We are currently working on a job that has awful plans (to say the least) and the general contractor and the owner have teamed up to make us responsible for any and all omissions by the engineer. Example, plans show 20 emergency fixtures-fire marshal wants 5 additional fixtures-we submit change order for 5 extra fixtures and are told that it was our responsibility to have proper number to begin with! This is just but one example of a string of about 10 similar situations just on this one job! Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated.
If the other trades are being dealt a bad hand also, it's time for a toolbox meeting. If you all theaten to walk together, it's a louder voice. If you've seen what these plans cost, your sympathy for these 'teflon' architects & engineers diminishes, especially when they take all the credit during the grand opening. I had a very similar situation, we sent 'print-boy' cryin' home to mama, but only because we stood together.
Be sure to keep the set of plans and notes that you bid the job from in a safe place. Nobody could hold you responsible for anything that's not included in them. Just tell them you can't buy the fixtures w/o a Change Order. Bomb them with tons of paperwork supporting your stance, keep copies of it all. We've had GC's try this stunt, along with sending CO's by FAX (must be wet signed), sending "approvals", & a whole lot of other tricks. We've always got our money.
I did not bid on a job specifaly for this reason. The specs stated that I was responsible for a site visit, all hidden existing conditions and plan ommissions. With that attitude there was too much at risk.
Quite frequently, in the written specifications, there will be a disclaimer that usually puts the burden of code problems squarely on the contractor. Also, there will be other language involved in an attempt to relieve the engineer/architect of any responsibility for his omissions.
It may be time to consult an attorney specializing in construction contracts. Otherwise, you could make the changes & if you don't get paid, try placing a lien on the property.
By the way, weren't the plans submitted for review by the AHJ prior to construction? Seems to me the AHJ dropped the ball if there was a plan review.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
Sounds like a case of errors and omissions. Boiler plate language holding you responsible for and engineers errors should be ignored and you should consult your attorney to prepare the appropriate claims. These are the most easily won claims in court. It's always a nice try by the architect but the courts generaly don't see it that way. Nick