designers failing at their job and its ok?

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kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Engineers need to go before the boards that license them and face diciplinary actions for their incompetence or willful fudging of the numbers or specs knowing they are wrong.
Pay fines or loose their license . Get put through the ringer by all parties. Spend years in littigation and spend huge amounts on legal fees.
It is about time that the EE and their cronies stop protecting one another.
Fair point, but maybe EC's need to stand up for one another instead of beating each other down. Plumbers and HVAC guys seem to do a better job of uniting and being somewhat consistent from one contractor to the next then most EC's.
 

__dan

Senior Member
DCP has it (engineering without a license). The supervisory board and an interview with the state's AG are on my list. There is no ringer but there is an outside counsel to deny any wrongdoing. Don't know if she costs them enough to deny them their profits, but that would be good. I want the supervisory board to answer my question, if crime does pay or if crime does not pay.
 

nhfire77

Senior Member
Location
NH
Careful with that broad brush there, Sparky.


We need to discuss this in large generic terms. I would like to extropolate what was said above

PE's that ignore shoddy, even dangerous work product of their peers are complicit in this situation. Same goes for EC's.

In my experience the Difference is there isn't usually 2 or more EC firms on a job. Many projects I handle there is an architectual firm, MEP firm and possibly a third and fourth. I submit you stop accepting crap drawing from each other, and have it in writing. These firms have stuck together like HVAC/plumbers have, but now its slipping into the cutthroat world of EC.


Realisticly you aren't going to police your competition or spend your time filing complaints about them. the PE's here want to elevate their trade, how do we bring your brethren on board?
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
Careful with that broad brush there, Sparky.

I am sorry if I offended some. I let myself get roped into this stuff again.
I just have had too much experience with arrogant EE.
They are god and the EC must cave in.
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
Oh yeah - no "if" about it. You were offensive. And somehow I doubt you are sorry about that. Pretty big brush you are swinging -

ice


I really am sorry , Sorry for being so abrasive. I have had many projects go afoul and cost me tens of thousands over the years due to incomplete , inaccurate or just blatant not code compliant plans. And not because I missed something!

I just get going when I shoulda stayed out.
 
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Strathead

Senior Member
Like it or not, that's the way I see most fire alarm projects bid - design by the contractor. That's also the way most fire protection contracts are bid.

How would I know if a panel needs an expansion module? Most of these existing installations look like crap with wires hanging out and everything else imaginable. I wouldn't dare touch it, much less open a cover and try to decide if an expansion module is needed. My only hope would be to ask the person who has installed and maintained this mess, who is basically going to be one of the bidding contractors. His incentive to be helpful is ziltch, and he is free to lie all he wants. And if I asked 5 different people, I'd get 5 different answers, and whoever got the contract would still come up with some off the wall request for a change order for a needed upgrade or recall, or some other made up reason to ask for more money.

I see electrical contractors work their buts off for a bid, but it seems like its too much trouble for a fire alarm person to even visit the site?? And fire alarm contractors usually have an inside track based on the existing brand of panel- the manufacturers limit the number of competing contractors, or it may even be a single sole source contractor with no competition.

Your comment borders on making me be inappropriate on the forum. "How would I know if a panel needs an expansion module?" You have to be kidding me. Let me ask you, how would I know? You are being paid to produce a set of engineered drawings for the purposes of building and constructing the project. If you don't know then find out! Instead you somehow think I should do the work involved in finding out for free. Or better yet, just guess and take the risk? Again for free. I am bidding for the privilege of doing the work. You are being paid for a product. If the owner wants a design build that is what they should pay for.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
You are being paid for a product.


I think you are missing one of the points raised ....... they are no longer being paid to go and make field visits, make phone calls etc. They, like subcontractors are being financially squeezed and as you know when that happens quality suffers.
 

Strathead

Senior Member
I think you are missing one of the points raised ....... they are no longer being paid to go and make field visits, make phone calls etc. They, like subcontractors are being financially squeezed and as you know when that happens quality suffers.

