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Re: Re-use revisited

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I believe it may be possible, even though I do not wish to think any engineer would be that poor of a businessman.  Fact is you can always find someone who will be willing to work for next to nothing.
 
The entire concept is a little ridiculous if you think about it.  It reflects an inherent problem with the way fee structures are set.  We can set fees based on hourly, percentage of construction costs, per sheet rules of thumb, or what the market will bear.
 
If you set fee based on hourly, then it only takes so many hours to design the first unit and you are only entitled to additional funds if you consider the increased exposure (not considering it is foolish).  Most architects set their fee based on percentage, and I would be really surprised if the Architect you are dealing with limited his fee to the percentage of the first unit.  Ask to see his agreement with the client.  If your Architect really did set their fee based on a single unit I would not want to work for them.  Does your Architect client get to keep the difference since he pays you out of his overall percentage?
 
I prefer percentage of construction with a heavy dose of what the market will bear.  At the risk of sounding arrogant, if you feel you provide better service and quality than your competitors, why should you not be entitled to a higher level of compensation?  Not all CPA's, lawyers, doctors, etc. charge the same amounts for their services, why is it engineers feel some obligation to limit their fee structure to some pre-ordained minimum?
 
On a side note, I was surprised when the question of fee levels was raised the other day and people were bagging on the guy for stating they bill a principal engineer at 150 an hour.  They should be dancing in the streets that others are billing that high and raising their rates. 
 
My corporate accountant charges 225 an hour, my corporate attorney is obscene, and somehow we are wrong for billing engineering at a comparable rate?
 
Staying away from sub-divisions sounds like a really good idea.  
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2004 3:51 PM
Subject: Re-use revisited

Gentleman,
I had brought up this topic a couple of months ago and after consideration of the responses I received I decided to include a 10% re-use fee for the project in question.  With up to 200 identical structures within this subdivision, I felt this was a fair amount to cover liability and the extra calls I'll probably get with that many units.  The contract was signed by the architect, however the architect is now saying the word "re-use" only applies to additional units beyond the subdivision site.  They also claim that it is typical for architects and engineers to just be paid for each different structure and that insurance should cover the additional liability involved.  We are now in the process of possibly re-negotiating the contact.  I can't believe there are engineers (or even architects) who would set a fee for a structure regardless of how many times it's built.  I'm staying way away from sub-divisions if that's the case.  Any thoughts?
 
Mark Pemberton, S.E.
Pemberton Engineering
Davis, CA