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RE: Allocation of Responsibilities (part 2)

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> Secondly, let me talk about this business of demanding money back from a
> fabricator who wants to copy drawings.  Let's remember how this work is
> usually commissioned; the engineer (at least in theory) negotiates a fee
> If a contractor figures out a slick new way to do something, nobody gets
> to say to him "you owe us money back because you're making more than we
> think you should."  That's ludicrous.  The only control on how much he

The counterpoint to this is that the fabricator didn't "figure out a slick
new way to do something".  Instead, he figured out a slick new way to get
someone else to do something that he still gets paid for.  As an analogy,
let's pretend your SE firm hires a geotech company to determine allowable
bearing pressures at a site (paid for out of YOUR pocket).  Part of their
agreed-upon fee is to pay the field crews to do soil borings.  Then the
geotech discovers that the previous owner of the site already did soil
borings, and he manages to obtain a copy of the logs and test results.
Instead of sending his own field crews out, he simply copies the original
report, adds his own notes, report, cover letter, and seal.  Should he still
get paid the entire fee?  All he did was "figure out a slick new way to do

I agree with your argument about the cut-throat bidding process.

I think the fairest solution would be to require two prices on the bid; one
where the fabricator gets to use the electronic drawings and one where he
doesn't.  That way the fabricator doesn't get screwed if the engineer
refuses to share, and the owner doesn't have to pay twice if the engineer
does share.  With some fabricators the price would be the same because they
always generate their own drawings.

Another fair solution would be to explicitly state on the drawings and the
bid forms whether the electronic drawings would be available.  The
fabricator is then cutting his own throat if he ignores this.

These are just the humble opinions of a lowly grunt engineer, who is usually
not involved in the bidding process.

Jason Kilgore
Leigh & O'Kane, LLC
Kansas City, Missouri

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