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RE: Am I Just Too Detailed Here?
- To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
- Subject: RE: Am I Just Too Detailed Here?
- From: "John C. Jones" <john(--nospam--at)struct-engr.com>
- Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 18:00:11 -0600
wrote: "After all, your project will
be constructed in Texas, not in Heaven."
thought that Texans felt that the two terms are synonymous?
John C. Jones, PE
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
Finally, my best advice is simply to learn from your
misfortunes and try to avoid repeating them.
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Hockey is important!