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Re: 97 Code is a Life Safety Standard

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Subj:   Re: Salary Survey
Date:   9/27/1999 11:05:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From:   <A HREF="mailto:Seaintonln";>Seaintonln</A>
To: <A 
HREF="mailto:MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)compuserve.com">MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)compuserve.com</A>

In a message dated 9/26/1999 8:42:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)compuserve.com writes:

<< The other part of the equation is to educate all participants in the market
 place that certain practices such as low fees and bidding for work based on
 price are self distructive and not viable in the long term.  It is also
 important for people to be able to visualize how they can change their
 current practices, otherwise they are likely to maintain their current
 practices with which they have a certain comfort level.
 
 Recommended fee schedules are not the answer, rather they are a cop-out.
 
 Mark Gilligan >>

I don't think there is a practicality in trying to educate the clients if 
they are not suppliers of repeat business. If they are, they most likely 
start to shop at the urging of their clients rather than their loyalty to the 
engineer. I'm not really argueing this one inasmuch as my clients will try to 
accomodate me as much as possible because of their knowledge of my ability as 
well as the savings that are realized in construction that are the result of 
an extra effort up front.

I disagree with your comments about the feds. Unfortunately, the 
misinterpretation of this event sent most engineers scrabling and silent 
about the discussion of fee's and services. It is not illegal in any manner 
to discuss or even to set a fee schedule. It is illegal, however, to purposly 
prevent another from practicing by mandating compliance to a set of fees. 
What this does is to prevent competition and this is where SEAONC got into 
trouble over their recommendations years ago. I don't have the facts at hand, 
but I am sure that it was not as simple as discussing or even agreeing on 
adequate fees for services performed. There was a restraint of trade or of 
competition involved in the infraction of the law.
Possibly Chuck Greenlaw can enlighten us again on this issue so that those 
who are interested can understand that the law is not as restrictive as many 
of us believe it is.
Setting a fee schedule for services is not the deterent since the time 
required to complete a project based on these fee's will differ from office 
to office. However, if another engineer wants to come in at a lower price - 
so be it. The difference is that the competition will be closer to the 
suggested range of fees rather than radically different.
What this would accomplish, in my opinion, is a bit more security in the 
engineer / client relationship as the client will understand that the 
variations in fee's may not warrant shopping for the low price with each 
project and allowing the client the ability to convince his client that there 
is not sufficient savings in cost to start a new professional relationship.
With this said, any engineer who does not perform competitivly risks work.

I'm not suggesting that it is a solution, but the lowest bidders have, in my 
opinion, no idea of what their competition is doing or they would be able to 
get the same job for much less difference in fee's.

Dennis