In episode 040 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I interview John Lowe author of A Guide to Managing Engineering and Architectural Design Services Contracts – What Every Project Manager Needs to Know. During the episode, Johns outlines the top 10 items that civil engineering professionals should be aware of with respect to Engineering and Architectural Design Services Contracts.
Here are some of the questions I ask John:
- Tell us more about Accounts Receivable and the impact they have on projects?
- What do you mean by creating a Culture of Awareness to Professional Liability Issues?
- What is Stop Work Authority?
- Why is shop drawing review important?
Quotes to think about:
Here are the “Top Ten” considerations that are the most critical when dealing with Engineering and Architectural Design Services Contracts:
10. Accounts Receivable
When a client falls behind in paying, this can be the precursor of other problems. It frequently can mean that they are running out of money or are unhappy with the Consultant’s services. Either way, immediate action is called for in order to find out what the problem is and how to get it fixed.
9. Purchase Orders
The Standard Terms and Conditions (fine print) that come with purchase orders are not for the Consultant’s benefit. Accepting them can void professional liability insurance coverage.
8. Create a Culture of Awareness to Professional Liability Issues
Most civil engineers don’t think about professional liability issues while they are doing the design. They only do so once there is a claim on one of their projects. Consider having weekly lunch seminars on liability law topics in your office so that you and your staff members are aware of these issues at all times.
7. Contractor Requested Changes from Contract Document Requirements
Be very careful when a contractor request changes from contract document requirements. These changes are almost always requested to benefit the contractor. Acceptance of these changes rarely inures to the benefit of the design professional or the Owner.
6. Stop Work Authority
To stop a project almost always initiates a host of complex, expensive, and time consuming activities that frequently have professional liability and legal consequences. As the lead civil engineer, you must be aware of who has the authority to stop your projects when you are reviewing your contracts.
5. Shop Drawing Review
A proper shop drawing review is extremely important. Inadequate shop drawing review can have consequences ranging from increased project cost to loss of life.
4. Scope of Work
It’s only with a clear scope of work that the expectations of all parties can be expected. Everyone that is involved in the project, should have a copy of the detail scope of work so that they don’t miss something that was included or start adding scope to the work that was excluded during the negotiations.
3. Expectation Management
Many clients will expect perfection from the Consultant. Unless this expectation is properly managed from start to finish, having a successful project is highly unlikely.
2. Constructability Review
There should always be a constructability review. The best time to have one is at the preliminary design phase, but always before advertising for bids. Otherwise, the review will occur during bidding or construction with potentially costly consequences.
No matter how much documentation is prepared, when problems arise, most project managers will agree that they wished that there had been more documentation and that it had been better. Remember the Chinese Proverb, “The faintest of ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.”
More details in this episode…
About John Lowe:
John M. Lowe, PE is a 1961 Civil Engineering graduate from the University of Florida. Following three years of military service as an Army pilot, he enjoyed forty-six years as a consulting engineer involved in both private and public projects as project manager, principal-in-charge, or office manager. He has been registered and practiced in FL, GA, SC, CA, and OR. His last employment assignment was as a Design Coordinator with Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners. In 2010, he retired from full time employment and formed Lowe Consulting, LLC and began giving back to the profession by sharing what he had learned about contracting for professional services and managing professional liability issues (PLI). This process began by appearing as a guest speaker on these subjects to senior engineering students at Portland State University, University of Portland, and Oregon State University. He has also addressed these subjects at professional society meetings, public agency training sessions, and webinars. To facilitate getting this information to a wider audience, he wrote and self-published a book entitled “A Guide to Managing Engineering and Architectural Design Services Contracts – What Every Project Manager Needs to Know.” You can contact John via his website.
This episode is brought to you by PPI, the leader of civil engineering FE or PE exam preparations. Use promo code CIVIL for 20% discount at PPI2Pass.com/coach.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on managing your engineering and architectural design services contracts.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
The Engineering Career Coach
Author of Engineer Your Own Success