MANAGING FEES -for Building Design practices PART – IV

Post 511 by Gautam Shah

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Building Design firms often provide many different design services, such as Architecture, Interior Design, Structure, Interiors, Landscape, etc. And within these broad range of groups, the actual services may relate to New constructions, Renovations, Alterations, Extensions, valuation and project assessment, project feasibility reports, etc. The projects, when handled simultaneously rarely remain within the confines of well-documented definitions. Like some pre-emptive work for interior or landscape design will occur in the architectural scheme. And when the post building construction, other services are prematurely terminated, the ‘pre-emptive’ work will not get paid.

Serpentine BP Pedestrian Bridge by architect Frank Gehry’s Buckingham Wikipedia image by Author Torsodog

The Louvre Museum

These services occur in different schedules, and their scopes are based on very different criteria. Building design fees are chiefly collected on the basis of floor spread or footprint, except in few countries where it may be based on hours spent on it. The floor spread based varies with the type of project. Fees charged for Architectural projects include the construction cost (built-up coast) + some extra for site development design works. Similarly structural design fees are computed on the construction costs, but that may be a small part, in comparison to costs of site development works like land contouring, retaining walls and other support entities. Interior Design fees cannot always be calculated on the basis of carpet area, as lot of materials and objects are retained or reused.

Maggie’s Care Centre, Glasgow, Scotland Wikipedia – Flickr image by Author scarpadog (Jon-Marc Creaney)

In a group or associated practices the savings occur from the seamless handling of a project. This occurs when common entities are detailed or specified just once. Like for Landscape design site structures (pavings, curbs, retaining walls, water-body formations) are specified with architectural details. Electrical layout for architecture and Interior design is nearly identical.

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Das Haus der Deutschen Kunst in München.

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Yet, in all these, the most important issue, vis a vis a client that comes through is, What should be, and How to determine the Cost of the job? The term Total Cost of Job nominally means to include all the costs of actually executing the designed job, similar costs of inputs from other design consultants or agencies, and the cost of all the peripheral work executed on the site through or by owners themselves or their agents, during the Currency period of the Design Services. The total Cost of Job will also include the estimated value of the work being preserved or maintained on the site.

interior-of-maintenance-shop Public Domain images by Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

At the start of a design project, the total cost of the job, is not available. As a result some notional figure is determined, to bill the first installment of fees or a lump-sum figure is used for first bill. This figure is determined on the basis of total cost of the job, but more importantly the intellectual rights of design formation. To determine the cost of a job, spread of the job or the built-up area is very useful. Structural engineers often base the fees on RCC (or structural) component of the project or a percentage of fees payable to the architect. Interior designers base their fees on Carpet area, but more surely on Interior Design intervention area, which is more rational or realistic. In spite of this in a group or associated practices it becomes difficult to derive a common fee’s formula.

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The Louvre Museum

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DESIGN DOCUMENTS and Liabilities – Part – I

Post 491 –by Gautam Shah

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Design Documents consists of Views such as Plans, sections, elevations, Write-ups in the form of sheets, files or books, for explanations about things that cannot be adequately represented through views and for people who are not trained to interpret drawings (such government officials and law agencies), Structured Documents such as estimate sheets, reports, etc., and Enhanced Views such as isometrics, perspectives, walk-through to reinforce the perception of elements or their compositions which are generally not used as valid means of execution.

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Peter Behrens Tower building

Design Documents created in a design office have a well-defined purpose, specific exposure and so vulnerable to various levels of liabilities.

44730958785_c2d391e674_cDesign Documents are of Following types:

  • Personal
  • In-house
  • For clients’
  • For consultants’
  • For permissions – approvals by authorities
  • For presentations – publications
  • For job award or execution
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Manchester Town Hall Drawings

1 PERSONAL DOCUMENTS are created by the designer or scheme formulator. These are concept sketches drawn impressionistically and often like doodles or bubble diagrams. These are for designer’s personal references or reminders. Sketch or preliminary drawings are too small in size, not to exact scale, lacking in details, and do not carry all the graphical views to convey the intentions. These documents are not meant for anyone else, and are thin in content, or just indicative and abstract in nature. Similarly materials, components, procedures and design parameters which have not been fully conceived, or not crystallized into a formal structure, are all placed as notings. The sketches may not have any apparent order, and contain any trade, technique or material specific details. The orientation, scale, format, language, signs, metaphors, symbols, etc., are very much subjective and so illegible to others. This are very personal, un-interpretable or mis-interpretable documents. Yet these are ‘intellectual properties’ documents (copyright, patent, exclusivity).

