Case Study 51: Concrete Walls

After my company was selected as the GC for a 10-story office bldg, we sent out bids for the concrete package,  and  3 subs have tight bids within 3%  off each other. the scope of work includes framework, rebar, pour, and finish. the concrete and pump will be taken care of by my company.

after the lowest bidder was selected there was an interview conducted with the subcontractor to make sure the scope of work and schedule are covered. their bid did not reference any drawings, but in the interview, they mentioned that the concrete work was shown on both architectural and structural drawings. This was asked because there were some concrete housekeeping pads, and steel stair infill was shown on arch, drawings and wanted to make sure that it was picked up. The sub acknowledged this and notes on this were taken on pre-award meeting notes.

The contract was awarded and the agreement was sent around the time the work began. the sub calls back asking why there was a reference made to the arch. drawings and we remind him of the housekeeping pads and stair infill. 2 weeks later the sub sends the signed agreement but the reference to arch drawings is crossed out. several walls were shown on the arch drawings but not on the structural drawings.

An (RFI) is written and structural engineer responds with appropriate sketches, but the architect does not attach a directional document such as a (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 my company or the sub don’t have the funds to make amends.

In this case, the bid from the subcontractor should not have been accepted in the first place without seeing their architectural and structural drawings to make sure that everything was being acknowledged. the sub should have also not crossed out the reference to the architectural drawings on the agreement and the architect should have attached a directional document. the architect, GC, and sub all share faults for not communicating properly.  Although the owner was not involved directly, he would have to, unfortunately, put up money for the work to be done properly.

Case Study 24: Budget or Build?

In this case, the main issue was that many agreements made between the client and the general contractor were only discussed verbally and not documented. In this case, the client contracted a GC and an Architect separately for the design of the $3 million executive home.  Once the permit was approved, the architect’s contract was closed out.

In the contract, the GC discussed in details what could be reimbursable, but it did not tie the GC to a fixed price. In the contract, the $3 million were referred to as the “budget”. The owner assumed that this amount was the lump-sum agreement because of verbal discussions and early “bid” estimates prior to the contract agreement. During the project, many changes had to be made mostly due to building code.

The GC believed this was a (T&M) time and materials project, therefore he felt that paperwork for change orders on a budgeted amount was not necessary. at 90% completion, the GC invoiced the owner for the 100% payment and also indicated that the project would overrun $500K. The owner then refused to pay the GC. the GC then pulls off the job and will not complete the work until the owner pays off remanding $1 million and the additional $500K, at that point the GC is dismissed by the owner and both parties sue each other.

Legally I believe that firstly the GC cannot pull off a job. The GC is at fault for not completing his part of the contract and abandoning the job. However, the owner is also at fault for not contracting a third party owner’s rep or agency construction manager involved that would’ve helped him out as this was his first time being involved in a construction project. The GC is also at fault for not submitting or notifying the owner about the changes that had to be made due to the building code. In order to avoid this situation, there should have been a fixed price set and the architect’s contract should’ve not been closed out until final completion as he would’ve had control in the situation. In this case, I believe that the owner has to pay the GC the remaining $1 million from the contract, but the $500K should be the responsibility of the GC as he never notified the owner of ongoing changes to the project.

Case Study 54: Fire Protection Heads-Yocelyne Portillo

Yocelyne Portillo

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 no. 54: Fire Protection

To prevent this type of mistake from happening the subcontracted should have made it his first instinct to get in contact with the General contractor and inform him about the sprinkler heads on the fire protection system. The subcontractor should of followed the punch-list as stated. One thing to take into consideration is that the project is in the phase of substantial completion and is suited to be three story office building. The subcontractor is responsible for the mistakes made and will have to pay money to replace each of the heads. Also the contractor should have been there to view what is going on during the time of installation to make sure no problems occur and everything is being followed accordingly to the drawings. This is an example of poor supervision that was conducted by the general contractor.  The General Contractor should of look over the fire protection drawings to see if there were any questions about what is shown and should also notify the architect as well. On the architects part, he or she should have indicated which type of system will be used and the type of heads that are to be installed if not noted on the drawings or if it was the architects fault.  

Case Study:24 & 36 – Yocelyne Portillo

Professional Practice: Case study: 24&26
In the case study no. 24: Budget or Bid, there was a conflict between the contractor,architect and the owner. From the beginning the owner believed the budget and the bid would be the same as discussed between the owner and contractor. There was miscommunication and misinterpretation between the owner and the contractor. The owner believed the budget would be a lump sum of $3 million. Later on the owner and the city had to make several changes because of new documents due to building codes. The contractor knew that this would result in changes in the contract but he considered the project to be a time and materials project. None of the changes or budget changes were written down in the contract. By the time the project was almost completed the estimated cost went up an extra $500,000. The owners lack of understanding and the miscommunication between both sides led to law suits against one another. The owner did not want to pay the extra money and the contractor would not continue work if he wasn’t paid either.

In case study no.26: Historical Restoration, the problem began with the unprofessional ways of handling things between architect and owner. The architect was unprofessional in bringing her toddler to meetings with the owner, contractor, suppliers and the city. I believe this is a big distraction not just to the architect but the rest of the professionals present. The next problems came when the architect provides the list of work that “may be needed.” Nothing is set in stone, there are only estimates there are no drawings or specifications. The list isn’t even attached or referenced in the contract. Then the are revisions made without initials, no dates and neither included with the contract. Projects should always be well documented, organized and explained or written down with the contract to avoid conflicts and have a a better architect to owner communication.