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RE: structural fee for apartment

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One of the fundamental lessons of structural engineering practice is


Cut your price in half, and somebody will be lower.  Cut it again, and
someone else will still be lower.  Clients that select engineers based
solely on price are (almost always) lousy clients.  Engineers that seek
business based on the price of their services are doomed to a life of
frustration.  My solution, and that of many others, is to seek business
based on the value of the services that can be provided.  In other
words, qualification based selection.  This approach is not limited to
"big" firms.  Even sole proprietors can move beyond price competition if
they are clever enough to develop a niche, or specialty, that
differentiates them from the masses.   

Best regards,

Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Dallas, Texas

Did you hear about the man said his credit card
was stolen but he decided not to report it because
the thief was spending less than his wife did? 

-----Original Message-----
From: James Cohen [mailto:jccpc(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 2:08 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: structural fee for apartment

You may be interested in a project I didn't get. It was a full
repair/renovation of a 6-story 3-building 90 year old masonry, steel,
timber, concrete building (yes, all the materials were there, of
ages). There were crumbling basements, deteriorated floors, rusted
seismic upgrade, code upgrade, change of use, the whole shebang. I had
the original condition evaluation, which included taking cores for
and petro testing. Based on the scope and condition of the building, I
estimated between $70-80k for the entire effort from design through site
supervision. An engineer got the project for $20k. I was told my fee was
outrageous. The engineer dropped out of the job a few months later with
work product. Unfortunately, the client was too embarrassed to call me
I'm anticipating a possible project in the future to fix the fix.

James Cohen, PE
James Cohen Consulting, PC

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