2 IN-HOUSE DOCUMENTS are created to explore various aspects of the project. These documents always remain within the office and accessible to only authorized staff members. The composition is very casual as the contents are private and not binding to anyone. The contents can be altered at any time without any liability. Here options regarding materials, finishes, parts / subsystems, techniques, are explored. The methods of indication follow the traditions prevalent in the office, and as a result its format and language are very abbreviated. However, some sort of standard format is required, to create documents that are comparable and interpolating with other such documents within the organization. Such documents are never exposed to consultants, clients or anyone else. As whatever is shown or implied in the drawings may be construed to be a promise to deliver.

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3 DOCUMENTS FOR CLIENTS are in the form of presentations. Clients’ are shown (and given) drawings and other documents at several stages of the project such as First for the approval of concept, then with intermediate improvisations, and finally for the execution worthy scheme. Besides these clients require presentation for marketing the spaces, which are being, created or altered. Few clients, however, understand all the technical drawings, but in case of a dispute every sketch, drawing or document will be reinterpreted by someone else (lawyer, arbitrator, judge, etc.) and that can create liabilities. The clients consider the design documents as Bench-Mark during the post project evaluation. Presentations should be simple and in non-mechanical form, as the essential purpose is to impress the client and solicit a required response. These documents may additionally convey broad policy of operational modalities and related structure for guarantees and warranties. The presentation format is open, allowing several options and possible interpretations. A client needs two basic things through the initial presentations: 1. A layout scheme that shows how the project relates to the site and 2. A sketch / view showing the form of the building, with reference to the surroundings. On later date presentations other details (materials, colour, textures, etc.) may be included. Clients’ presentations are for information and for initiating a debate. Whereas, a set of all drawings, submitted just before the invitation of bids, is a formal ‘transfer of records’.Wright-Heurtley_House_Lower_Floor

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Next part of the article will cover remaining Design Documents such as >> 4 Documents for Consultants’ Assignment, 5 Documents for Permissions or Approvals, 6 Documents for Presentation and Publications, 7 Documents for Job Award or Execution.

And also Layout drawing, Working drawings, Detail drawings, Component drawings, Written details, Written details within the drawings, As a separate document but attached or referenced through the drawings, Memos and Short Messages to and from the site, Certificates for completion of a trade specific item, component, stages, payment of bills, etc.Santelia03.

MANAGING FEES -for Building Design practices PART – I

MANAGING FEES -for Building Design practices PART – I

Post 478  by Gautam Shah

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Stating design fees or charges to potential clients is a routine exercise, but one that needs lot of thought, and reconsideration or improvisation from one project to another.

The discussion here is based on presumption that the designer is practicing a ‘pure design’ or ‘design-only’ business, and not co-conducting build or supply work for the projects. In the later case the person or the organization may be liable for paying other taxes.

Interior of Phillips Exeter Academy Library, Exeter, New Hampshire (1965–72)

A person-organization operates as an Architect, Interior Designer or Landscape architect. In each of these case the basis and terms for fees are different. It is advisable to state fees separately for each aspect of practice, while clearly stating ‘what constitutes that project. This also follows that drawings, details etc. must remain distinct documents for each practice. Inclusion of following clauses is advisable >>

1These terms, conditions and fees are for the Architectural (or Interior Design or Landscape Architectural) Services only, and must not be clubbed with any other service or services that have been provided, or will be offered by us.

