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Re: Fee for Custom Residence

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I agree, the level of detail for a residence is many times greater than most
commercial jobs. We have the discussion here about what level of detail is
required. To me there is only one level of detail to do Engineering
properly, You've got to think everything through and that takes time. And
time is money as you know. Details I might spend 4 hrs on (calculating and
reasoning) others say "well that's something that will fixed in the field
anyway". That's a good $500 dollar you can save the owner right there. But I
don't feel that good about letting a carpenter do my job. To me when an
owner pays someone who relies on the people in the field to work out the
details the lower fee he pays was wasted money. It's like when I buy generic
cheese at the store I save a buck, but I throw the cheese away because it
was inedible, so really I just through the money I spent for cheaper cheese
in the trash.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Paul Feather" <pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 10:34 AM
Subject: Re: Fee for Custom Residence


> Jesse,
>
> 1%, 30K would be an absolute minimum, probably 1.5% or 45K is more
> realistic.  We do not do much custom residential, typically only for
> established clients, but some thoughts from experience....
>
> Custom residential as you describe it is an art.  The detailing and fit of
> the various elements will frequently drive the design.  To do the job
> correctly can easily be more detail intensive than a 10 million dollar
> commercial project.  Blending the different materials, developing a proper
> load path, and providing enough detail and coordination can be extensive.
> Also, even though it is a high end home, you will still end up working
with
> low end contractors.  You need to carefully estimate what the project will
> really be in terms of time and effort and not just assign a basic
percentage
> cost to the project.  2% may be more appropriate.
>
> Now with that said, there will always be someone out there who will be
> willing to take the job for less.  Architects for custom residential will
> create a structural (and mechanical) nightmare and still not understand
why
> the design fee should be higher for the engineer.  The value of good
design
> is that you will save the owner a small fortune in change orders and time
by
> insisting on enough fee to really do the job right.  You also have to
insist
> on an adequate schedule.  The question you need to answer is what level
you
> are willing to do the job for, and are you willing to accept this and
still
> do the job regardless of how badly the budget is blown.
>
> Fee is a large part of why we don't do much custom residential.  We insist
> on adequate compensation.  The few projects we do provide services for are
> usually when the client has an established relationship and understands
the
> skill set and value we bring to the table.  Otherwise it is a hard market
to
> be competitive in, and mediocrity seems to be more readily accepted.
>
>
> Paul Feather PE, SE
> pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net
> www.SE-Solutions.net
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Jesse D. Moore" <jdmse(--nospam--at)cox.net>
> To: "SEAINT" <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 6:35 AM
> Subject: Fee for Custom Residence
>
>
> > Good Morning
> >
> > What's a reasonable structural engineering fee for the following?:
> >
> > Custom residence...10,000 sf, La Jolla, CA
> > Wood frame + some steel + possibly some structural conc. slab
> > Spread footing foundation
> > Two story + subterranean
> > Some site wall design
> > Structural calculations + working drawings
> > Shop drawing review + three site visits + answer RFIs
> >
> > $3,000,000 project
> >
> > Thanks
> > Jess
> >
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