I didn't miss that, and I agree that it is true. That doesn't excuse them. They are being paid to design the system. I don't get to build three quarters of the job and then claim that I had to bid too tightly to finish. He can't justify the attitude that he can't find out what the fire alarm system requires, but I, along with potentially 3 to 5 additional estimators are supposed to figure out exactly what it takes, assign a reasonable price to it, be low, and make sure that the workers follow through, maybe, because other four bidders may do it instead. God forbid that he include an additional two hours in to his underpriced design bid to do some research. It isn't like part of his job or something. And then he makes a comment about electrical change orders taking advantage. Yeah it is offensive.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I think you are missing one of the points raised ....... they are no longer being paid to go and make field visits, make phone calls etc. They, like subcontractors are being financially squeezed and as you know when that happens quality suffers.
Owners do know this as well and use it to their advantage, they are going to hose someone in the end. All you can do as the contractor is make it clear that your bid includes what is in the design, if the design is not complete then there will be additional charges/change orders to complete the job. You can possibly point out with your initial submission that you do have concerns with specifications being accurate, but that may not mean anything if they are looking for low bidder. Most jobs I have done with an engineered set of plans I usually was not competing for the winning the project but was still asked for a price - that is where mentioning concerns with specs is going to possibly be very important.
 

Shoe

Senior Member
Location
USA
Bingo!
Yes I would belive for voltage drop.
The problem is they do not specify a larger upsized grounding conductor.

That to me is Fraud. as to me the EE is trying to evade the upsizing of the grounding wire when they are upsizing the current carrying conductors for voltage drop.

I don't know how they can get away with this garbage , when it is us EC who get chastised from the inspectors or other AHJ.

If they left the equipment ground sized for a 60A feeder (#10 Cu or #8 AL), then I agree this is a violation. This would be easily addressed in an RFI and following up with a change-order.

The EE may have just made a mistake. Don't ascribe to malice what can be easily explained by incompetence :)
 

Strathead

Senior Member
If they left the equipment ground sized for a 60A feeder (#10 Cu or #8 AL), then I agree this is a violation. This would be easily addressed in an RFI and following up with a change-order.

The EE may have just made a mistake. Don't ascribe to malice what can be easily explained by incompetence :)

I don't see it as incompetence either. This is a terrible code! If an engineer had a calculated load of 142 amps per phase and wisely decided to size the panel and breaker at 200A for future expansion, would the person who wrote this complaint believe the ground should be upsized because the load is less than 150 Amps? This is so nonsensical.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I didn't miss that, and I agree that it is true. That doesn't excuse them.

In my opinion it does. They cannot be expected to do what they are not being paid for.

They are being paid to design the system. I don't get to build three quarters of the job and then claim that I had to bid too tightly to finish.

That is not what is happening, unless you where in on the negotiations for the designer you have no idea what they agreed to do and what the person paying their bill agreed they did not have to do.

He can't justify the attitude that he can't find out what the fire alarm system requires, but I, along with potentially 3 to 5 additional estimators are supposed to figure out exactly what it takes, assign a reasonable price to it, be low, and make sure that the workers follow through, maybe, because other four bidders may do it instead.

Of course the designer can justify it if they are not being paid to for research time.

No one is forcing you to bid this work, you could walk away at anytime.

God forbid that he include an additional two hours in to his underpriced design bid to do some research.

You are a contractor and you are pulling that line???

You know that if you are not paid for something you don't give it away.

Look, I have to deal with crappy prints all the time as well but I really feel you are trying to assign the blame for this to the wrong person.
 

Strathead

Senior Member
In my opinion it does. They cannot be expected to do what they are not being paid for.




That is not what is happening, unless you where in on the negotiations for the designer you have no idea what they agreed to do and what the person paying their bill agreed they did not have to do.




Of course the designer can justify it if they are not being paid to for research time.

No one is forcing you to bid this work, you could walk away at anytime.



You are a contractor and you are pulling that line???

You know that if you are not paid for something you don't give it away.

Look, I have to deal with crappy prints all the time as well but I really feel you are trying to assign the blame for this to the wrong person.


So your contract with the owner somehow makes the distinction that you are supposed to provide a design, but not if it means you have to visit the job site? What I don't miss is that they aren't being paid bundles of money any more than we are. As I asked earlier, would you also say it is my problem if the addition requires a larger panel or an upgraded service that the Engineer didn't note? Or less drastically, he indicates to extend the lighting circuit, but we find out that it is overloaded with the extension? These are all the same thing. If the Engineer isn't "paid" to do what he has to do, then he shouldn't do it.

