Author Topic: Problematic Jobs and additional costs/services  (Read 14092 times)

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Offline cadbykenTopic starter

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Problematic Jobs and additional costs/services
« on: Feb 03, 2008, 00:05:09 AM »
After responding to another thread I need to ask some of the managers and people who have their own company out there some questions.

I have a job that the engineer has messed up...again.  Same engineer, similar problems.  One building they left 5½" of space for 14" deep ductwork.  The building is going up and this job was just given to me late last week with a fast pace schedule.  Another building, they have ductwork sized at 24" deep but only 18" will fit.  Because of this, the supply and return cannot go out of the mechanical room as they originally showed.  Most of this particular system has been a complete redesign by me in order to get it to work.

How does your company handle major changes to design?  Is it just part of the business?  What if you have to flatten a lot of ductwork?  I know that the costs go up because there is more sheet metal in flatter ductwork plus different reinforcement requirements.  What kind of liability concerns are there?  When do you send it back to the engineer for a redesign?  I know this latter question doesn´t currently help me because of the speed of the job.  

Also, because of other items missing from drawings I am thinking of adding a cost schedule to my contract to say if I add a fire damper it will cost $X.  Also, some background on me: I was a mechanical (duct and plumbing) designer for 11 years so I know their business.  I understand that they are designing at the same time as the design team (architect, structural engineer, etc) are designing.  But to have the same mistakes on three jobs really is not acceptable.  I would love to put the screws to this engineer but unfortunately, he will not pay for any changes the owner will have to.  Sorry, this is so long but I had to get this off my chest but I would like to here other's comments.  Oh, and I can't wait until I get into a meeting with these clowns one day.
Ken Taylor - Atlantic Constructors, Inc
BIM Technology & Database Manager
Revit - not ready for Primetime given all of the add-ons, work arounds, and general issues with Fabrication in Revit.  Tired of them taking our money for little results.

Offline cjehly

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« Reply #1 on: Feb 03, 2008, 03:04:27 AM »
I'm not an expert, but I believe US courts have ruled that if a design cannot be possibly done in the manner depicted, that it is a breach of contract.  You agreed to build the job according to the contract documents, but it cannot be built.  You are entitled to additional compensation.

You need to read your contract, and correctly document the issues in a timely manner.  You also need to notify the builder of you intent to seek additional costs.  Regardless of the wording in the specifications, you cannot be forced to spend additional time, effort, and materials to correct design flaws on your own dime.  Of course, the documentation in itself is an additional expense, and going to court will cost even more.  Sucks huh?

You argue on paper, and you do everything you can in person to alleviate the issues.  I would start by issuing a delay notice... that usually gets peoples attention.  

Work is tough these days.  Far too many engineering firms that don't deserve to be in business are happily cranking out junk, and the contractors are left to clean up the mess.  It's the same on the other Coast, Ken... but remember, these are the good times.  I'd rather have too much work than too little.
-Chris-

Offline ScottieM

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« Reply #2 on: Feb 03, 2008, 15:45:32 PM »
Are you an engineer? Probably not. Only with a reasonable effort do you need to make changes to make things work. If you start redesigning the duct to much and add equipment where not shown; you are then changing the engineers design. Which leads back to the opening question, are you an engineer?  
These things do need to be documented and presented to the GC in the form of an RFI. Not the engineer. The GC is the pivot company on a job. All RFI´s and changes need to go through them.
If they force your hand, get it in documentation that you're not an engineer and it's to your interpretation of the drawing to make things work.
If the engineer changes the plans then it's a change order, more money.
If the GC doesn't back you, your lumping the cost. Value engineer where you can.
Scott M.
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Offline cadbykenTopic starter

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« Reply #3 on: Feb 03, 2008, 15:53:57 PM »
Quote from: ScottieM
Are you an engineer? Probably not. Only with a reasonable effort do you need to make changes to make things work. If you start redesigning the duct to much and add equipment where not shown; you are then changing the engineers design. Which leads back to the opening question, are you an engineer?  
These things do need to be documented and presented to the GC in the form of an RFI. Not the engineer. The GC is the pivot company on a job. All RFI´s and changes need to go through them.
If they force your hand, get it in documentation that you're not an engineer and it's to your interpretation of the drawing to make things work.

