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Author Topic: Found a timber framing engineer  (Read 761 times)

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Offline rjwoelk

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Found a timber framing engineer
« on: October 12, 2018, 02:29:52 AM »
 Well this summer i start lookin for a engineer. Contacted one and start asking him questions.  He assured me that he had experience in timber frame work. Several weeks later he contacts me with some issues with my plans.( I question his expertise to do this project. He assured  me no problem)larger post need metal fastners need larger ridge beam need larger tie beam need more kneebraces. Need need need. Well you get the picture. So my good friend Brad Baber who had suggested a proper timber frame engineering company told me again call them. So I did.
Well my drawings were correct to start with no need to increase any sizes. I am good to go.
So Mr 1st engineer is asking for payment on work done. But all his work was wrong not one thing was right. What say you folks. Is he intitled to payment.
Lt15 palax wood processor,3020 JD 7120 CIH 36x72 hay shed for workshop coop tractor with a duetz for power plant

Offline Don P

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Re: Found a timber framing engineer
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2018, 06:04:10 AM »
Offer and acceptance constitutes a contract.
There is certainly room for a heart to heart discussion.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Found a timber framing engineer
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2018, 10:10:56 AM »
I sent my drawing to my first engineer (well know in the area) and he quickly came back (like in a day) and said you can't do this, you can't do that which went against what I was trying to accomplish.  So I never "hired" him and so I didn't pay him anything.  I went across the country to Road Island to work with Fire Tower - a great match.

If you signed a contract, then you are obligated to pay for his time.  If you didn't, and he spent a measurable amount of time and effort, then you need to compensate him for something.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline samandothers

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Re: Found a timber framing engineer
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2018, 11:03:51 AM »
Yeah I lean the same way as the others.  His answer may not have been what you wanted but he did work for you and it is not to say his design was structurally incorrect.

Offline Don P

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Re: Found a timber framing engineer
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2018, 08:10:11 PM »
To be clear, one does not have to sign a piece of paper to have entered into a contract. That is a good way to document a contract but a contract is a thing that lives within the parties, offer and acceptance. If I offer to do work for a fee and you accept my offer, we have a contract. It is a promise to pay for services rendered.

Probably the most famous example of this concept was a handshake agreement between Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson in the 1930's. Ferguson had invented the 3 point hitch, Ford wanted to use it on his 9N and later tractors and they reached a handshake agreement. This was commonly known and continued in effect until Henry Sr died in '47 and junior took over. He chose not to honor the agreement, Ferguson sued, and won. He would have done much better with good documentation.

Your honor ties you to the contract, his may release you from it or from a part of it. That is the point of a discussion.

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: Found a timber framing engineer
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2018, 09:35:14 PM »
I am good with that Don if he would have been close  to being right.
The problem i have is he asured me he knew about timberframing so that is were he failed and led me to believe he was correct. His plan was to oversize and then throw a bunch of metal into it to cover his inexperience.
So i went to Firetower and my original sizes were acceptable.
I am sure if this was a test he would not have passed . 
Lt15 palax wood processor,3020 JD 7120 CIH 36x72 hay shed for workshop coop tractor with a duetz for power plant

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Found a timber framing engineer
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2018, 10:15:51 PM »
From What Bob has told me, it seems that the 1st guy misrepresented his experience.  Bob said he questioned how much experience he had, specifically how long he'd been practicing since receiving his degree.  Apparently he evaded answering the question several times, and was reassuring he was versed in analyzing traditional timber frame.  It was clear from all of his upsizings and adding metal fasteners and I think even some plates, that he really wasn't versed in traditional timber framing and he was trying to overcompensate to cover his butt. That's why I strongly urged him to go to 
FireTower. The frame Bob is building is pretty basic and it was a modification of an existing frame that was engineered.  From what I heard,  I don't think the 1st engineer was over his head and not familiar with traditional Timber Frame to properly analyze it.  He may be fresh out of school too.  The best engineers are those who have hands on experience in addition to their engineering degree.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline mometal77

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Re: Found a timber framing engineer
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2018, 09:09:19 AM »
Reminds me of a friend who talked over the phone to a state surveyor who never did any work but sent my friend a 300 bill anyways. Also reminds me of a man in his 80s a few winters ago when an epa firm south of me came out in a small car in winter and issued him a fine for burning wood in his woodstove in the dead of winter. This old man simply wiped his ass with the envelope and made sure it fit back into the thing tp and all and he never got another letter.  Oh that surveyor later on became a great location politician after running. If only people knew how much of a crook this man really is.
Too many Assholes... not enough bullets...I might have become a millionaire, but I chose to become a tramp!

Offline Don P

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Re: Found a timber framing engineer
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2018, 09:35:31 AM »
Legally you should come to some terms agreeable to both. He does have recourse so simply refusing to pay is not really a good way. Only you know the particulars so my comments are only general. If you explain what has been talked about here in good tone, I'd have a hard time billing you. Does he know what happened?

 An engineer is supposed to work within their area of expertise. Part of a contract is also that both parties are acting in good faith, that there is a meeting of minds. That sounds like the crux of your issue with him. It sounds like the value to him could be explained as your wasted time and his experience gained. You or we don't get to decide what is "fair". If he accepts what you consider fair then that settles it. I've been in situations where we could not talk it out ourselves so I explained things to an attorney and had them spell it out in a letter, that has also worked.  Otherwise it usually goes to someone who can make that judgment legally. The only fairness there is everyone spends more money to make sure nobody is happy. Try to talk it out.

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: Found a timber framing engineer
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2018, 08:53:17 PM »
Don i am in agreement with you. He is willing to wait for Firetowers approval and we will discuss how that would reflect on how much I will pay.
Originally the fee was 1500 to redline my plans. 2500 if they drafted the final plans.   Now he said 2800. But he was willing to settle for a 1000. So he is not sticking to his original pricing.
I am willing to work with him on the pricing as he has been very nice and polite over the ph. I just hope this is not a case of how our society has made it so if you work hard and participated you get a reward even if you dont win or get it right. Cant flunk a person might hurt their feelings.
Lt15 palax wood processor,3020 JD 7120 CIH 36x72 hay shed for workshop coop tractor with a duetz for power plant

Offline Mad Professor

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Re: Found a timber framing engineer
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2018, 09:45:30 PM »
I taught college many years, some students want a B, for just B-eing there. ;D

That problem has gotten worse...... :(

Offline Dana Stanley

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Re: Found a timber framing engineer
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2018, 09:12:22 PM »
I know as a carpenter, if you asked me to build a kitchen, and I built a bathroom, you would have a case against me. If he knew timber frame design he should have come up with the same conclusion that the other company did. Since he didn't he really didn't do what he promised. I'm all for paying someone for honest work, but as a professional your work is expected to be done in a professional manner. Incorrect calculations doesn't qualify for that. 
Making Sawdust, boards and signs.


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