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#156686 06/04/05 01:36 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
I just got some prints today from an unknown GC for a new 11000 sf truck repair shop & office. Trouble is there is almost no electrical on it. On top of that there is not 1 piece of equipment listed not even a garage opener. Nothing about office A/C. No outlets, no lighting in the shop or outside, nothing for service.

The GC wants the bidding EC's to guess what's needed where. Then come up with a lighting layout, service specs, etc as part of the proposal.. On top of that your bidding against other EC's for the same GC. So who ever leaves out the most has the lowest price and probibly winning bid. Instead of one person getting paid to do the electrical layout the GC has a number of EC each do it for free.

I don't have a problem laying out the electric. My beef is being expected to do it for free to get a chance of getting the work. On top of that you have no input on what the owner wants for type of light, outlets, or equipment.

Some things you can charge on adds but it would get to be too much with this. Something like "oh you need electric for the furnaces, that not on my print". Sure I could add for furnaces but how many?

How would you handle this?
1. Walk away
2. Bid only what's on the plan even if the GC told you to "add what's needed"
3. SF bid on the high side
4. Bid it way low with less than what is reasonable (something like a 100 amp service, only a few lights ond GFI's)
5. Spen the time specing out lights, possable equipment, service calcs, to bid the job how you think it should be

I like #1


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#156687 06/04/05 02:17 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 265
Its not a prelim bid is it? We often get plans that have just the exterior walls and are asked to give a budgetary price for it. Once the owner sees the numbers are in the ball park he then has the E.E. do the real plans. Then we go back and bid the real project.

If he is just trying to get design work for free, I would walk away. If he is cheap at the start, he will be cheap through the whole project.

#156688 06/04/05 08:00 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
Tom, my experience has been the GC is looking to get an idea on what the minimum would cost him. He is responsible for getting the building built with electric in it. Then the occupant can pay for whatever he/she wants in it.

I would take a very little amount of time and call him to pick his brain, and try to figure out what his intentions are.

Then I would find out where this GC is from, and find out his credit, with other vendors or Subs if that is available. Some of these out of state GC's have a bad track record when it comes to payments and such.

I would try to bid the minimum:
Lighting, both inside and out
Covenience receps and stuff.

And leave it at that.

If you need the job, or really want the job, you may have to invest some time on the phone.

Good luck.....


#156689 06/04/05 11:54 AM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
This is how I usually handel this:

"The following is a budgetary estimate for the electric in (location). $25,000-$32,000.

Owner to specify all equipment, light fixtures, HVAC and other needed loads before a firm bid can be provided.

We look forward to working with you, call with questions."

This way if it is a legitimate request, you're not out of the game yet. As far as you know, one of your competitors may come up with the layout, and then you can bid that.

Don't spend too much time on it.

But I don't see anything wrong with being as vague as they are.

[This message has been edited by Jps1006 (edited 06-04-2005).]

#156690 06/04/05 02:04 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
If you are intrested in the job then JPS way would be ok, but don't forget to check out the GC, before you proceed.

#156691 06/04/05 07:09 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,460
Likes: 3
Cat Servant
I agree with Les; what I will do for a known GC is different from what I will do for a stranger.
Likewise, one cannot do an acceptable job without a great deal of communication between you and the final customer. Let me explain, usung a job I've been working on.

Last December I started a "dream job" for a customer with whom I have a long relationship. I was given an essentially blank print of their new headquarters, and told to make it work.
The building is a steel building. The office area is two floors, about 30 x 70ft. The Shop area is about 70 x 150.
Knowing the customers' business, and the area, I went "against the flow" and insisted upon 480v service- over the objections of the PoCo.
Seeing that the office area was framed with wood I-Joists, I realised that there would be no going back latter to add or change things- so I took care to light the place well (striving for even light), gave each room two levels of lighting, and installed plenty of receptacles. I ran an outrageous number of phone/data lines. In some cases, I used my past experience as a "working stiff" to look at how each room was likely to be used, and added some unexpected things- like the phone in the lunchroom and the hand/hair dryer in the locker room.

Of course, now is six months later, and as the project is coming to a close, I am only now seeing that someone has decided to put an L-shaped counter in the lunchroom; the sketch I was shown either had no counter, or a straight one. I made my best guess based upon the plumbing.
I am being pressed for when I will have the power run for the various items of equipment- even though I have neither seen the equipment nameplates, nor have they decided on the locations. What I have done is stub out a pipe from the panel for future circuits.
I had "stalled" in a similar manner until the A/C was on site- a good thing, as the A/C folks 'did what they always did' and used 240 single phase units. That's right, they never even asked what power was available, and missed an opportunity to use the 480/ 3-phase available.

The point of this tale is that, even under the best of conditions, change happens. Your first 'bid' is at best a wild guess. With an unknown contractor, unknown customer, and no idea what they want, you are only asking for trouble.
I would prepare a rough plan of what you think is wanted- then sit down with these folks and hash out what is really wanted.
On the job I mentioned, some thought the provision of showers in the locker room was extravagant- not fully appreciating that the customer cleans serers all day- and really needs a shower before going home!

#156692 06/07/05 12:52 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
Thank's for the replies. Just frustrated. Have a ton of bids due right away keeping me busy but no work. I don't mind as much if I am familiar with the GC meeting with the customer to come up with something.


#156693 06/07/05 11:02 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
hang in ther Tom, I was there last month and now everything has come in or is on its way. It will be a busy summer.

#156694 06/11/05 12:56 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
I passed that job up. Besides the problems above I could not get a printed copy of the plans in time. With only a few days to bid and the file in some cad format my printers could not do a quick turn around. Seemed like I was missing the foot note page also.


#156695 06/11/05 04:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 212
In my state, if you do a design/build like this, no other contractor may bid from your design unless you are an engineer and stamp the plans and get paid for your design work. Otherwise it is a theft of intellectual property. We have sued over this and won. It's ridiculous to do that much work for free.

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