Currently, I do a detailed writeup that contains questions and comments about the job.  I usually note if I made sever changes and why this was done.  If a question is directly addressed to the engineer, I usually include that on the drawing via a set of notes.  This way seems to work pretty good.  Also, some of my clients don't give me a lot of time which makes it that much worse.
Ken Taylor - Atlantic Constructors, Inc
BIM Technology & Database Manager
Revit - not ready for Primetime given all of the add-ons, work arounds, and general issues with Fabrication in Revit.  Tired of them taking our money for little results.

Offline ScottieM

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« Reply #4 on: Feb 03, 2008, 16:00:07 PM »
You need your clients to be more proactive in the RFI's too. If they're rolling over. You have a lose lose situation.
Scott M.
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Offline cadbykenTopic starter

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« Reply #5 on: Feb 03, 2008, 16:03:46 PM »
Quote from: ScottieM
You need your clients to be more proactive in the RFI's too. If they're rolling over. You have a lose lose situation.

Yes, this has been something of a sore spot with me.  I believe I go above and beyond what is required of me but not sure if they understand that.  This is something I need to talk to them about so we can come to an agreement on exactly what my scope is.
Ken Taylor - Atlantic Constructors, Inc
BIM Technology & Database Manager
Revit - not ready for Primetime given all of the add-ons, work arounds, and general issues with Fabrication in Revit.  Tired of them taking our money for little results.

Offline cjehly

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« Reply #6 on: Feb 04, 2008, 04:00:28 AM »
Quote from: cadbyken
Quote from: ScottieM
You need your clients to be more proactive in the RFI's too. If they're rolling over. You have a lose lose situation.

Yes, this has been something of a sore spot with me.  I believe I go above and beyond what is required of me but not sure if they understand that.  This is something I need to talk to them about so we can come to an agreement on exactly what my scope is.

If you're a sub-to-a-sub (sorry, I should probably know this by now) then you're left at the hands of the company that signed the contract.  If they wont back you (either to keep your cost down, or they aren't good at documenting their own projects) then I would suggest you refuse to flat-bid a project.  I would suggest you offer them a GMP or a T&M type bid in the future, and always get at least a partial payment up front before engaging further work with them.

There is too much work in the U.S. for extremely talented individuals like yourself to be putting up with inadequate contractors.
-Chris-

Offline cjehly

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« Reply #7 on: Feb 04, 2008, 04:05:21 AM »
In fact, please e-mail me at my address in my profile.  I have a feeling I would like to have your contact info. for the future.
-Chris-

Offline cadbykenTopic starter

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« Reply #8 on: Feb 04, 2008, 04:21:32 AM »
Quote from: cjehly
Quote from: cadbyken
Quote from: ScottieM
You need your clients to be more proactive in the RFI's too. If they're rolling over. You have a lose lose situation.

Yes, this has been something of a sore spot with me.  I believe I go above and beyond what is required of me but not sure if they understand that.  This is something I need to talk to them about so we can come to an agreement on exactly what my scope is.

If you're a sub-to-a-sub (sorry, I should probably know this by now) then you're left at the hands of the company that signed the contract.  If they wont back you (either to keep your cost down, or they aren't good at documenting their own projects) then I would suggest you refuse to flat-bid a project.  I would suggest you offer them a GMP or a T&M type bid in the future, and always get at least a partial payment up front before engaging further work with them.

There is too much work in the U.S. for extremely talented individuals like yourself to be putting up with inadequate contractors.

