Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yet More Troubles in Design-Build Land

Got a letter in the mail today from Winans Construction from the big boss.

Why they felt the need to send it snail mail is beyond me. I'm not going to transcribe the entire thing but the gist of it is......

We're the pros you're not and we think the plans are fine as is pay us the money now!!!

That kinda chapped my hide a bit as I believe that I have several legit concerns that they are just glossing over....

I sent them the following email just now, we'll see how they respond.

Having received Garys letter today I thought it prudent to clarify a few things from my earlier emails. The following is the complete list of issues I have with the plan set and the design contract in general.

Plan Set Issues: I am willing to entertain the idea that the 4 independent GC’s who looked over your plans and who all basically had the same issues are somehow wrong. You have recently done a house remodel in Alameda correct? If you can show me the set of plans for that job stamped and approved by the city and the cities engineer and those plans are not significantly different in detail-style, i.e. the engineers’ plans are hand drawn with no dimensions and missing sections I will concede most of the points below.

Plan Set Issues:

Engineers Plans: I understand that there can be back and forth with the cities engineer regarding the engineering portion of the plans but I believe my issues are separate from that.

E1) The final engineering plan shown in these documents is not the plan the engineer and I settled on and is not what I believed I was paying for.
E2) The engineers’ plans do not appear complete. The call-outs reference parts of the plan that are not shown. Call outs A, B, C, D are not shown in the engineers framing plans. It really appears that the engineer simply forgot to include the roof framing plan in this set as these call outs would seem to reference this. Do you realize that he doesn’t even call out the size of the parrallam ridge beams anywhere?
E3) My concern that the plans being hand written and hard to read several of the post call-outs are incomplete.
E4) Why are there no dimensions on the engineers plan?
E5) How is the engineers wet stamp not included in the price of these plans?
E6) Where are the engineers calcs that have to be included for permit submittal?

General Concerns:

G1) It looks to me like all the plans need to be ‘cleaned up’ there are spurious dimension lines, and dimensions, on the 2nd floor demo plan, the 1st floor construction plan, 2nd floor construction plan (G), and (H) is misnamed 2nd floor construction plan when it should be 2nd floor electrical plan. I mention this as I believe that these are the kinds of things that will get it kicked out of plan check in a hurry.
G2) The lack of a real zoning/planning set of plans. The zoning set is significantly different than the permit set I do not understand how you can consider them to be the same.
G3) Where are the details for flashing the doors and windows and roof?
G4) Where are the details for flashing the doors and windows and roof?
G5) Is there going to be an insulation plan?
G6) The electrical plans were much too cluttered-trying to show too much on the same diagram.

General Design Agreement Issues:
D1) From your letter I do not seem to have in my files your section E-1. If this was done it should be a simple matter of printing it out and sending it on or emailing it to me.
D2) Where is the finish schedule. I believe that part of this process was to spec out all the finishes with costs, I do not have this in my files.

I can not consider our design agreement fulfilled until all the above items are corrected to my satisfaction.

For future correspondence please reference my concerns by item number, i.e. ‘We are discussing issue E1 with the engineer and will get back to you asap’ While I understand that several of the above items can be considered a matter of opinion E1 and E2 certainly are not.

Daniel Neumansky

If Winans Construction will not make good on the above issues we are kinda screwed. I've already got a rough estimate from another engineer and its going to cost at least $3000 to have him redo-check-complete the existing engineering plans....this is more than I owe Winans Construction to complete this agreement.

I'll have to create the zoning plan set myself, I'll have to clean up the permit set myself. I don't really want to do this as one, my time is precious and two, I think I've already paid them to do this for me.


Irene and I sat down today discussed what we thought we were getting from Winans Construction with this agreement.

  1. A complete permit ready set of plans. This to us means a really complete set of plans that have a reasonably good chance of being accepted as is.
  2. A complete scope of work broken out with costs for each section
  3. As part of the scope of work a finish schedule showing the costs of all the lights, tin ceiling, etc.

I'm willing to concede that what I thought I was getting is a bid-set of plans which is really what we need, but the wording of the agreement is for a permit-ready set of plans which has less detail.

We'll see how it goes. I'll keep y'all up to date.


Todd - Home Construction & Improvement said...

Sorry to hear your frustrations. As the Principal Engineer of a design-build company I completely agree with your stance. It seems to me these guys really don't understand what they are doing or they aren't very professional. I wish you the best of luck.

The MadScientist said...

Hi Todd and thanks for commenting.
I think what really is happening here is that they've spent double the hours on this design agreement than they thought and they are just trying to finish it without putting anymore work into it.