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« Program to Promote Energy Efficiency in California Launched | Main | Alliance Still Accepting Ballot Submissions for Updating National BIM Standard »

03/31/2011

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standardize on Textura software for payment management. See recent article:
http://www.thestreet.com/story/11021728/1/pcl-announces-full-implementation-of-textura-construction-payment-management-across-canada-and-the-united-states.html

Specifications by EPC are either generic and outdated or geared towards a particular vendors product and lifted from the vendors catalog. When a lower bid comes in and is accepted by the owner, the EPC cries because his vendor that buys lunch once a week did not get chosen. EPCs are lazy and corrupt and this overshadows the expertise that they truely own.

We beleieve that a suppliers quote offered in response to a request for bid on a specific project is a quote to meet the specific requirements of the project documents. We therefore offer a Contract Purchase Order for non-commodity items. This contract PO clearly states that satisfaction of the specifications and drawings is the purchase. It is the supplier's responsibility to understand if their product fulfills the requirements of the project documents. Should they be mistaken we demand that they fulfill their contract even if it means they must buy from their own competition.

What or who is an EPC?

All the more reason to have your purchase orders and contracts contain a clause the makes the seeler certify he has read the specifications and plans and specifies the product purchased meets or exceeds those project specific contract documents.

I think for many there is an assumption that equal or superior is accepted as well as proprietary products. Most jobs were bid with that language included.
As a vendor you often times bid your equivelant products and it is up to the purchaser to approve or disapprove equals. We supply a letter with our bid to contractors that our products may not be identical to what is called out in the specs but is an equivelant or our own proprietary product that serves the same function. It can get murky but like everything else up-front communication is the key.

Most Specs are lifted from a specfic vendors catalog. Only that vendor can meet all the specs. By definition, every other vendor will deviate from the specs in some manner. Sometimes exceeding and sometimes falling short. The EPCs need to spec the essential features only. But this is rarely done because it requires thinking and work. So the easy way is to pick a favorite vendor, copy the specs, and demand all be met even tho only about 10% are critical. You think I am kidding.... Just look and see how many vendors offer free engineering specs so the EPC just has to copy and paste and the owner has no clue that they paid thousands for a task they could have easily done themselves.

On many of our projects we often use programs like MasterSpec to write our specifications, which are written to be as generic as possible without naming specific products. In fact, in our contracts we are often prohibited from sole sourcing products unless instructed to from the begining by the client.

We actually once had a design build contractor in the office who we had some stuff to work through and discovered they had bid certain portions of the project in a "leaner" manner in order to save money, helping them get the low bid. When they went to lunch the architect wrote on the white board "The drawings and specifications are a requirement, not a suggestion" for the contractor to see when they returned.

The subcontractor world is where the rubber hits the road. The GC community squeezes a price from a subcontractor then has an expectation that it will include any and all ambiguous terms that were specified. The architect has become a document provider and accepts no accountability towards holding his own specification. The subcontractor has his profit held hostage by the GC in order to extort whatever outcome the GC wishes. All risks live at the subcontract level. We carry all the financial and liability risk. We have little or no leverage to fight the battle. It is a bad situation. The system is sick and needs to be fixed. State goverment needs to support the subcontract community. That is wehre new jobs will be created.

I agree with Bill. As a subcontractor we have to comply with the specifications and generic "catch-all" notes that the A/E puts on the drawings but we are also caught by the suppliers. They send us a 10 page bill of material 30 minutes before bid time. If something on it is wrong and we don't catch it they say, "We sent you a bill of material." The better ones will honor their quote and make it right but in many cases they aren't low because they honor their quote and make it right.

Justin,
You cannot have it all ways. You complain when the designer makes the specification broad and generic (Something which is oft times required by the owner due to "or equals" and the need to have increased competition) and you complain when the specification is specific based on what the designer feels is the best product (the designer is not ALWAYS driven by the bottom line like the contractor). I've seen plenty of occasions when the owner will force a substitution to cheaper equipment (usually based on the emphatic suggestions of the contractor and the bottom line) and then when that equipment has shortcomings or doesn't mesh well with the overall system, the owner is coming back to designer.

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

So cute! I already like you on FB and also get your posts on Google Reader. :)

Thanks, I'm going to have nightmares tonight.

It has the same effect of entrenching the elite in corrupt economies.
Among a people general corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.
By yzi10

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