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RE: Recommended Reading, Part 2 of 2

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Bang for the buck...An interesting aside along the same lines.

After Northridge, one of my clients (east coast) had a collapse in a
building, and had to salvage the material inside. Tricky, nasty, work, but
they did hire a contractor who specialized in exactly this sort of thing.

When given a quote for the engineering, they were unhappy both with my
hourly rate, and the fact that I could not be on site full time (being a
bit busy after the earthquake). So they hired a PhD "specialist" from
somewhere in IL (I think), and paid him to be on site full time. A nice guy
who touted his "seismic" training (but not experience), and certainly
intended well.

4 weeks later, the client was back accepting my rate and the fact that I
would drop by the site on an as needed basis. Seems the PhD had destroyed a
bunch of material which they wished to salvage, gotten nothing done (not
unexpected as the poor sod had never been confronted with something like
this), and was proposing "fixes" to the building which would have cost more
to implement that rebuilding from scratch (this being inexcusable since,
aside from most of the roof being on the floor, the building was otherwise
in pretty good shape). 

In the end, the EOR for the building working for the owner, and I working
for the tenant, fixed the whole thing for less than keeping the PhD on the
job for a month, and a fraction of what the PhD would have spent.

Experience and training are often worth far more than pure education.
Consider it when hiring.

Peter Higgins, SE