I know a general contractor that primarily does residential. I work for him and do a limited amount of TI commercial myself. He landed a commercial TI job recently and asked me to bid it. There are no plans. He did a walk through with me and talked in general terms about lighting and adding removing outlets. However, as I recall the lighting design/plans has to be approved by the city and comply with Title 24 regulations. Lighting per square foot in certain areas has to be calculated as part of the design.
In terms of procedure are we getting the horse ahead of the buggy by my bidding this job. Commercial jobs I usually do already have the lighting schedule and design done, then I can bid it.
The title 24 regulations is not my forte and this job seems to be out of sync.
BTDT .... and you're walking on thin ice, over quicksand.
First, off, make it clear that you're interested in bidding the job, but they don't even a rough guess without some committment on their part.
That committment can take two forms: Best is that they provide you with a set of plans, as close to what they plan to submit for permit as possible. You can review and act from there.
Less satisfactory is that they pay you for at least 1 day's work to research the design and develop your own set of sketches ... and a bid gased upon those sketches, with adjustments necessary as the plans are revised.
Less clear at this point is where the drama will go next. Here's my guess: your proposal will be too much, the general will say you don't know your business, and another contractor will be hired.
This other contractor will be carefully fed just enough information so as to avoid all the issues that you raised, and a permit will be applied for misrepresenting the intended use of the property. This will allow them to avoid any tenant-specific requirements, and pass on to the tenant the necessary changes.
Remember, the remodel is also likely to seriously affect the other trades as well - especially the plumbing and the HVAC.
Finally, be very wary of potential booby-traps. For example, the building may already have six meters, and no main disconnect. Oops. That's a major change right there. Likewise, the building's service may already ne maxed out; you'll want to look at far more than just the proposed remodel.
The Design-Build scheme has been the wave of the now.
It is so different that a separate category might be sustained here at ECN.
The business models that we use are:
Service Hourly -- WAG Flat Rate -- Firm Bid ( with adders and subtracters ) Design-Build
Because the business model and the market domain is so different it would be very worthwhile to have them broken down into sub-catagories.
I strongly feel that D-B is the best approach to weather the storm since it makes the GC and subs team members, more or less, and stops a lot of the stupid contracting gamesmenship seen in low-ball hard-bid contracting.
In todays Greatest Depression low-ball hard-bidding virtually assures that economic warfare will breakout. Especially vulnerable are sub-contractors establishing themselves. In today's market they might as well as put the label VICTIM on their back.
ANYONE picking up new business on the basis of a lowest bid victory has to assume that he missed something huge in his estimate.
Because the D-B mentality is so different a lot of study must precede anyone's adoption.
There it is .... the challenge we face: getting the customer to see it's best they stay out of the way, come back when the job is done. Tell me what has to be accomplished, and it will happen.
This is countered by the temptation to pitch in, to 'fine tune,' to try to 'save money.' At least, those are the rationalisations used by the customer to justify meddling.
Another electrician recently told me of a job he was on that was in the process of becomming a mess. Let me use his story:
A farmer, who had never had cows before, decided to instal a milking shed. Now, he could have gone to the equipment providers, been steered to an experienced contractor, who would have come in, built the thing, and been done with it.
Instead, the farmer decided that he knew better. He ordered the bits and pieces, found a plumber, found an electrician, found a concrete crew. Thus began the circus.
Concrete poured ... then ripped up to run some pipes ... patched ... ripped up again to run wires ... ripped up some more as components got changed or relocated ... massive re-work as 'tab "A"' was no longer in line with 'slot "B"'. Etc.
The cows are coming on Tuesday, and for those who don't know ... a cow simply cannot miss a milking. Doing so causes the cow a great deal of distress and can be the end of that cow. To put it in perspective, in Israel, religious Jewish farmers will milk, even on the Sabbath and the highest holy days. It's imperitive. So, that gear simply has to be up and running the moment the cows arrive.
Our farmer is blissfully unaware of this ... and was most astonished at 5AM today, as the various tradesmen arrived to work. On the weekend? Even Sunday? You bet. Those tradesmen will not let the cattle suffer if they can possibly avoid it.
I'm fairly confident that the farmer will find that he made some errors .... say, put the drain valves on the roof or something silly .... but that's his problem. He 'saved' by trying to 'engineer' this thing himself, and doubted the value of 'design/build.'
We have to ask ourselves: If we could hop back in time, how could we have proven our value before this all happens?