Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: Am I Just Too Detailed Here?

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Bill,

You're not alone.  The boss and I here also grossly underestimated our time
and budget for a commercial building addition.  We have put twice as much
time into the project as originally anticipated, with the extra work on our
dime.  Thankfully, he is in to it quite a bit too, though, who knows how
much.  You, along with us, had a SNAFU.  It happens, but we don't want to
make a habit of it, otherwise, we'll both be living on Gov't. Cheese, if you
know what I mean.

If you are doing things all on your own, there might be something to that
too.  Sometimes, drafting can really break you on a project.  For me, I do
all of my drafting, and my design and drafting are integrated, which helps
it move along a little better, but sometimes, it would be nice to pawn off
line drawing to the drafter in the front office room, that way I can
continue working on other things.  Unfortunately, we don't share a brain and
my sketching abilities are horrible, and well, it just wouldn't work.  The
piont I am trying to make here is that you should look at how long it will
take you to analyze and design, and then how much time you think it would
take you to draft it.  And while both are important to get to the end
product, we, at times, give a lesser fee for drafting labor for a project.
And when integrating design and drafting, you are going to find that your
straight up drafting time is less than what you needed, which gives you a
little bit of fudge room for your design end.  Not that you are overloading
an estimate, but these things happen.  While your design may be done, the
drafting does take time.  And to put in enough detail to make a complete set
of drawings, it can take some time.

So, look at these things as "learning experiences" and truly try and learn
from them.  Keep track of time on each portion of the project, and come up
with some good data for later projects.  And if your arch does decide to go
with another engineer, ask him to try and find another engineer for a lesser
price and one who is willing to make them their #1 priority (that is, if
that is the way that you are treating him).  Even with your additional
costs, it would still be less than what they paid.  They just don't like
being told one thing and then having to pay another.  Everyone is like this.
I think they are just trying to push for free work.  You'll get more
familiar with stuff, and things will start working out.

But don't worry.  It happens to just about every one of us, blowing a budget
that is.  As for losing an arch. as a client, well, that happened to me too.
However, there were some issues there, like a communication breakdowns and
what have you.  And that's another thing.  Make sure your scope of work is
clearly set forth.  Without it, you're guessing, and we really don't like
doing that.

Best of luck.

DM

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc]
> Sent: Monday, November 22, 2004 2:42 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: Am I Just Too Detailed Here?
>
>
> In the last couple of months I've had four jobs with two clients--two
> custom homes and a sort of architectural sign structure (the archy calls
> it an "Icon") for a commercial client of his.
>
> In each case, the amount of time it took to complete ended up being
> about three to four times as much as I I originally suggested it would
> take. Needless to say, this has caused friction with my client
> and--quite possibly--a determination on their part not to use me again.
>
> Adding insult to injury, of course, I'm really not getting paid for the
> effort.
>
> This is my fault initially, of course, because I just "messed up" on the
> amount of time it was going to take to do these jobs.
>
> The "Icon" structure is easy to explain, because it was such a "one-off"
> kind of thing, pretty unique. I'm not likely to do anything much like it
> again. Besides being cold-formed steel--which nearly always in my
> experience needs more "attention to detail," I had to come up with a
> conceptual approach that would work for resisting lateral loads, which
> took a few turns down blind alleys before I finally hit on what to do.
> But that doesn't save the project from being "a mess" in my client's
> eyes. I guess he promised it to his client in a short time, that didn't
> work out and I'm at fault.
>
> The three custom homes were something else again. I have not until this
> time done any residential work to the degree that this required. Always
> before it was an expansion of an existing home, and of course a whole
> lot of foundations. Had the houses been "typical" that would have
> helped, but they tended to have a lot of "wide-open spaces" and required
> some ingenuity on my part to come up with a sufficient structural system.
>
> I enjoyed the challenge, but I took W-A-A-A-Y too long to finish, and
> once again I think this guy is "not happy" the extent that he probably
> won't call on me again.
>
> I guess I'm not really looking for an answer to the rhetorical question
> "what did I do wrong?" I'm just looking for some similar experiences so
> I don't have to feel so crummy about it. As it is, I realize that part
> of my problem is seeing what can happen to a structural engineer when he
> doesn't dot all "i"'s and cap all "t"'s, from my legal work. The thought
> of being sued in future because I messed up trying to "hurry up" is
> disquieting, to say the least.
>
> ******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
> *   Read list FAQ at: http://www.seaint.org/list_FAQ.asp
> *
> *   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers
> *   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To
> *   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
> *
> *   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
> *
> *   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. Remember, any email you
> *   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted
> *   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web
> *   site at: http://www.seaint.org
> ******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********
> ---
> Incoming mail is certified Virus Free.
> Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
> Version: 6.0.797 / Virus Database: 541 - Release Date: 11/15/2004
>
---
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
Version: 6.0.797 / Virus Database: 541 - Release Date: 11/15/2004


******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
*   Read list FAQ at: http://www.seaint.org/list_FAQ.asp
* 
*   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers 
*   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To 
*   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
*
*   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
*
*   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. Remember, any email you 
*   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted 
*   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web 
*   site at: http://www.seaint.org 
******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********