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RE: Steel Detailing Charges

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My two cents:

I think the biggest problem with changes and the charges for those changes
is the fact that no one wants to write a blank check. I know when my clients
ask me to make a change (btw, I never tell them not to make changes if for
no other reason than it's an unrealistic request), they expect and I provide
a cost (or at least an estimate of costs) for that change. That way, there's
no "sticker shock" or, if there is, it's earlier in the process.

Another thing is that I try to keep the costs relative to the entire
project. For example, let's say I design a frame and charge $2,500 for that
frame design. Now, the client comes back and asks me to increase the height
of the frame two feet. What do you think the customer will say if I charge
him/her $ 1,500 for that change (even though it means a new computer model,
changing sections, changing details, etc.). I try to keep the change in
perspective of the original fee. Even if I don't make my "best rate",
hopefully I will cover my costs (plus some) and not polarize the
relationship.

I'll admit, I know nothing about steel detailing but I am surprised about a
couple of points.

First of all, I'm shocked to hear that some folks find that it might have
been quicker/easier/cheaper to use white out. One of the biggest advantages
of doing our work electronically is the ability to make changes quicker and
easier. It might be harder to create the work in the first place, but making
changes should be easier. If this were the case in my area of expertise, I
would take a good hard look on how I was doing things.

Secondly, I'm quite aware how important backing steel detailing is. But,
shouldn't it be easier if the work is done electronically with a 3-D model,
etc.? I can certainly see if the shop drawings were done by (gasp!) hand,
but, again, one of the benefits of drawing in CAD is the ability to draw
accurately and to scale. I know when I draw a building that is 40'-8" long
and my client tells me to shorten it 8", when I stretch the building 8", I'm
very confident that the dimension will read and the building will be 40'-0"
long. I'll spend maybe a microsecond to verify that and then move on. Is
steel detailing THAT much different? I know steel detailing software costs a
great deal more than AutoCAD and I would hope that one of the features a
detailer is buying is help in checking.

O.K., maybe that was more than two cents.

Sorry.

T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)
ALLEN DESIGNS (http://www.AllenDesigns.com)
San Juan Capistrano, CA

:-----Original Message-----
:From: JLand(--nospam--at)affiliatedmetal.com [mailto:JLand(--nospam--at)AffiliatedMetal.com]
:Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 7:21 AM
:To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
:Subject: Re: Steel Detailing Charges
:
:Mark/Gary-
:     As a steel fabricator (not an architect or engineer), I take great
:interest in your problem. My company has 5 detailers on staff, and the
:worst
:thing that happens to my detailers is when somebody changes the design
:after
:detailing has begun. It throws off schedules, it disrupts the flow of work,
:it can totally negate work previously completed, and it complicates the
:entire detailing process.
:     At first glance, 8 hours per column does seem high, but you should
:also
:ask yourself when was the change made, and how many connections were
:affected. Columns are where "everything happens". These changes may seem
:simple to you, but one little change at a baseplate affects everything
:above
:it, and the detailer is ultimately responsible for its' accuracy. T.O.S.
:elevations on E drawings, connection elevations, stub dimensions, etc, even
:re-running 32 sets of drawings for approval. It all takes time. Also, were
:the changes enacted before checking or after? If after, the whole process
:needs to begin anew. The timing of these changes is extremely important
:when
:it comes to detailing. If they occur early enough, there should be no cause
:for extras at all.
:     As you said, your columns were similar, not typical, so theoretically
:the changes could not be readily copied from one column to another. How
:about the members framing into the columns? Are they all the same size?
:Different section depths will have differing stubs which also need to be
:changed. All this information must be changed and checked.
:     How was this change information disseminated? Was it through one
:simple
:RFI? We had a job recently where there were no fewer than 5 revisions to
:100% "for construction drawings". (Not to mention 4 or 5 revisions prior to
:100%) No changes were clouded. We had RFI's that had anwers which were
:contrary to approvals AND latter drawing revisions. We had RFI's on top of
:RFI's. It was a nightmare. When we went to claim hundreds of hours of extra
:detailing, we were naturally shot down as well. But the architect didn't
:understand how badly he made us chase our tails. To justify one elevation
:change through 5 sets of drawing revisions, 3 RFI's, 2 approvals, and
:multiple contrary sections and elevations is extremely difficult and time
:consuming. Do this time and time again and the hours add up unmercifully.
:As
:a fabricator, we don't want the headache, we just want to get the job done
:and move on to the next project. We have other projects with schedules in
:the pipeline that need to be tended to. Detailing firms have the same way
:of
:working. (and they can't go down to the detailers union hall and get more
:men to make up time) So when all of our time and energy is being burned up
:by inadequately conceived design ,somebody beside us should pay for it. We
:didn't ask for or cause the changes.  In retrospect, we would have been far
:better off waiting for three months for the design to get to "150% for
:construction" before beginning detailing. But as usual, it was a "fast
:track" project. But I digress....
:     Anyway, my people draw, check/change per approval,check, back check,
:copy check, and scrub. While this process may seem onerous, it is the only
:means of ensuring complete agreement between two pairs of eyes and brains.
:Also, too few A/E's understand or accept the cause and effect relationship
:which ill timed and perceived "simple" changes bring about. Is 8 hours per
:too much? Probably, but again, the context in which the changes were made
:must also be brought to light. In the end, to answer your question about
:challenging detailers' extras, I think the best way to challenge detailers
:is to not make any changes to the design, and if you do have to make
:changes, make them as early as possible in the design process.
:Thanks-
:Jim Land
:
:----- Original Message -----
:From: "Gary Hodgson & Associates" <ghodgson(--nospam--at)vaxxine.com>
:To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
:Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 7:47 AM
:Subject: Re: Steel Detailing Charges
:
:
:> Mark,
:> As most columns are dimensioned from the base, changing
:> the base elevation will affect everything above it.
:> However 80 hours seems excessive- I worked in a fab shop
:> for 14 years as Manager of Engineering.
:> In one claim on one of my jobs (after I went on my own)
:> where the detailer claimed 7 hours for an item, I drew
:> the item myself. It took one hour and I threw in 1/2 hr
:> for checking.  I suggest you try that route.
:> Gary
:>
:>
:> On 27 Apr 2004 at 3:46, Mark Gilligan wrote:
:>
:> > On a recent project there were some changes made during construction
:> > and the Contractor has a valid claim for the changes to the steel
:> > work.  The problem is that the Steel Detailer's part of the claim
:> > appears to be way out of proportion to the amount of work.  As an
:> > example, when the elevation of the base plate changes the same amount
:> > in 10 similar columns they claim 80 hours.  The detailer justifies
:> > this by presenting a list of seventeen steps that they go through in
:> > making and checking each change and listing listing the time for each
:> > step.  In this manner they justify 8 hours to change one column and
:> > then claim they repeat this process for each column.
:> >  This approach can create a situation where the size of the claim for
:> > relatively simple changes is way out of proportion to the total
:> > detailing fee.
:> >
:> >  We appreciate the need for the steel detailer to work carefully but
:> >  we
:> > find these hours difficult to justify, to put it mildly.  We would
:> > expect that after the first column was revised that the subsequent
:> > hours per column would be significantly reduced.  Remember we are
:> > changing the elevation of the base plate but leaving the base plate
:> > detail alone.  The problem is that challenging these hours appears to
:> > be difficult and the detailer tends to be fairly successful with this
:> > approach.  I have seen this happen on several projects over the years.
:> >
:> > Has anybody had success in challenging these claims and identifying
:> > the real costs and if so what has your strategy been.
:> >
:> > Mark Gilligan
:> >
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