Over the past years I have done the following.
1. Add a separate line item in your contract for field visits. Be generous!
If the owner cuts you back then you have every right to bill for additional
visits. Explain why you need "X" number of visits. The more complex the
project the more you will have to visit the project.
2. Work out a separate contract with the contractor to make visits or design
fixes for contractor errors. Set this up in advance so that there are no
surprises and he knows and agrees that he will get billed.
3. Never hold up the project or threaten to hold it up. Always be doing
what ever you can to keep it running smoothly. This goes along way with the
owner and the contractor.
4. Occasionally you get a bad owner. You suck it up finish the job and
don't work for them ever again. This happen to me once. We had a second
project already designed for them and we said that we were not going to
handle the C.A. We would see it through the permit process and that's it. It
was better to take that loss then to deal with that owner again. We never
worked for them again and warned others of their tactics.
Mark Harper SE
From: Dennis S. Wish [mailto:dennis.wish(--nospam--at)gte.net]
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2000 9:09 PM
Subject: RE: When do you suspend service
Although I appreciate the other advice I received, I have always followed
your suggestion. Unfortunately, I don't know a good way to protect myself
during construction since I have no formal contract with the builder.
How do others handle observation, and other requested field changes during
construction when the architect will not include them in his fees?
Do any of you use a separate letter of intent during construction to inform
the owner and contractor of your range of fees when required to perform
On the latest project, the plan checker made me add a statement to the
permit set that due to the complexity of the project, the EOR would make
frequent visits to the job site to coordinate and observe various stages of
construction. Now who pays for this?
Dennis S. Wish PE
From: Lynn H [mailto:lhoward(--nospam--at)silcom.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2000 7:41 PM
Subject: When do you suspend service
Do not suspend service, ever (you may want to
threaten, but don't ever really do it). If the
Contractor does not pay, you will have to take him
to court to collect (small claims court if the
amount is small). I advise you do not hold the
project hostage over design fees. Too much to
risk. If everything you say is correct, you will
probably win in court. Chalk it up to the cost of
"Dennis S. Wish" wrote:
> The engineer ends up with three projects originating from three
> Each architects work agreement has been completed at issuance of permit.
> projects have been awarded, by chance, to the same construction company.
> projects are in staggered stages of progress.
> The contractor has failed to pay for engineering services incurred to
> correct unauthorized changes that were made in the beginning of the first
> project. The work has been billed, all hours verified and approved by the
> the architect (chosen to independently review the charges by the
> Payment, although not large, has not been received (past 45 days) and the
> contractor is requesting additional services for next week.
> At what point can an engineer suspend all work (potentially halting each
> project) to demand payment? Inasmuch as these are three separate projects
> which must be managed through the same contractor, is the engineer
> responsible in any way for delays incurred in those projects that become
> "innocent bystanders" due to the contractors negligence?
> Dennis S. Wish, PE
> Structural Engineering Consultant
> (208) 361-5447 E-Fax