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#159284 - 11/28/06 06:26 PM The new cost of doing business  
ITO  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 348
Texas
Anyone else notice that Architects, Engineers, General Contractors, and Owners, and are shirking more and more of their work and responsibilities on us?

Examples:

1) Sometimes they require CAD drawn as-builts while simulationsly demanding a fee for the CAD backgrounds; its double dipping. The owner paid for these drawing and anyone doing the work should have access to the drawings. Just recently on a POLO store, I had an architect tell me I was responsible for the lighting layout, and that I should submit shop drawings for his approval in CAD, and btw the fee is $250 per page.

Add $2,000 to bid

2) The engineer will put out a boilerplate design for a retail store based on the architects backgrounds and have never visited the site, and still have the balls to seal the plans. They then tell you it’s your job (while bidding) to verify that it will work and is correct, so we are put in the role of engineer in that we have to verify and in some cases re-engineer someone else’s work. Keep in mind this is all done in the bidding stage and you don’t get paid to for doing their work.

Add $500 to bid

3) The owners for some retail chains will furnish the lighting package and expect you to unload their truck, inventory, store, and file any freight claims for their fixtures. Keep in mind this is what overhead on a fixture package is supposed to cover, and if you include it in you bid, you might be high. Oh and don’t forget to include any “appurtenances” for making these fixtures work, like stems and hangers. Hey why buy that stem kit for those high bays, when you can make your electrician fabricate them for free?

Add $2,500 to bid

4) Do you know what a “Completed operations endorsement CG 2010 & CG 2057 Requirement” is? You should it cost you $500 every time a GC asks you to pick it up in their contract. Read the fine print, it’s something they just started sneaking in.

Add $500

5) Duct detectors, do you know who furnishes them? That’s funny neither does the engineer, but he sealed the plans anyway.

Add $300 each

6) Back in the day, when a GC wanted a price they gave you a call and sent a set of plans. Now they either send you a CD or a link to where you can DL them and you pay the printing. I have a plotter but it its more than 10 pages its cheaper to use a reprographics shop.

Add $150 to bid

7) Fire stopping, used to be picked up by one sub for the whole job, now we get to do our own.

Add $500 to bid. (more for bigger jobs)

8) Remember when a GC used to have a superintendent, a carpenter and a clean up crew? Now we have composite clean up crews and a PM that thinks he knows how to run a job with a three week look-ahead schedule.

Add $2000 (a LOT more for a big job)

9) That superintendent the GCs used to have could use a transit and do layouts and coordinate the trades. Ask that PM what a transit is and see what he says. I just did a strip center and the GC insisted all layout, control points and grade were my responsibility. While I don’t mind doing my own layout, establishing a control point and grades is just not something we do as a profession.

Add $5,000 for surveyor

10) Temporary power means lights and receptacles to OSHA standards, it does not include “task lighting” and it certainly never includes “consumption”.

I don’t even know what to add for all the electric bills on a job but this has not stopped some GCs from trying to charge me for them.

11) When did we become phone and data installers? Especially when it’s not really shown on the plans.

I could go on and on.

Add all that up, put in your next bid and see if you get the job…


101° Rx = + /_\

Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:

#159285 - 11/28/06 09:03 PM Re: The new cost of doing business  
LK  Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
New Jersey
"Add all that up, put in your next bid and see if you get the job…"

As long as contractors are willing to go along with this sort of thing, it will most likely be around for a long time, the practice of paying for prints, to bid is called print money, money for office parties,etc. They are really slick, charge the client for bid package, then charge to distribute it, only in the good old USA.
Remember they are giving you the privlige to bid on their job, you should be thankful and add a tip to that money.

I think they have it backwards, since your expending your valuable time to bid the work, they should be paying you the fee, not the other way around, what next reverse bidding?




[This message has been edited by LK (edited 11-28-2006).]


#159286 - 11/28/06 09:39 PM Re: The new cost of doing business  
ITO  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 348
Texas
Mostly it's the out of town guys who pull that one. The bigger GCs in town usually send a set of prints, and to be fair it’s a market issue. When you chase a job, you pay for prints; when you got way more work than you can handle it seems like a new set a prints to take-off show up every day.


101° Rx = + /_\

#159287 - 11/28/06 10:06 PM Re: The new cost of doing business  
REW  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 30
Sykesville, Maryland
You forgot the the biggest doozie of them all, the "pay if paid" clause. Some (mine) states allow the GC to insert and enforce the pay if paid clause which allows the GC NOT to pay you until they are paid. The GC now has very little finacial liability for the project, but they sure as heck still tack on $$$ to your bid and each change order.

There are two ways to stop this though:
1: get out of business or
2: find a niche and do that work well. When a contractor calls and asks for a bid, tell them to overnight (at their expense) the plans, and explain your payment terms such as 30 days from Invoice, no "pay if paid" clause, no additionally insured without extra costs, and that you will only sign an AIA contract (they are considerably more fair to both parties). If they don't like your terms, tell them to keep their prints.

If you did submit a bid and was "awarded" the project, remember that you are not obligated to sign any agreement that you are not comfortable with. Just like the bid, negotiate the Contract if you don't like it.


Rich

#159288 - 11/28/06 10:22 PM Re: The new cost of doing business  
ITO  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 348
Texas
The "pay if paid" clause may not be legal here, because I have not seen it yet.

There just cant be enough said about exercising your lien rights.

Yeah good luck on the AIA thing, the big GCs just wont do one with us, they all have their “standard” contract, take it or leave it.


101° Rx = + /_\

#159289 - 11/29/06 12:34 AM Re: The new cost of doing business  
REW  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 30
Sykesville, Maryland
And that is why I left that segment of the market.

There is just too much bs with the GCs. Always wanting it faster, cheaper, and paying you later and later.


Rich

#159290 - 11/30/06 08:26 PM Re: The new cost of doing business  
ShockMe77  Offline
Member
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
Rahway, New Jersey
"When did we become phone and data installers? Especially when it’s not really shown on the plans."


Tell me about it.

Does the phone guy install ceiling fans?


#159291 - 12/02/06 11:55 PM Re: The new cost of doing business  
PE&Master  Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 138
TX, USA
You have to watch the AIA forms also. Like the clause in the last one I got said it I didn't keep up with the job they can fire me, make me pay for the new EC, let him use all my tools, materials, and equipment that is on site until the work is done, oh and not pay me at all.

Scratch through the parts you can't sign up for - and initial each edit before returning them signed.


#159292 - 12/03/06 12:44 AM Re: The new cost of doing business  
REW  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 30
Sykesville, Maryland
But if you had the schedule before the contract was signed, as you should, that part of the contract seems fair to me. The AIA contracts are supposed to be fair to both parties.


Rich

#159293 - 12/03/06 11:20 AM Re: The new cost of doing business  
iwire  Offline
Moderator
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
Quote
But if you had the schedule before the contract was signed, as you should, that part of the contract seems fair to me.


Sure....as long as the EC can take the GCs stuff and hire another GC at the original GC expense if the original GC fails to meet the schedule. [Linked Image]


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts

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