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]
Title: Message
I am sure that every practitioner on this list has gone way over budget and schedule more than once.  It happens to all of us!  One way to minimize the occurrence of this unfortunate outcome is to be more selective in picking your clients and projects.  Now I know that this is easier said than done, but it should be possible as your practice (and your reputation) grows in the greater Houston area.  Price your next bunch of projects pragmatically, recognizing that the architect will probably be no more perfect than the contractor.  After all, your project will be constructed in Texas, not in Heaven.  With that thinking built into your fees, you will probably lose quite a few projects to other engineers ... somebody will always be cheaper regardless of your fee.  That's okay, though, because it will force you to actively seek better projects and clients.
As you know, I practice what I preach and truly believe that it works.  I started my own building design practice in 1982, and did more residential work than anything else for a couple of years.  Recognizing that it was neither a source of wealth accumulation nor career satisfaction, I moved on to commercial and institutional buildings by the mid-1980s.  By the early 1990s, I started an in-house architecture group and essentially ceased working for "outside" architects.  From the beginning, my policy has always been to set my fees (usually based on effort, sometimes based on value, never based on market) in writing tied to a well-defined scope of work.  I never negotiate fees with a prospective client (I know more about my business than they do).  When the scope changes, I insist on supplemental fees.  Occasionally I still manage to blow a budget, but not very often.
Finally, my best advice is simply to learn from your misfortunes and try to avoid repeating them.
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Dallas, Texas
Hockey is important!
Football is irrelevant!