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Re: Engineering compensation

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Fellow Professionals,

Gerard Madden commented that, "Architects want it all for themselves,"
implying that the total pool of design fees on the average commercial
building provides enough to go around, it's just not fairly distributed
between the architect and his or her various consultants.

In my experience, it just ain't so.  Most architects actually command lower
hourly rates than their consultants.  The 6% of total property value that
typically goes to the realtors is often more than the total design fee which
has to be divided between the architect and the various engineers.

This does not mean that the problem isn't (at least in part) the architects.
One of my esteemed colleagues holds that the underlying issue is that we
work for folks who fancy themselves, "artists," and are willing to sacrifice
(e.g., take work for marginal fees) for their art.  When working for
architects, an arrangment which remains the rule, we end up fighting for the
scraps of an inadequate meal.

In this regard, one of my favorite anecdotes concerns a quote related to me
by an architect during a conversation about why we had to find a way to
reduce fees to fit within his prospective client's budget.  My customer said
that a famous and very successful turn of the century architect (whose name
I cannot recall), when asked to identify three things one had to do to
achieve success in the profession, had replied, "Get the jobs.  Get the
jobs.  Get the jobs."

I told him that I preferred, "Get paid for the jobs.  Get paid for the jobs.
Get paid for the jobs."

Drew Norman
Pasadena, California

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