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Thread: Shop Drawings

  1. #1
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    Shop Drawings

    So we put a small project out for bid. I specified a package with Brand A light fixtures, with some having Brand B equals.

    For some of the lights, I just put "other pre-approved equal" for the second manufacturer.

    The shop drawings come in, and they are using Brand C, with some other smaller manufacturers for a few of the lights.

    For the most part, these fixtures seem to be equal to the fixtures I had specified. Normally, when contractors want to use another brand, they will send us cut sheets, and we may or may not approve them as equals by issuing an addendum. But that didn't happen on this project. There weren't any requests for substitutions made.

    So I'm just wondering what others would do. Reject them and tell them they need to use the specified fixtures? Or go ahead and approve these lights since they are pretty much the same thing as specified?

    Our front end spec has a lot of detail on substitutions, so I'm sure I can reject them if I want to. But I'm more inclined to let it go. After all, I probably would have approved these if they had asked during bidding. But I wonder if its fair to the owner and/or other bidders to approve these after the contract has been awarded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve66 View Post
    But I wonder if its fair to the owner and/or other bidders to approve these after the contract has been awarded.
    What would be unfair about approving them? What is the detriment to the customer? What is given up in the trade?

    In other words, what about the substitutions makes them inferior? How will using them create a loss of value?
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

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    It's bad form on them, and a bad precedent. But it's your call.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryFine View Post
    What would be unfair about approving them? What is the detriment to the customer? What is given up in the trade?

    In other words, what about the substitutions makes them inferior? How will using them create a loss of value?
    How about the time it takes to determine that it's acceptable? The bidder just assumes the specifier should do this without even asking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    How about the time it takes to determine that it's acceptable? The bidder just assumes the specifier should do this without even asking?
    Isn't this taken into consideration when the rules for substitution are laid out?
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

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    If this is a market you'll be doing more business in, I'd definitely reject and require them to provide as specified. Otherwise, that company will never submit pre-approvals again because they know they can get away without 'em, and then they'll start sliding in more and more inferior products. Also, if this project was competitive bid, other lighting reps in the area may be able to cry "foul" for allowing substitutions that didn't follow the bidding rules.
    I'm offended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryFine View Post
    Isn't this taken into consideration when the rules for substitution are laid out?
    Not when the proposed substitutions are made during the bid instead of as a request prior to the bids needing to be compared to one another without extra effort. The whole point is that the substitution is NOT being proposed in accordance with the rules.

    If the bid is good enough and the substitutions are good enough to warrant the extra effort after the time expected for such extra effort, that's up to the one making the choice, but it's bad manners in the least on the part of the bidder.

    And whether or not there is recourse available, other bidders would certainly have a legitimate beef to be upset. They, too, may have been able to have a better bid with a substitute that they didn't feel they had time to ask about.

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    I would not let this go without causing the contractor at least a modicum of pain. I would at least require the contractor to submit cut sheets of their proposed components, along with a "financial disclosure." By that I mean a statement of the cost of Brand C products, as compared to the costs of Brands A and B. If the contractor gets a significant savings by using Brand C, then the owner should benefit by a partial credit for some of the difference.
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2017 NEC unless otherwise noted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    The whole point is that the substitution is NOT being proposed in accordance with the rules.
    In this case, the bidder should shoulder any cost of approving substitutions.

    And whether or not there is recourse available, other bidders would certainly have a legitimate beef to be upset. They, too, may have been able to have a better bid with a substitute that they didn't feel they had time to ask about.
    Agreed here, too. If a certain product is specified, I must provide it, but I am allowed to shop for the best price for said product.
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b View Post
    I would at least require the contractor to submit cut sheets of their proposed components, along with a "financial disclosure." By that I mean a statement of the cost of Brand C products, as compared to the costs of Brands A and B. If the contractor gets a significant savings by using Brand C, then the owner should benefit by a partial credit for some of the difference.
    I'm on the fence here. I see both sides, but feel I should be the one to benefit from my shopping efforts, as long as the substitution meets legitimate product specs the original selection was based on, and the customer approves.

    If anything, it behooves me to show the customer why a substitution is better for them, despite the cost savings.
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

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