Structural Engineer wants me to contract with him not the client.


Structural Engineer has a client that wants to do a remodel.  He wants me to give him a quote and tells me I will contract with him.. .. Does that even make any sense?  How does that work?

Jul 12, 13 7:06 am

How it works is he marks you up after he chews you down. Not much of a mystery there.

Putting someone between the client and the architect is a recipe for disaster. I'd propose a joint venture where you design and he does production and takes liability. That way you get to work directly with the client, he gets to make some dough and you both get credit for the work. Fees should be transparent and agreements made with mutual respect.

You might want to check the engineer's creds before going to far ...

Jul 12, 13 9:52 am
won and done williams

This is common - see AIA C401 contract. You will hold the prime contract with the owner. Hope you are registered with professional liability insurance. :)

Jul 12, 13 1:35 pm
won and done williams

Oops, sorry, misread your post. No, that doesn't make much sense. What Miles said...

Jul 12, 13 3:56 pm

 It may not be the most common way for an architect to work, but I wouldn't just dismiss the possibility. Just handle it as a design consultant service. You wouldn't be the architect of record, but that doesn't mean you can't be of value to the client or the team.

 Granted, it could cause some miscommunication if the structural engineer filters everything, but the OP didn't say anything about no contact with the client. The architect doesn't always have to be "The Boss". I imagine circumstances where it would make more sense for a structural engineer to take the lead. Is he asking for your stamp? You obviously don't have to stamp anything that doesn't meet your standards.

 I would be careful on how you charge, an open ended contract could make for lots of  work without ever getting paid. In this case hourly makes more sense, or at least some limits to how much work you do and the length of time you will be involved.

Jul 12, 13 5:17 pm

It means... He takes a cut off your pay, bosses you around, takes credit for your work but when lawsuits arrive, you'll have to deal with the client ;)

Jul 12, 13 8:44 pm

It's common on projects like bridges or industrial buildings.  When the primary work is structural, the architect can be a consultant to the structural, or the mechanical or whomever.

You would want to be careful about your liability.  In my home state, engineers and architects can be held personally liable for projects, meaning because you are individually licensed by the State you can also be sued as individual, separate from your company being sued.  Even if you only act as a "design consultant" and do not stamp drawings, if there is a mistake the Owner can say that since you are a licensed professional you should have know better and therefore can be held personally responsible.

WIth that doomsday scenario said, though, I can't imagine a small remodel project would be so dangerous that you would worry about it.  And subbing to a prime structural contract is not uncommon. You could try to insert a clause in the contract that any payouts demanded for your liability can't exceed the cost of your fee on the project - that should cover you well enough, and though a lot of clients balk at this agreement I *have* seen contracts that include it!

Jul 13, 13 12:32 am

what accesskb said is probably pretty much right, but even then i don't think it's all that bad.  if you want to contract under the engineer go ahead and do that.  sometimes that's just where work comes from.

if the engineer says you're not allowed to talk to the client, then i would be a bit concerned.  part of being an architect is acting as the owner's representative, whether you're contracted with them or not.  so if the owner is telling you one thing, and the engineer is telling you another thing, you still have to figure out what the 'right' thing to do is rather than just doing what your client tells you to do.

Jul 13, 13 11:38 am

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