Yes, I am contracted independantly to do work for them.  I have multiple clients but I do basically the same for everyone.  They do back me up and tell me repeatedly that they appreciate what I do for them.  I actually stopped working for them for 6 months because of some problems on their end, and they came back because they couldn't find the level of service that I was providing.  We are on good terms currently but I want to do this even better but make sure that I am compensated for it.  That is why I put this out there to see what everyone else is doing.
Ken Taylor - Atlantic Constructors, Inc
BIM Technology & Database Manager
Revit - not ready for Primetime given all of the add-ons, work arounds, and general issues with Fabrication in Revit.  Tired of them taking our money for little results.

Offline cadbykenTopic starter

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« Reply #9 on: Feb 04, 2008, 23:08:57 PM »
Any other comments/suggestions?
Ken Taylor - Atlantic Constructors, Inc
BIM Technology & Database Manager
Revit - not ready for Primetime given all of the add-ons, work arounds, and general issues with Fabrication in Revit.  Tired of them taking our money for little results.

Offline CJ

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« Reply #10 on: Feb 04, 2008, 23:43:10 PM »
I was told by a very successful man in this industry- "in this business there are three things that must be very clear before you take any job:

1- SCOPE

2- SCHEDULE

3- PRICE

in that order".
I'd do this for beer but my wife insists on money ;)
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Revit 2024 / CAM / EST Version: Autodesk Fabrication 2024

Offline cadbykenTopic starter

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« Reply #11 on: Feb 06, 2008, 13:28:13 PM »
Guess who I get to meet tomorrow?  The engineer of said messed up project.  At least I have calmed down, somewhat, since I originally posted this.  Actually, I think they just wore me down.

CJ, that is very true and noted.
Ken Taylor - Atlantic Constructors, Inc
BIM Technology & Database Manager
Revit - not ready for Primetime given all of the add-ons, work arounds, and general issues with Fabrication in Revit.  Tired of them taking our money for little results.

Offline cadbykenTopic starter

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« Reply #12 on: Feb 09, 2008, 13:10:37 PM »
Well, I went to my meeting.  The engineering firm sent the engineer who designed the building.  I don't think he was a day over 25 years old.  He told me that this was a "copy" of multiple jobs that they had done before but apparently it wasn't.  It was very cordial but I pointed out some of the areas that I had problems with so hopefully it will help in the future but probably not since they have several of these guys doing this.

He also handed me his business card, after his name was E.I.  Now, that one was new to me.  I am familiar with PE and EIT but never this one.  After the meeting I was talking to the contractors and asked what that was.  After some discussions we determined that it was Engineering Intern!  Of course, we probably thought it ment Engineering Idiot! :(
Ken Taylor - Atlantic Constructors, Inc
BIM Technology & Database Manager
Revit - not ready for Primetime given all of the add-ons, work arounds, and general issues with Fabrication in Revit.  Tired of them taking our money for little results.

Offline cjehly

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« Reply #13 on: Feb 09, 2008, 14:57:34 PM »
Sounds JUST like a Engineering firm I know out of Boston.  They have tons of notoriety, and I have no idea why.  They also send "pacifiers" to their most jacked-up jobs, which is almost always a recent grad with no stamp, and no real-world experience.  

Was he able to answer your questions in writing, or are they going back to the "mothership" so the real engineers can look at it?
-Chris-

Offline cadbykenTopic starter

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« Reply #14 on: Feb 09, 2008, 15:01:54 PM »
He had a few answers but we had most of the solutions before we went into the meeting.  There were some left open so he is supposed to get back with us.  The GC said the biggest mistake the engineer did was give him his business card, now he can call him as much as needed.  Also, he looked a little dazed and confused if you ask me.  I never thought of it the way you put it.  Send in a baby lamb and it is less likely to be slaughtered.  Sorry for the bad analogy but it is the first to come to mind.
Ken Taylor - Atlantic Constructors, Inc
BIM Technology & Database Manager
Revit - not ready for Primetime given all of the add-ons, work arounds, and general issues with Fabrication in Revit.  Tired of them taking our money for little results.