2The services are offered by me/us in our capacity as an Architectural Designer (Interior designer or Landscape architect, as may be relevant). As a professional designer we do not sell or supply any components, units, goods or materials, or provide on rent, hire or provide on any other basis: human resources, plants, tools, equipments, implements or gadgets. We also do not undertake any type of operations or servicing job. We do not provide any operational surety or performance guarantees or warranties for the items, systems, or schemes likely to be generated or formed through implicit or explicit design, suggestion, instructions drawn, described, specified in our design.”

Tokushima Castle Lordly Front Palace Garden in Tokushima, Tokushima prefecture, Japan

Fees’ details must be stated (submitted), discussed, or negotiated in one meeting, or through one statement-letter. A designer nominally provides professional design services and the Invoice will include charges only for this. Other costs for like extra copies, documentation, additional survey or report preparations, conveyance, must be billed separately. It is better to use external agencies that provide such services, and bill the client directly. These arrangements reduce many tax hassles.

Trevithick’s 1804 steam-powered railway locomotive full-scale replica National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

Cost of a model, Sample, Prototype, Pilot, Animated walk-through or a Typical design (to be repeated number of times) is always problematic. Delivery of such an item at ‘actual making cost’ can deny the designer ‘the cost of concept’. Charges for such an item must be inseparable part of the main design fee. Which in other words mean, the main design fee may mention delivery of such an item, but details that can give impression of its exclusive cost may be avoided.

A professional like an Architect, Interior Designer or Landscape-architect is retained by the client-owner-organizer of the property, and not by the executing agencies like Vendors or Contractors. So discuss and insist on payment of professional fees directly by the client-owner-organizer of the property. A professional designer must declare that the charges discussed here are for One site, One project, Only for the service that is mentioned, and for One year currency of the project.

Architectural Fees are of several types

1 A fee on Lump-sum base, or a fixed amount irrespective of the cost of execution of the project.

2 A fee based on total cost of man-hours (and stationary, use of equipment, etc.) plus some Lump sum amount or a percentage amount for ‘other expenses’.

3 A fee based on the percentage of the cost of the project. This has the advantage that a percentage share goes up (or down) with project cost escalation. To avoid losses due to down scaling of the project and too much escalation for extraneous circumstances, an upper and lower tag is considered prudent, respectively, by the client and the professional.

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In next few articles of the series other aspects of Building Design Fees will be discussed, such as:

  • What is the scope of Project?
  • Meaning of Design services,
  • What is included in the total cost of a project?
  • Stages of Fees collection-payment,
  • What is requested Design?
  • What is an approved Design?
  • What is an executed Design?
  • Currency period of the Design Services?
  • Assumed cost of the job,
  • Estimated cost of the job
  • Actual cost of the job
  • Specific issues of Interior Design services.

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CHIEFS of DESIGN ORGANIZATIONS

CHIEFS of DESIGN ORGANIZATIONS

Post 441

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A Design organization is nominally owned and operated by a Designer or Group of Designers. This is often a requirement for professions covered by Government recognized councils (like Architecture) in some countries of the world. For most other design fields this may not be a requirement.

In design organizations convener of the entity is a ‘person of authority, such as a President or a chairperson and is the prime leader. A Design organization is launched and continued (taken over) by person/s who have one or several of these authorities: the ability to hire and so influence, motivates, and enables others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations. Three distinct authorities are identified, and a Design organization chiefs have these in various proportions.

Formal authority to lead an organization is acquired by the capacity to reimburse or compensate people who work for the organization.

Technical authority derives from superior knowledge, expertise, skill, experience, etc.

Personal authority is a function of Personality attributes such as: age, sex, race, bearing, determination, will power, appearance, charisma, height, weight, etc.

Conveners of design organization, who lack these features, try to make it up by other means. Formal authority can be procured by having a financier partner or associate, or an official appointment. Technical authority can be secured by hiring technically qualified associates or employees. Personal authority can be modified by having an indirect or remote mode of management.

Quality of leadership must vary according to the nature of work in the organization, but it is the quality of leadership that defines the work style of the organization. To achieve the first object, organizations separate out the domain of leadership for the functioning of the organization from the one required to handle a project. The second aspect requires the leader to be as versatile as the project demands.

