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#175580 - 03/04/08 07:36 PM bid design
watersparkfalls Offline
Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 210
Loc: Washington...Not DC
I have received prints for a church in washington.
It is a bid design(my first), how do i go about getting paid for my design? include it in on my bid price or charge up front for calculations and electrical lay out?

what is the norm? any input greatly appreciated.

H2o

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Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#175589 - 03/05/08 06:06 AM Re: bid design [Re: watersparkfalls]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5300
Loc: Blue Collar Country
While it may not be necessary to get money up front, you will need a contract signed. I'd pattern the contract off ones used by architects and the like, specifying who owns the design, who may use it, and placing a value on it.

It's not so much to produce direct income; what you're primarily concerned about is the folks using your work to piece out the work. You don't want to simply give them a shopping list for a trip to Home Depot. You also don't want to lose the job to another, only to be still on the hook for liability.

On another note, I suggest you be very clear, in your mind, as to the way the church operates. For example, a community center I recently did has lots of outdoor receptacles, on several circuits - all because, in the summer, they use it for outdoor weddings, concerts, etc. Since the job was started in the Fall, I would not have known this without having detailed discussions with the people who will use the place.

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#175600 - 03/05/08 09:46 AM Re: bid design [Re: renosteinke]
ITO Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 341
Loc: Texas
Do a load calc, and quick layout then come up with a "budget number", nothing fancy just a number you feel is right that will include plans and a seal if they need one along with some profit and overhead for you.

Then give them the budget number with a clear scope of what they will get for that budget:
1) Plans
2) X number of receptacles.
3) Fixture allowance.
4) Fire Alarm (if required).
5) XXX size service.

Do not give them a set of plans back, do not spend too much time developing plans, just do enough get budget number.

Once they agree to use you, get a contract for developing plans, and doing the work. Then as you work with them developing the plans you can keep them on budget or you can get paid for a change in scope. As a design builder it is your responsibility to keep the job in budget or make changes that both of you can live with.

Put your salesman hat on and go to work, if you do it right everyone will be happy.

BTW I hate doing churches, its really hard to make any money on them.
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#175604 - 03/05/08 12:33 PM Re: bid design [Re: ITO]
ITO Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 341
Loc: Texas
Add:

When you have your salesman hat on, sometimes it's good to have something to show, like a hand drawing with your receptacle and lighting layouts. Just a word of caution, do NOT give them a copy of any of your layouts or drawings, they will just use them to get a quote from somebody else. Its perfectly ok to say its just for show and NO they can not have a copy unless they are ready to sign a contract.


Edited by ITO (03/05/08 12:33 PM)
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#175605 - 03/05/08 12:37 PM Re: bid design [Re: ITO]
BryanInBalt Offline
Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 47
Loc: Baltimore
 Originally Posted By: ITO

Then give them the budget number with a clear scope of what they will get for that budget:
1) Plans
2) X number of receptacles.
3) Fixture allowance.
4) Fire Alarm (if required).
5) XXX size service.

Do not give them a set of plans back, do not spend too much time developing plans, just do enough get budget number.


Whenever you meet with them but especially when you go back with your thumbnail quote... carry a full roll of plans and a stack of spec papers with you. Set them down (heavily) on the table. Point and refer to them as an example of what they have NOT paid to have prepared yet (structural/mechanical/etc).

The church committee may have no hint of a clue (let alone an actual clue) of what is entailed in building plans.
_________________________
Design-Build isn't supposed to mean design *as* you build.

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#175615 - 03/05/08 06:28 PM Re: bid design [Re: BryanInBalt]
LK Offline

Member

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 1721
Loc: New Jersey
The reason your doing this is they most likely went to an architect already and were told they would have to pay up front for any plans.
Engineers, and Architects do not design for fun they do it for a living, and in a project like a church, the design liability is way out there, does your state, have a license requirement for design work? My state requires all plans for commercial work, to be signed, and sealed by a licensed Engineer or Architect.

My bet is if you check your insurance does not cover design work.


