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09-09-2011, 19:04   #1
Z4bimmer
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Tender Drawings (Who is responsible for them?)

Hi,

I'm caught at the moment between my architect and a structural engineer regarding getting tender drawings completed. Would appreciate opinions on how I can resolve this situation.

Basically, I have full planning permission for a 3000 sq feet house. As we moved onto the next stage after planning I completed my architect's questionnaire regarding windows, doors, etc.. Following this they produced a set of drawings which I would have considered was comprehensive however when I ran it past a few builders I know they all rejected them as being very vague and not detailed enough. I also ran them past a QS who told me that they would be dangerous to get quotes off as there was a large scope for overrun on the builders part due to the vagueness of them. In all cases I was referred to get a structural engineer to complete this for me.

My problem is that this is what I thought I paid the architect for. I paid c. €3,000 for the architect, now the best quote I am getting from a structural engineer is €8,500 ex VAT to take the drawings as they are now, make them tender quality and to undertake the tender.

My questions are is the engineering cost too much and should I push my architect to pay some of this cost as it should have been their job?

Any advise would be great.
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09-09-2011, 19:24   #2
1chippy
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must be a serious house if he needs 8.5k for a set of tender drawings. get back onto your arc. most archs usually work in with an engineer on some items so they may be able to use some of the work that is already done by the arch.
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09-09-2011, 19:27   #3
BryanF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z4bimmer View Post
Hi,

I'm caught at the moment between my architect and a structural engineer regarding getting tender drawings completed. Would appreciate opinions on how I can resolve this situation.

Basically, I have full planning permission for a 3000 sq feet house. As we moved onto the next stage after planning I completed my architect's questionnaire regarding windows, doors, etc.. Following this they produced a set of drawings which I would have considered was comprehensive however when I ran it past a few builders I know they all rejected them as being very vague and not detailed enough. I also ran them past a QS who told me that they would be dangerous to get quotes off as there was a large scope for overrun on the builders part due to the vagueness of them. In all cases I was referred to get a structural engineer to complete this for me.

My problem is that this is what I thought I paid the architect for. I paid c. €3,000 for the architect, now the best quote I am getting from a structural engineer is €8,500 ex VAT to take the drawings as they are now, make them tender quality and to undertake the tender.

My questions are is the engineering cost too much and should I push my architect to pay some of this cost as it should have been their job?

Any advise would be great.
there is something a miss here, have you had this out with your arch? you paid an architect for a set of tender drawings, ye? then the most you should need from an Eng is a some structural input and i would not expect to pay and 1/8 of what you are being charged!

so is it a straight forward house? are you building from 'standard' materials? or is it a case that with the current 'crazyness' of undercutting in the tender market, that you have been advised by QS and builder to get an extensive set of drawings and specification prepared that may not have been necessary in the past...
just to clarify you paid the arch 3G for tender drawings? and the engineer wanted 8g? someone's having a laugh, and your first stop is your arch to see what he has to say. best of luck
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09-09-2011, 20:43   #4
Z4bimmer
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Thanks all.

It's a straightforward design, pretty much open plan with very little engineering specific work with one exception the roof. The roof is a butterfly design and due to the location of the house the architect was concerned that strong winds could create a vacuum effect over the roof.

I have spoken to my architect explaining that I read the contract which stated "prepare tender drawings" to mean bring drawings up to tender spec. However the architect is holding firm that you could build a house from these drawings however they do acknowledge that with an engineer's spec on top of these drawings you would get a better enforceable quote, I.e. One which would not leave gaps for the builder to claim extras.

I'm happy to get an engineer involved if I misread what the role of the architect is but it sounds like double counting of work here wi me paying twice. Am I right in my thoughts here?
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09-09-2011, 22:35   #5
archtech
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Architects generally aren't qualified to look after structural design. You mentioned that it is pretty much open plan. Open plan dwellings by their very nature contain more structurally designed elements (often hidden) compared to the more conventional layouts. Furthermore a butterfly roof should require input from a structural engineer anyway,in my opinion.

It maybe that the architect has prepared sufficiently detailed drawings and a specification for the non structural elements of the project, however the current gaps in structural detail would present problems for accurate pricing, hence builders would describe the information a vague.