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Bohemian Politicians US-France-India-India

Organizations that handle highly variable situations or non-repeating projects need a very Radical leader. On the other hand organizations with routine projects will function well under a Methodical leader. An Autocratic leader overrides the situational differences and imposes a preconceived style. The autocratic leader expects complete obedience. Such a leadership works well for projects that are critical in time, resources and extent. A Democratic leader would rather mould the situation, so that it can be handled within the ambience of the personal (leadership) qualities. Employees get full support, status and due recognition, and as a result show responsible behaviour and self-discipline. Democratic leaders are ideal for projects involving large user base. A Bohemian leader develops a style to suit the situation on hand, and are often very useful in tackling continuously variable situations. A Custodial leader has extra ordinary economic resources so makes employees dependent on the organization with security and benefits. The resulting performance is barely adequate.

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DISCHARGE of a CONTRACT

Post 322 – by Gautam Shah 

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‘Discharge of a contract is termination of contractual obligations, so that they become inoperative’.

At a very elementary level a contract could be matter of intensely felt mutual faith, which is not necessarily expressed orally or spelt in writing. A contract is, yet a very formal document, that must be credible and legal. It is often mandatory to be registered with an appropriate authority, in terms of its date of signing, and in few instances even the contents. All contracts once signed, and registered or not, cannot be cancelled.

Joséphine, first wife of Napoleon, obtained the civil dissolution of her marriage under the Napoleonic Code of 1804.

Advantages of legal contracts are many. A legal contract makes it easier for the parties to register the document, enforce the terms and conditions as specified within the contract document, add, delete or modify the terms of contract, continue the contract beyond the lifespan or terms of the signatories (after death of a party), solve the disputes and discharge the relationship.

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Contracts are promises that the law will enforce. The law provides remedies if a promise is breached or recognizes the performance of a promise as a duty.

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Contracts arise when a duty is due, because of a promise was made by one of the parties. To be legally binding as a contract, a promise must be exchanged for adequate consideration. Adequate consideration is a benefit or detriment that a party receives. For example, promises that are purely gifts are not considered enforceable because for the personal satisfaction the grantor of the promise, ‘may receive’ is normally not a consideration.

Contracts are very formal and binding documents, which if once signed cannot be easily dissolved. Some contracts become void, after particular time set, others become useless once required actions are carried out, or considerations are given. Some contracts like marriage, and understandings like partnership, require execution of another contract or understanding to dissolve the original.

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A contract may be discharged (done away, dissolved) in any of the following ways:

  • Performance: Contracting parties fully discharge their obligations.
  • Agreement: Contracting parties with mutual consent, and as per the terms laid down in a contract, agree to cancel, reduce, or alter, the effects of a contract. Such agreements take into consideration consequences of such actions.
  • Law: On judgement over a dispute, or bankruptcy (insolvency) of either of the parties.
  • Circumstances: Due to change in legislation (of higher order), and declared war like conditions.
  • Lapse of time: Most contracts have arrangement for automatic time closure specifications.
  • Breach of a contract: Intentionally or unintentionally either of the party fail to fulfill the obligations as per the contract and takes recourse to law for enforcement of a contract or redress.

Samuel_D._Ehrhart_-_An_International_High_Noon_Divorce_(1906).

CLIENT and DESIGN PROFESSIONAL -Relationship

Post 305 – by Gautam Shah

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Working on Videos

Relationship between a client and a design professional depends how they are introduced to each other, the status of client and design professional, and if it is fresh or renewed contact.

Relationship between a design professional and a client develops very gradually. The Client and professional usually have had some rapport, or social introduction even before a job is discussed. Any premature attempt to formalize the relationship disturbs the rapport. Difficulties occur at both, the client’s end, and the professional’s end, so they need to proceed carefully.

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It takes few meetings to formalize any level of relationship. Delays in relationship occur due to both the parties.

