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RE: Engineers and specifications

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Been meaning to comment on the latter part—while it certainly sounds odd, I can understand why someone would stick that on a drawing or spec.  One thing I’ve seen particularly in retail construction is that there is a lot of miscellaneous steel (impact door jambs, cart blocks, counter supports, etc.) that often turns up in the architectural or MEP details but for various reasons doesn’t get into the structural drawings.  Then you get a contractor and steel fabricator who bids and details off just the structural drawings (and sometimes just the framing plans!), and when they discover the other stuff suddenly you get a run of $2000 change orders to fabricate and install a $100 piece of steel.  Similarly, sometimes no matter how hard the structural engineer and architect try, they end up missing a loose lintel or two in the plans and details—with the same result.


So basically it’s someone trying to keep the contractor from making a 25% or 30% profit on every little piece of extra steel.



Gary J. Ehrlich, PE
Meyer Consulting Engineers Corp.
451 Hungerford Drive, #113
Rockville, MD  20850

(301) 738-5690 phone
(301) 738-5695 fax

From: JLand(--nospam--at) [mailto:JLand(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2005 1:52 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Engineers and specifications


As a steel fabricator, we are often confounded by generic or unspecific specifications. One constant is paint (finishes). Too many times a spec just lists three types of surface prep and 7 paint manufacturers, but neglects to give a specific paint type, and then the approver wants the most expensive surface prep as well as a special three coat epoxy polyamide coating.

The other pertains to scope of work. I quote " it is the intent of these drawings and specifications to provide a general guideline for the project. It is the responsibility of the fabricator to provide all steel required for the project, whether or not shown on the contract drawings"

Why don't they just call for exactly what they want?  Does this really save the owner money?

No wonder so many projects end up in litigation and arbitration.

Jim Land