Your company selects a GC for a 10-story office building project. Contract includes generic terms and does not differentiate between a GC and its subcontractors or specific items of work. Bids are send out for the concrete package and 3 sub-contractors have tight bids within 3% off each other. The scope of work includes framework, rebar, pour and finish. The lowest bidder was selected and interviews conducted with the sub-contractor to make sure the scope of work and schedule are covered. The written bid did not reference any drawings. At the interview you ask if they have all concrete shown on both arch dwgs and structural dwgs. You ask because there were a couple of concrete housekeeping pads and one set of steel stair infills shown on the arch dwgs that you want to make sure are picked up. The sub-contractor acknowledges and notes that this was documented in the pre-award meeting notes.
You hire the interviewed subcontractor and a week later mail a subcontract agreement and at the same time work is begun. Sub calls inquiring reference made to the arch dwgs. You remind the sub of the housekeeping pads and stair infills. Work continues. Two weeks later sub sends signed agreement but the reference to arch dwgs is crossed out. It turns out that several walls shown on arch dwgs are not shown on structural dwgs. Walls are not detailed as they would have been on the structural dwgs which would typically include steel embeds and rebar. A request for information (RFI) is written and the structural engineer responds with the necessary sketches but the architect does not attach a directional document such as a construction change directive (CCD) to the RFI. As a result the sub refuses to accept the contract as originally written and will not install the walls unless a change order is issued. The walls are worth $50K and your company nor the sub have the money in your budget to take care of the issue.
In this case there were also a lot of miscommunication errors. There were no specific terms. No one knows exactly what they are supposed to do. There is no coherence between the structural and arch dwgs. The written bid should have referenced arch dwgs. Drawings should have been very carefully specified and also have had to be dated with page numbers on dwgs. All dwgs must be up to date.
In this case the client hires a GC to build a $3 million executive home but he also hires separately an architect for the design. Once the permit was obtained the architect’s contract was closed out. The agreed contract does not tie the GC to a fixed price and the $3 million estimate is referred only as a “budget” in the contract. The owner assumes that because of verbal communication with the GC that the $3 million agreement was a lump sum. Discussions and estimates were not tied to or referenced in the contract. The owners’ mistake was not having any representative like a project manager or someone with prior experience as the owner had never been involved in a construction project.
During construction changes were made by the city and owner but none were formalized in the contract. Many changes were due to building code changes. The GC understood this to be a time and materials (T&M) project they did not find it necessary to submit change orders against the “budgeted” amount. When the project was 90% completed the GC invoices owner for 100% payment at that point the GC indicates that the project will run over $500K from the $3 million “budgeted” amount. The owner refuses to pay the GC, the GC pulls off the job and states he will not complete the job until the owner pays off the remaining $1 million and the additional $500K. At this point GC is dismissed and both parties sue each other.
In this case I believe the owner is at fault for not having a third party involved. He should have had someone with prior construction experience like a project manager. He would have been better informed and any changes made would have been changed in the contract. Every change should have been referenced back to the contract. The contract was vague as it did not tie the GC to a fixed price.
Some of the issues that I encounter while reading case 54, was that the subcontractor had put different sprinkle heads on every floor. The Contractor didn’t specify what kind of sprinkler head was needed during the installation. When the owner came to inspect , he wasn’t satisfy that the sprinkler heads were different in every floor . In my point of view I think that the contractor has the fault for not specify to the subcontractor in the beginning of the project ,on what type of sprinkler head was needed. The contractor is responsible for checking the shop drawings and submittals. If they choose to change it , the contractor will have to pay for the expenses.
Professional Practice: Case study: 54
In case study no. 54: Fire Protection Heads, there were several issues about miscommunication and keeping track of what needs to be done. In this case the problem begins with the installation of different types of sprinkler heads, each floor has a different sprinkler head. There are only two weeks left for turnover of a three-story building and many of the city inspections are complete and a certificate of occupancy can be obtained on time. It seems that in this case the general contractor was at fault for not guaranteeing that everything was being done properly. It is the general contractors obligation to supervise that the subcontractor was making the right choices and installing the right sprinkler head type. Although the owner is upset about the different sprinkler head types, it is only an aesthetic problem. If the sprinkler heads do not function properly or the same, in this case they must be changed. However, this would delay the turnover and cost more money and time to do. If the general contractor had the knowledge about this discrepancy, before the installation then it is the contractors fault.