A client wants to delay because:

  • The client is unsure, if a design professional is needed.
  • The client is also not certain if the (introduced) design professional is the right person for the job.
  • The client, as an official, may not have the authorization to initiate the retention process for a professional.
  • The client may not have clear land ownership, adequate funds, or capacity to own-operate a project once it is delivered.
  • A shrewd client may wish to negotiate with other professionals.
  • A client may wish to collect many freebies (design ideas), and than perhaps carry on the job on own.

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A design professional is in a different setting.

  • A fresh starter -professional, is always very eager to get on with the job, yet such a professional avoids the formalized relationship, so as not to disturb the budding but fragile relationship with the client.
  • An established design professional, on the other hand is not in a hurry to formalize the relationship so early, till all facts about the client are known (status, land entitlement, funding, etc.).

Design professional desire, an early resolution to the dilemma. A relationship can be construed to have occurred when a formal commitment is available. For a design professional, securing a formal commitment (consent) from a client, for a job, is one of the most difficult of tasks. Consent commits a client to pay the design professional for the services to be rendered. The professional also becomes obligated to deliver the expected services.

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For a design professional the job has already begun the day the idea of a project is discussed. The design grows to a concept (sketch, doodle or ideation sketch) with investments in labour, stationary, materials, and most importantly the intellectual skills. All this process the client invests in time, remaining worried, if the design professional will at all deliver. When a professional fails to deliver, (even if any advance that may be fully refunded) client’s time and effort are wasted. (both non calculable entities).

On discussion of feasibility of a project, if a client refuses to appreciate the design professionals’ work, not only calculable inputs are lost, but abstract cost of intellectual skills, go uncovered.

Ideally two parties must initiate their relationship with a contract, according to the laws of the land. A contract, is a very formal expression of intent. It is too much to expect a contract level relationship in the initial stage of a job, when the client and the professional hardly know each other, or have fully formed a project. Just the same, even without a contract a relationship must be nurtured. Normally this is not very difficult, when both the parties are willing, enthusiastic and have a mutual faith. A memorandum of understandings (MoU) is a less formal tool, frequently used as a step towards a full legal contract.

At a later stage when problems arise, either of the parties may refuse to even acknowledge the relationship between them. An informal relationship could turn very vicious. The design professional and client, both lose calculable and abstract costs.

It is very natural for clients and professional to be extremely careful about things they say and do in the initial stages of a job. For a design professional who is often operating without formal consent, securing a proof that his involvement has a tacit approval of the client, is very important. The evidence in such a case is usually circumstantial, and generally not tenable in a court of law, unless corroborated by other circumstantial or real evidences.

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The best commitment, next only to a legal contract or a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), is payment of a Retainer fee. A retainer fee, however small, signifies establishment of a relationship, between the client and the design professional. Ideally the quantum of a retainer fee should be large enough to cover the labour, stationary, and the cost of patent (original or exclusive) ideas, required to generate a schematic design (or similar a stage, when the first fee becomes due). The cost of patent or unique idea is collected at first go, because a unique idea or a concept once exposed to an outsider like a client loses its originality, and so the value.

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ORGANIZATION of CONTRACT as a DOCUMENT

Post 265 – by Gautam Shah

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A contract document consists of certain components placed in a hierarchy. The document consists of following parts:

1 Name and identity of parties signing the contract. Name, address, age, sex, nationality, residency, eligibility and capacity (individual, a power-of-attorney holder, authorized representative of a group, authorized signatory, government official), a licensee or a permit holder, group’s identification (formation, constitution, registration, recognition, taxation status), medical declaration (sound mind and body), solvency status.

2 Intentions of the first party to cause the contract (generally the first party is the person who provides the consideration and the person who provide the service is called the second party – but not as a rule). Eligibility of the first party (rights to property, ownership, easement rights, tenancy rights, permits, licenses, quotas, grant, sanctions). Duties of first party (providing data, permissions, items, services, etc.)

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3 Competence and readiness of second party to serve the cause of the contract. Extent and nature of rights, duties etc. of the second party for the cause of the contracted job. Qualifications, experience, Man and Machine resources.

4 Joint declaration by both parties that according to their knowledge and understanding, the contract is enforceable and legal.

