuckuc [mailto:chuckuc(--nospam--at)dnai.com]
Sent: Sunday, August 29, 1999 7:22 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Fee Information Sharing



Dennis-
I've done a small survey of residential engineering design fees here in
Marin Co.
and would like to compare notes. These are large two or three story homes
($400,000 to $1,000,000+)on sloped sites with pier and grade beam
foundations.
Engineering time is billed in the $100 to $150 per hour range.   Structural
design fees run around $1.50 to $1.75 per square foot (the 97 UBC seismic
seems
to have added about an extra $.25 to $.50). Structural drawings add another
$.25
to $.35.  Trussed roofs knock off about $500.

     Most engineers don't seem to be very comfortable about discussing fees
(either in large companies or private practice).  I was fascinated by the
outcry
about an engineering firm that suggested that the local Building Department
enforce the current code provisions. IMHO we should be encouraging local
CBO's to
fully enforce code provisions. In my forensic work I've seen a pretty wide
range
of quality in analyses, but only on rare occasions has it sunk to the level
of
negligence.  ( I also suspect our standards and level of scrutiny are much
higher
than for other  professionals.) Everyone is better off when the Buiding
Officials
do a thorough job of plan check and inspection, we ought to do what we can
to
assist the process.

    Comparing our fee/liability situation with attorneys it seems like we
are
underpricing our services.  Attorneys bill T&M, make no promises about the
outcome of their work, bill for research, and often do very poor work--but
try to
find a good one who will work for $100 per hour.  They aren't smarter or
better
trained than engineers, and they seem to be a glut on the market, but they
make a
lot more money with less liability.  Is it because they are better
promoters?  It
would seem that now that everybody is busy, and with the new code
provisions, we
should be raising our billing rates.  If people don't want to pay engineers
to
design their homes, they can live in simple rectangular boxes that conform
to
Conventional framing requirements.  Instead of complaining about how poorly
the
carpenters are building, why not push for better inspections?

    I haven't opened this thread as an invitation to whine about how abused
we
are.  If other professions are better compensated, that's our fault not
theirs.
Lately, society seems to be more aware of the importance of  building's
structural integrity.  It seems like now is a good time for a substantial
increase in rates.  Comments?
Chuck Utzman, P.E.