In terms of cost differences between parties fees, there's far more competition in architectural services at present to that of engineering.
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09-09-2011, 22:57   #6
No6
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Unless its structurally very complicated 8k for a structural design is crazy money. Whatever about bashing the poor architect over the head why dont you ring around and get a few quotes from structural engineers. I have never had a client pay the structural engineer I use over 2k for any domestic job. I wouldn't however have done a detailed tender package untill I had the structural details and incorporated them into my design. If I read your post right your engineers quote is to isssue the tender etc as well and may include inspections and certification of the entire building. This is most likely duplicating what the architect should be doing, get your engineer to quote for structural design, inspection of structre and certification of same only not have him take the whole job over!! If you are in the west PM me your details and I will send you my Structural engineers details.
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09-09-2011, 23:17   #7
BryanF
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+1 No6
Z4, unfortunately there's not much you can do here, generally a set of dwgs can be prepared by the arch with a 'see eng's spec' caveat which is quiet straight forward to price for, but maybe not with what you've told us re your open plan and roof. altough your arch should have warned you you of this expense, although maybe he had expected it to be a construction stage issue.

I would also reiterate the need for an exceptional good set of tender drawings at the moment, to ensure a fixed price contract ,as guys are undercutting each other so much as to price jobs at a loss, in the hope they can find extras or gaps in the drawings/spec as they go along.

so, is the real issue here the 8g, maybe shop around.. cause this seems very high even for a set of bespoke engineering drawings.
when you get your tenders back and sorted, comeback and give us a look at this roof

BTW have you looked at your BER: particularly the ventilation, air-tightness and building fabric of the build?
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10-09-2011, 10:04   #8
sinnerboy
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Tender SET

Drawings alone are never sufficient . One needs a Tender SET of documents to include

1. Drawings
2. Specification
3. Intention to enter into contract particulars
4. Form of Tender which clearly separates out client items from builders items
5. Schedule of PC sums

I would expect to have received all this for €3k

I would also expect to be advised that I also need to appoint a Structural Engineer to take responsibility for the structural aspects - for a fee around €2k

I would also expect a report on returned tenders to be included in the €3k Architects fee.

I would expect Architect services during the course of the build to attract another fee.
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11-09-2011, 09:31   #9
Poor Uncle Tom
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In preparing a tender pack to include the detailed drawings, those are after all construction detailed drawings, the structural design elements need to be incorporated, eg., for stantions sizing, beam drops and casings, found pad sizes and reinforcements and ties, etc., etc.

I feel that your Architect, while giving you his own price, should have advised you on getting a structural engineer involved and the cost of this. We all have Engineers we work with all the time, this is necessary for a fully integrated design as you describe and to arrive at a place where the tender can be finalised.

I feel the Engineer in your case is taking full advantage of your situation. If you have ran it passed a few builders, a QS and then the Engineers, in all likelyhood the Engineer here sees themselves as Superman flying in to save the day, and putting an appropriately lofty figure on to reflect this.

The €3,000 quoted is a decent price, but should include all tender items, you should expect to pay €1,500-€2,000 as well for the structural design element, imo, these go hand in hand as any builder cannot tender for the structure if it hasn't been designed.

Personally, I would run the Structural Engineer who quoted you €8,500 + VAT = €10,285 and have a very serious chat with your Architect and advise him/her to pull their socks up and get the bloody job done as they will be responsible for any overruns by the building contractor due to ommisions in tender documentation. Also sit down with the Architect and choose a suitable Engineer to join you both on the job.
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12-09-2011, 00:44   #10
MacArch
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First of all. Is your Architect a RIAI registered Architect. This is important as there are many practices out there claiming to be architects but they are not profesionally qualified or follow any code of conduct / ethics. You can check with the RIAI to find out if your 'Architect' is registered. www.riai.ie

All good architects would work on a regular basis with Structural Engineers and Q.S as part of a design team. For your architect to produce Tender Drawings, then elements requiring structual design would need to be addressed on his drawings i.e. Foundation Spec, Beam Sizes, Roof Design etc.etc. There would be an additional cost for the services of a Structural Engineer but this should have been clarified before detailed design commenced.

There could be a misunderstanding as to be purpose of the drawings which your 'architect' has provided. A good architect would clarify what you need for tendering. It depends if you are going to self-build / direct labour or if you plan to employ a single builder to carry out the compelte construction.

The question is; Who will be inspecting the building works and signing-off on compliance of the construction works??? This should be the same person who produced the detailed drawings and specifications.

Good Luck with your project.
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