John Garfield and Dorothy McGuire in Movie Gentleman’s Agreement

5 Relationship of consideration to the tasks, in parts, groups of parts, and as a whole (schedule of rates, time and quantum schedules, guarantees and liabilities, risk coverage). Fines, Late delivery charges, Rewards.

6 Conditions, situations, acts, and omissions, that can debilitate the contract, remedial measures to correct them, rights to raise and settle such issues, unilateral acts, effects of such an exercise and acceptability of the result.

7 Corrections and attestation modes.

8 Time schedules: Date of signing the contract (dates of various signatures), Date and conditions (if any) for the enactment of the contract, Date schedules for things to be provided by the first party and second party, Schedules of start, continuance and completion or termination of the contract.

Certificate Document Proof Parchment Contract

Certificate Document Proof Parchment Contract

9 List and details of other related documents that form part of the contract, and support or corroborate the contract. Details of any action to be caused, being caused, or already caused by the contract.

10 List, details and certified copies of other contracts, MoUs, that form the basis of this contract, or must be implemented as a follow-up action.

11 Mode of registration of the contract (where required by law and other bodies)

12 Signatories of the contract, involved parties, witnesses, government officials, dates, place, time, jurisdiction, etc.

Sale of a male slave and a building in Shuruppak, Sumerian tablet, circa 2600 BC

It should be remembered that a Contract is a document of initiation of relationship between two people, as individuals, or as authorized-recognized representatives of their groups or organizations. A contract once drawn, spoken out, communicated in presence of witnesses, even if not registered with an authority, is a binding document to both parties. Most countries have Laws of Arbitration to deal with issues arising out of the contractual relationship. Such laws usually have a provision that supercedes, any contradicting provisions of the contract. No contractual relationship can be beyond the state laws.

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WRITING SPECIFICATIONS in DESIGN PRACTICE

Post 187 –by Gautam Shah

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Types of Specifications in a Design Practice

A Design Office generates a variety of Documents that contain some or the other forms of Specifications. Such Specification related documents are of following categories:

  1. Drawings, Graphical representations
  2. Literary explanations
  3. References to other Graphical Representations and Literary explanations, Legends, Indexes, Lists.

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Quality of Expression in Specification Writing

Writing Specifications is the most important way of facilitating a product or service. Specifications writing is an extended activity of contracting, so here too all the contract fundamentals are strictly followed. Such as a contract has to be enforceable, and whatever is specified must be doable. Specifications cover all valid and essential requirements of the job. A major danger in writing specifications is to include unnecessary information, choosing what to exclude is as important, as choosing what to include. Specifiers (Designers) must eliminate any requirement that adds no value to the Product or Service being acquired. The Specifier (Designer) must state clear conditions in a complete language, and yet remain brief.

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Defects in Specifications and Liabilities

Very few specifications are totally free from defects. As a fundamental principle of law, a specifier (Designer) is responsible for the consequences of the specifications. Designers usually put in a disclaimer (in the contract with their client) for errors found in their work. The Insurance companies that cover the designers for Professional Liability (Professional Indemnity Insurance) insist upon it.

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Most of the specification writers (Designers) incorrectly presume that their text of specifications is read and interpreted by comrade technocrats only, with whom they share similar experience and mind-set. Specifications, however, are more attended by non technocrats like the administrators, lawyers, jurors and judges. A contractor or vendor interprets the specifications, as long as the interpretation is commercially reasonable (read as an earning proposition).

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Accuracy and completeness of Contract Specifications

A Contract is in force the moment it is signed, or dated to be effective. Once a contract comes into force, any thing that has been left-out, or not properly defined, can be only corrected through a Negotiated Supplementary Agreement. A Contract and Specifications must not leave out any aspect, as something to be agreed or determined later on (e.g. a clause like: plastic paint of x quality, but colour shade to be approved later).

Specification Writing is a last moment compilation, and as a result it is common to see specifications of items that do not exist, or have been eliminated from the project. Specifications of only intended items and required quantities of work should be provided to the contractor. Otherwise, the bids will reflect the necessity of being prepared to handle Intended items and Quantified work.

