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RE: Steel Connection Design Costs

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>how much difference would there be in the Steel fabrication budget
>if a fabricator bid the same job each way: once from a West Coast
>E.O.R. with connections provided and once from an East Coast
>E.O.R. with reactions provided?
This is a tricky question.
I think the best situation from an economy (and a design) standpoint is somewhere in between the two extremes you mentioned. That is, use the engineer's knowledge of the structure and design together with the fabricator's knowledge of how the shop works best and how the building will go together. Of course, in the real world, that's pie in the sky. So back to your question.
This is a gut reaction, but I don't think there will be much of a cost difference between East-coast and West-coast approaches if everything is done properly. Properly? Here's what I mean.
For the East-coast approach, properly means the nature of the framing, connections and connection design requirements have been clearly defined by the engineer of record. A few specifics: Are stiffeners required or not? Can shear tabs be used or not? Are the actual (or at least reasonable) reactions shown on the drawings or is it one of those jobs where the connections can't be made to develop the inflated reaction requirements specified arbitrarily in the contract documents? Economy in this approach is probably inversely proportional to the number of ambiguous and catch-all statements on the contarct documents.
For the West-coast approach, properly means has the engineer of record understands how the components of the building will be fabricated and how the building will go together. A few specifics: Are the connections such that the building can be fabricated in pieces that are shippable and erectable? Are the framing and connection details configured to minimize shop and field labor?
The thoughts above are quick and I probably left a lot of the details out. In the end, I think economy can be had with either system. Economy is probably more a function of how good the communication is with either system. I'd be interested to hear what some of the fabricators and other industry types on this list think.