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Re: Getting Wind Load Criteria

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If you are using the changes in determination of the wind loads as a basis
for higher fees, then I probably would not take issue with a
client/architect balking at the higher fees.  While there are some changes
in how wind loads are determined, from my experience there are relatively
minor and don't really change the amount of time or effort to do a wind
analysis.  Now, I do admit that my experience is based upon the fact that
I am used to using the BOCA codes and the switch from more recent BOCA
codes to the IBC code does not really change the wind load provisions to
terribly much.  I was always under the impression that the wind provisions
in the SBC where very similar to what is in the BOCA code.  Maybe I am
wrong on that.  Maybe there are more like what is currently in the 1997
UBC code.  I do admit that there is a moderate level of difference in
complexity between how the 1997 UBC code determines wind loads and how the
2000 IBC (which is really forcing you to make use of the 1998 ASCE 7-98
because the simplified procedure in the 2000 IBC does not apply for all
cases) determines wind loads, but it is still not really enought to really
require an adjustment of fees based upon that alone.

Now, it would not suprise me AT ALL that you might need to adjust your
fees due to changes in the seismic load provisions.  There are some MAJOR
differences between what is in the 2000 IBC and past codes (BOCA, SBC
_AND_ UBC).  Since the IBC is based off of the 1997 NEHRP provisions and
all other codes are either based off of earlier NEHRP provisions or the
SEAOC Blue Book, there is the major change in the seismic procedures such
that the level of seismic detailing is now also a function of the soil
properties at the site location in addition to the seismicity of the area
and the importance of the building.  This means that there will be MANY
locations that used to not have to worry about ductile detailing of their
structures (at least it was not required by code) that will find that they
now have to provide ductile detailing similar to what might only have been
done out in "earthquake country" (i.e. the West Coast).  This means that
many engineers out this way (i.e. East coast, Midwest, South) will have
much more seismic analysis and design to do now that what they were used
to doing in the past.  Thus, it is entirely possible that structural
design overall will take more effort and time and, thus, the fees should
be higher.  So, if you made that arguement, then even though the
client/architect would likely still balk at the change in fees, I would be
much more in agreement with yourside of the situation.

Now, beyond changes in the code, it is entirely possible that you were
being too "nice" in the past and not charging enough for your services
(due to any number of reasons, valid or not) and now have decided that you
want a more appropriate amount for your services.  If so, then I certain
have no "beef" with that.  You should charge what you feel your services
are worth (as others such as Stan Caldwell have stated).  The problem with
this as you have found out is that some may not like the changes in your
fees.  That is were the "fun" of being the person in charge of the company
(and thus other people's fortunes) starts.  You have to make a choice of
sticking to your guns and possibly losing work, hopefully only in the
short term until you establish a "new" client base that accepts the higher
fees, or cave and keep the older, lower fees so that you keep your steady
flow of work.  It is certainly a tough choice as if you take the former,
you chould have a period of a shortage of work and thus have to lay people
off or struggle to pay bills, etc.  But then maybe in the latter case you
are starting to realize that you are still losing money and always were
but at a slower rate.  It is certainly no an easy choice to make.

Regardless, you should be careful about stating reasons for your
increase in fees.  If you do provide a reason (other than "we have
recently evaluated our financial situation and decide that are services
are worth more than we have been charging, so we are going to raise our
fees), make sure that it is 100% crystal clear and the it is fully
justifiable.  Otherwise, some will likely question it (and they likely
will do so regardless of whether it is 100% clear and fully justifiable).
And, personally, I think the rationale for raising the fees due to changes
in the wind load provisions would fall into a category of not being fully
justifiable.  But, then that is just my opinion, for what ever it is worth
(I will send the bill for my services here of $1,000,000 <grin>).


Ypsilanti, MI

On Sat, 1 Mar 2003, Bobby Jenkins, PE wrote:

> Greetings and Salutations:
> Our primary market area is the state of Mississippi and the states immediately surrounding Mississippi.  We have been under the Standard Building Code but see the 2000 IBC being adopted in various locations.  None of the building code officials or any of the architects we deal with have any idea about the contents and changes in Chapter 16.  We are spending a great deal of time educating  the architects to the impact of the new code.
> My question is this:
> How are the rest of you getting the information you need to be able to set up and analyze the wind forces?
> The clients we have now are not willing to pay a fee adequate for what we would consider a full structural package - ie:  preliminary design, site assessment, design, inspections, etc.  Our fee often is not adequate to cover the design costs.  The architects simply see this as another means of jacking up our suppressed fees.  We have dug in on a couple of projects indicating that we could not start work until they could provide the answers to issues raised in Section 1609.6.
> Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks!
> Bobby Jenkins, PE
> Jenkins Engineering, Inc.
> PO Box 2101
> 218 S Thomas St  Suite 209
> Tupelo, MS  38803
> (662) 840.1233 vocal
> (662) 840.1103 fax
> E-Mail:  jei(--nospam--at)

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