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« BIM: A Collaborative Effort to Define the Quantity Takeoff Information Exchange for Use In Building Information Tools | Main | Beck Releases New Version of DProfiler »

10/22/2010

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I quoted a contractor our manufactured specialty equipment, and then they are trying to now build it themselves!

Owners, whether private or public, have no business asking for information that could be considered a trade secret. Just put the project out to bid for the intended result. What the contractor's line item cost is, means of construction, etc. should not be a concern of the owner. This what differentiates the contrator's to begin with. Do they ask for this type of information when they buy toilet paper, pencils, a fire truck? I doubt it.

Cost breakdowns and itemized proposals are being requested more and more over the last several years. It is perplexing to me what benefit the owner gains in understanding a contractor's or subcontractor's price breakdown, particularly in a competitive bid basis. We have declined to breakdown our pricing in past bids in simply provided lump sum pricing - in some cases it has been acceptable and the owner understood our reasoning for not wanting to follow their request. However, the notion of asking for this breakdown creates a slippery slope for the contractors and subcontractors. The owners simply have no business knowing the contractor's business. Soon they may be asking to see a company's profits, owner's compensations, etc.

If there were plans and specfications issued for the project, the owner should have the right to verify if a bidding contractor is complying with those requirements.

If the project is issued as a 'performance specification', where the owner speicfies their intended result, and the contractor has to determine the way to provide an end product meeting that result, then the owner should be allowed to see exactly what they will get in the end. If it is a simple project, where the means and methods of constructing the project are what is in question, then no, the contractor has a right to keep this information secret until after the bid.

The bottom line is that an owner can request any information they believe they need. A contractor has the option to bid the project or not. Should a contractor not wish to submit the required information, that is thier choice, but the owner could reject their bid on the basis of being non-responsive. In the overall best interest of 'the project', the contractor would be better served if they were notified they were proposing an unsatisfactor method as soon as possible. This would apply to the owner as well so they could also move on rather than have a major issue during construction.

Obviously the judge who decided this is an idiot. It sounds like they have no business deciding construction law that has big ramifications like this. Yes intillectual property comes in every form of contracting and almost every GC or sub has special things they might do to make them competitive. So it is none of the owners or architects business what the breakdown of pricing is. I believe in a large majority of these cases the owner or owners head of construction dept. has no clue about real world in the field construction (prices)and most of these itemized breakdowns are being pushed by the architects/engineers.If these two groups spent more time talking to each other during the design process and stop worrying about our job and our prices, there would not be a need for all these breakdowns because they would not have so many change orders if they got their job right the first time. They want itemized prices so when there is an extra they say oh well you should do it for this price............ ughh no.... quantity means everything and you would not give the same price for 1 of something or install 1 of something as you would 100 of something. I hate when they ask for breakdowns for sitework related items. We just dont bid that way (per item) and it makes us have to rebid certain items after we have the price done. Everyone should give a good detailed scope of work, and lump sum price, and other prices for any seperate types of work they may perform. But the line item prices for each item is not accurate pricing for many things, it works for some but not all. And as far as OH&P % that is none of their business.

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