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DESIGNERS DILEMMA – RIGHT FEES

Post  -by Gautam Shah

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Each Design Project is set in a different context. In each of the case, Clients, Location, Conditions of work, Design professionals’ Needs and Compulsions are different. A new project by seasoned professional will be handled with wider experience and maturity then the past one, so charged with slightly a higher fee. Whereas a young professional, on the other hand brings in freshness of new and modern ideas, and for that reason may demand a higher price.

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Yet a professional seeks following answers while determining a Right Fees:

# Is one aiming at a reasonable profit?

# Is one striving for a high return to manage a high risk situation?

# Is one striving for a high return for the rare contribution?

# Is one trying to break-even -no loss no profit situation?

# Is one seeking to avoid or provide for residual liabilities?

# Is one looking for hypothetical – future benefit?

# Is one bartering an advantage?

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TO TAKE OR NOT TO TAKE A PROJECT

Professional always face such dilemmas. The reasons could be many: Unknown project, too familiar (repeat) a project, too busy, unsuitable location, lack of resources (staff, equipment, finance), too small or too large a project, non profitable, a doubtful client, etc.

A professional first raises following questions:

          a.       If the project is taken, then. What would be the gains / loses?

          b.       If the project is not taken,then. What would be the gains / loses?

 

Design fees

The second question may seem absurd, how can one make a profit or loss, by not doing a job?

For a busy professional an odd project will require reorientation of the firm’s working, additional investments in plant, equipment, retraining or hiring of extra employees, slowing down some current assignments, etc. In such a situation, not taking on an additional project is advisable, unless gains are unusual in quality and quantity.

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On the other hand a normal project with reasonable gain prospects can be carried through the firm, if it fits within the working style, specialization, employees’ capacity etc.

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DATA for PROFESSIONALS

Post by Gautam Shah

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Work of a Professional begins with the mandatory data / prime information provided by a Client. When a professional comes to know of a potential client with job, a specific “schedule of data requirements are presented. Some of the required data items are obvious and easily available, yet it helps to know the sincerity of the client. In the first or first few encounters a professional must check out the capacity of the client to furnish such data. Such demands also make a client aware that a professional has begun the assignment, and the stakes involved in design-making.

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In exceptional cases, where the client is invisible and represented by a ‘Statutory Body’, very little data is likely to be available. Here the client is incapable of providing the data, and so it is up to the professional to get the same collected, but with the client’s consent and cost.

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A professional may not have the right to use the data collected for, and paid by a client, for any other client or purposes. It always remains property of the client. Whenever a client provides a crucial data like sizes, technical requirements, permissions etc. the transfer of information should be formal and well recorded.

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In some cases it is only the client that can provide the necessary input, and a professional must make the client aware of the situation. A client should also be made formally aware of data that is being procured by the designer as part of a chargeable service or courtesy. Whenever a chargeable service is provided, a formal pre-approval / consent of the client is necessary. 

A professional cannot challenge a client’s right to procure the data from other professionals or sources. As a matter of fact, it is considered a professional decency to make a client aware of own right.

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A professional, however, competent will require the services of other professionals. A professional remains responsible for the delivered data where the main professional pays for such data. And here the main professional must exclusively appoint such agencies and receives the output. Often the main professional has no role, or only an advisory role in such appointments. If an external agency is retained by the client to procure data, all the resultant output becomes the exclusive property of the client. The client has a right to make that available, to a professional, only the relevant parts of such information.

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Normally the person who pays, receives the output, and has the first and exclusive right to the data. The party that pays for data, also acquires the inherent risks and liabilities.

When a professional, directly hires another professional, the risks and liabilities increase manifold. However, if a client, retains other agencies, the risks and liabilities of the main professional are diluted. Contributions from independent professionals should be favoured, because these provide greater clarity, a counter check, division of responsibilities and dilution of risks.

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Quality and exclusive Data emerges from various meetings, consultations, seminars, workshops and commissions. These data emerges and accessed through publications, however, better insights are captured by personally attending such gatherings.

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