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RE: question my authority???!

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First of all, any contractor that goes to the owner to complain before bringing it to the attention of the Architect and/or SE is a jerk.  I try as best as I can, (working both sides of the street as I do) to be sensitive to the vicissitudes of the process.  Sometimes the process breaks down when egos get in the way and the whining will begin on both sides, but I try to avoid that.


I don’t know what to tell you about the GC going to the Architect.  Many architects, (me for instance) want that, but its not to beat you over the head with it, its just to stay in the loop.. I will usually either call the SE myself or tell the GC to call him directly depending on the issue.  I rarely will allow questions like, “I’ve been doing this 30 years and never seen this before” about calcs-related stuff, unless the dang footing DOES look too big….


Importantly however,  I will listen about design stuff because many times the folks in the field have as good or better ides of what works and what doesn’t, (assuming we all understand what the engineer is trying to achieve, which isn’t always apparent) so its always good to listen.  For instance, I had a welder come up with an ingenious solution to a problem about electrode accessibility that neither I nor the SE could figure out.  It’s not that we were idiots; he just had a better feel for the issue, took down the piece, shop welded a thingamajig to it that fixed it and all was well.


All in all, I encourage two way communication, I assume we’re all professionals and that all input might be good input.  It isn’t always, and I have learned to judge the source over the years, but I never blindly say “no” to a field judgment or suggestion that is offered.  I will say that a lot are wrong, a lot are just easier or cheaper but not better, but a few are pure genius and if I can without too much hassle, I will act on it.  So you never know.




I would like to hear from our seasoned vets on this issue because as a young small firm owner I need to have some options ready to save face with owners and clients.


We have had this happen usually from a contractor who says one of the following, or a combination of them, and many times not to us but to the owner or architect:

-We have never done it this way and I have been doing this for XXXX years

-Engineer B down the street does it this way and he says it is fine

-This is a complete waste and overdesign and is costing the owner lots of money (which if I could save I would not return the money but pocket it)