Case 54: Fire Protection Head
This case starts at the substantial completion part of a three-story build-to-suit office building project. The situation is that the building completed many city inspections and has achieved a certificate of occupancy (C of O) that is obtained on time. But the only problem is that the fire protection and life safety inspections remain, and the sub-contractor has placed the wrong sprinkler head throughout each of the three floors, but the function of the sprinkler head is perfectly fine. So, in this case we concluded that the general contractor (GC) who oversees checking up on his sub-contractor takes the fall for this mistake. Plus, due to the timing of this scenery there is no point in changing the sprinkler head if it is an aesthetic problem since there is clearly no problem with the function and it will pass inspection. The GC should have been paying close attention to the assembly of this part of fire protection sprinkler head but it comes down to a lack of supervision by the General Contractor to the sub-contractor for not asking ahead to an Architect or Engineer for a detail on this problem and noticing a little earlier.
Two weeks out before turnover and the fire protection sub-contractor messes up by putting a different sprinkler head on every floor. It is the dutie of the contractor to manage their sub-contractor but without supervision; the sub-contractor did something which was not detailed on the drawings. If it is just aesthetic purpose it may be pointless to change as the inspection is happening soon and turnover is coming closer and closer but the fact that the sub-contractors put different heads on each floor without questioning the Contractor first still lies the blame on the Contractor as he has to pay for all the changes and may possible extend the turnover and inpection. The General Contractor should have caught that there was no details and asked the Architect and Engineers (if there is) about it.
Even though it is the sub-contractor’s fault; the blame will still be put onto the General Contractor as they are the ones who hire the sub-contractor. Usually if there is no details from the architect is usually because they know the General Contractor knows these common things and they hired a sub-contactor which specialists in that certain field which in this case is fire protection. The sprinkler head works according to the General Contractor and Engineers (if there is) and Architect then it is possible to not change them out at this point either as it is getting closer to inspection and turnover. The General Contractor should pay better attention and do more inspection rounds on sub-contractors work.
Case 51: Concrete walls
In this case we have a General contractor who was commissioned to build a 10-story office building. One of the main problems happening in this project is the lack of communication and professionalism. The Contractor decides to hire a sub-contractor to do the concrete form-work of the project. When the General Contractor sends out the documents for bidding the bidder did not referenced any of the drawings from the documents in his bid. In the Interview between the General Contractor and the sub-contractor the General Contractor took the sub-contractor’s word about getting all the work done instead of making an agreement on paper. This leads to walls not being installed in the project and the sub-contractor refuses to install the walls. The walls are worth $50,000 and there’s is no budget to install the walls. In this case the General Contractor is the one to blame for this problem because he should’ve never agreed to the bid knowing that the bid made by the subcontractor was low and because the subcontractor did not reference his bid to any drawings in the list.
Case 51: Concrete Walls
Upon Reading Case 51, we encountered many discrepancies that lead to an unpleasant outcome for everyone involved in the project. The written bid should have referenced the architectural drawings, given that there was missing information on the structural drawings and the subcontractors use the structural drawings to complete the work due to the amount of detail structural drawings provide. The general contractor should have never accepted any bids without referencing the specific drawings to be used for the work. A list of the pages, both signed and dated, should have been made to avoid any confusion. The general contractor should not have allowed the subcontractors to start any work without a signed contract.
While reading the case 26: Historic Restoration, I encounter a lot of problems. The first problem is bringing a child to your meetings with clients . I personally believe this is unprofessional , It clearly shows that you don’t take your job seriously. Bringing your child creates a distraction when your with your client.The second problem is having the architect recommend contractors with no documented resume or any type of brochure that shows he is qualified for the job. It’s really important to have proof of resume and previous work completed. It will help contractors attract more clients in the future. The third problem is there are no drawings or specification to what the owner specifically needs. Some of the terms used in the case are “if needed”, “as necessary” ” if requested by owner”. If you are not specific to what you need done ,then the restoration job will not be completed as you wish. The last problem found in this case is that the budget figures are estimated, the contractor didn’t take his time to ask supplier for a exact cost. It also says that neither the contractor and the owner signed the revised budget, to top it off , the revised budget wasn’t attached to the contract. In the end, this can cause a huge legal issue between both parties. Contractors should always find out the exact cost from suppliers because you want to meet the owners budget.
There are many problems throughout one’s professional career and some repetitive ones. For example, an architect will consistently have issues with contractors and owners of the property they’re working on. This case study is about a situation where the owner refuses to put more money on the table for the contractor and his services. The contractor deserves a bigger pay check because the owner seems to lack some information which the main problem in this case was. There was also a lack of communication between the owner and contractor, many who agree will say they should have documented there agreements so there would have not been any misconceptions. When it comes to dealing with payment, the owner should always expect up to 10% more then what the original pricing was, just incase there would be any changes. In order for this project to work, both contractor and the property owner should be on the right page.