Edited by LK (03/05/08 06:30 PM)

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#175629 - 03/06/08 03:56 AM Re: bid design [Re: LK]
SteveFehr Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1192
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
Coming from the other side of the table- there are two processes. Design-bid-build, where the engineering is paid up front, and the installation bid separately off the completed (stamped) drawings. And design-build, where you're bidding for the design and construction as a package deal. In both cases, you would get a contract before doing any design work beyond mere scoping estimates- engineering is as expensive as production work, and generally not done for free. Any basic sketches to base your estimate off would be considered scoping estimates, part of the bid process, and not charged for; though you may charge for the more detailed design that will come before you start work.

Are they asking you for a design, or simply to install power?

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#176141 - 03/21/08 02:46 PM Re: bid design [Re: SteveFehr]
Radar Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/04
Posts: 349
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
As Steve and ITO mentioned above, you are giving one lump sum price for performing the electrical design and the construction work. Make sure you estimate the design effort, and include the cost of the seal if required. You need to know if sealing is required before you can quote. You need not do any more than a basic preliminary design or layout - just enough for you to estimate the construction work.

Stick with this - "My price for the electrical design/build is $xxx". Don't break your price down into parts if at all possible, and that would only be if you had to agree to do so before hand.

You should make sure the contract makes allowance for setting up a schedule of values. You can then get paid for your design effort and costs before the construction starts, if there is a time lag. Churches tend to have less than firm schedules, due to funding and other issues.

Generally, as a rough rule of thumb - we figure electrical design and sealing to be about 10% of the construction work. However, this is a very old rule, and there are a lot of variables. You will likely be responsible for plan check fees too, so go make friends down at the local neighborhood bldg dept.

Good luck,
Radar
_________________________
There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary, and those who don't.

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#176885 - 04/15/08 07:01 AM Re: bid design [Re: Radar]
ayrton Offline
Member

Registered: 12/21/01
Posts: 205
Loc: Pa
I have strong feelings about this topic. LK touched on it. This is done to get as much out of the contractor as possible and save money. These owners dont want to pay the fees to have things done the right way. It is BS. This is a trend that I am seeing more and more. I will NOT do them!! I am not an engineer. I will not do anything for free either. The only way this BS will ever stop is if we the electrical contractors somehow band together. Problem is there are to many start up co's out there, who think because they made some money, it is better than working for someone else. It takes years for them to realize they are being taken advantage of, but in the meantime this crap still goes on which affects the rest of us.
Unless I am paid to design, than have an engineer stamp and seal them I dont do it. I urge others to follow suit.

PS. I have a collegue who does them. And wouldnt you know it, everytime we talk on the phone, he goes off on a tangent about he did all this design work, and either the owner/GC used his design and gave him NOTHING, showed it to other Elec. contractors, or he never heard from them again.
WAKE UP PEOPLE!


Edited by ayrton (04/15/08 07:04 AM)

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#176896 - 04/15/08 02:33 PM Re: bid design [Re: ayrton]
LK Offline

Member

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 1721
Loc: New Jersey
 Originally Posted By: ayrton
I have strong feelings about this topic. LK touched on it. This is done to get as much out of the contractor as possible and save money. These owners dont want to pay the fees to have things done the right way. It is BS. This is a trend that I am seeing more and more. I will NOT do them!! I am not an engineer. I will not do anything for free either. The only way this BS will ever stop is if we the electrical contractors somehow band together. Problem is there are to many start up co's out there, who think because they made some money, it is better than working for someone else. It takes years for them to realize they are being taken advantage of, but in the meantime this crap still goes on which affects the rest of us.
Unless I am paid to design, than have an engineer stamp and seal them I dont do it. I urge others to follow suit.

PS. I have a collegue who does them. And wouldnt you know it, everytime we talk on the phone, he goes off on a tangent about he did all this design work, and either the owner/GC used his design and gave him NOTHING, showed it to other Elec. contractors, or he never heard from them again.
WAKE UP PEOPLE!


I am glad you explained the problem, one note I would to make, we always did better and had more refered work, when we worked with the engineer, they are your silent partner, and can make your company shine, plus deliver a professional project, and allow you to profit on most jobs.

Once you start working with an engineer, every part of your business will benifit.

When you found this church project, you would contact your engineer, and have a nice lunch, to discuss the best way to present the budget quote.


Edited by LK (04/15/08 02:37 PM)

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