Don't kid yourself that we, as contractors aren't giving stuff away. We do it every day. My whole premise is based on the implication that it is the Fire alarm contractors responsibility to cover things like power supplies in his bid. My premise is that it is the EE's responsibility or it is a change order.
 

iceworm

Curmudgeon still using printed IEEE Color Books
Location
North of the 65 parallel
Occupation
EE (Field - as little design as possible)
Just random thought and observations:

... Don't kid yourself that we, as contractors aren't giving stuff away. We do it every day. ....
Unless you are limiting the give away to less than 2% (nominal number - pulled out of the, ahhhh, air) That doesn't sound like a good business plan.

I'm looking at a job that has smidgen of NEC electrical and some fire alarm stuff. My response to the owner is, "I can't do the fire alarm drawings. That takes a Fire Marshal card. You are going to need a specialist. My estimate for her is $15K."

Owner has some choices to make. I can't do the specialist work and I won't pull the money from my pocket to pay the specialist. I may not get the job.

PS. I'm not backing any side here

And, I'm one of the evil phillistines :?

ice
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
So your contract with the owner somehow makes the distinction that you are supposed to provide a design, but not if it means you have to visit the job site?

I don't know and neither do you. Neither of us was there.

But if you have a customer that keeps beating down the price you obviously will do less work for that job or walk from the job.

There is no charity here.

What I don't miss is that they aren't being paid bundles of money any more than we are.

I don't know and its really non of my damn business is it? No on forced me to be an electrician and no one forced you to be an EC.

As I asked earlier, would you also say it is my problem if the addition requires a larger panel or an upgraded service that the Engineer didn't note? Or less drastically, he indicates to extend the lighting circuit, but we find out that it is overloaded with the extension? These are all the same thing.

I think that when errors and omissions happen you take care of it and bill for it. Why waste worrying about if the designer should have known? That will be between the designer and their customer.

If the Engineer isn't "paid" to do what he has to do, then he shouldn't do it.

I am starting to understand you now, you get to decide what the EEs responsibilities are, not the EE or the person paying their bill.;)



Don't kid yourself that we, as contractors aren't giving stuff away. We do it every day.

That is up to you and yes we sometimes give stuff away ...... but do you make it a habit to give away the same thing every job?



Another question. How often do we voluntarily credit when things go the other way? :p

My whole premise is based on the implication that it is the Fire alarm contractors responsibility to cover things like power supplies in his bid. My premise is that it is the EE's responsibility or it is a change order.

My premise is that it is not up to the sub contractors to determine responsibilities of designer they are not paying the bill for.

Please trust me, I have a clue about little info, bad prints etc. I ask for cut sheets I get a copy of the PO for the equipment instead. :roll::?
 

nhfire77

Senior Member
Location
NH
I am starting to understand you now, you get to decide what the EEs responsibilities are, not the EE or the person paying their bill.;)

My premise is that it is not up to the sub contractors to determine responsibilities of designer they are not paying the bill for.

?

No we do no get to determine responibilites of the the designer, actually neither does the client to a large extent.

They arebound by law and the trade groups and societies the are certiifed by and belong to. (Gee that's funny so are we)

When they do no live up to those self imposed standards, it's largely negligence and reflects poorly on all of them and makes us look bad as well. No one blames the EE when the EC drops the ball. Why does the EC get blamed when the EE drops the ball? It's put in to writing in most contract that way though.

no one forced me to do this job and if I don't like it I can quit... Fine :cool:. You take your craft serious and wouldn't expect junk from you or your co-workers to past muster would you? What happened to personal and professional accountability?
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
If they left the equipment ground sized for a 60A feeder (#10 Cu or #8 AL), then I agree this is a violation. This would be easily addressed in an RFI and following up with a change-order.

The EE may have just made a mistake. Don't ascribe to malice what can be easily explained by incompetence :)

I don't think Malice as that would mean that the intention of the EE was malicious. I do however it it the way the EE is dealing with

250.122(b).


Also it takes time to talk over a problem, it takes time to deal with a RFI, Most customers don't want to pay for the changes. Futhermore they tell you bid the plans as drawn not as will be necessary.
 
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