Thomas Babington Macaulay Macaulay.

The Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.42 (July-Sep. 1915)) online

. (page 23 of 38)
Online LibraryThomas Babington Macaulay MacaulayThe Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.42 (July-Sep. 1915)) → online text (page 23 of 38)
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"IF the architect receives 6 per cent on a
' piece of work the engineer should also
receive 6 per cent upon his portion of the
work," writes Mr. Kimball, "or if the ar-
chitect receives 5 per cent the engineer
should also receive 5 per cent.

"Some architects are in the habit of
asking owners to pay 5 per cent or 6 per
cent extra on the cost of the engineering
equipment where engineering services are
employed. Others ask the owner to pay
2J^ per cent or 3 per cent. I have dis-
cussed this matter with many archi-
tects, and in the majority of cases
there js an agreement of opinion
that while the owner directly receives the
benefit of the engineering services and
may, therefore, be reasonably asked to
pay the extra cost to the architect, there
is no justification for asking the owner to
pay a full 5 per cent or 6 per cent extra,
for the architect is certainly saved some
expense in the making of plans and speci-
fications and supervision of the work, and
he is not called upon to give of special
training, experience or knowledge on this

"If the owner pays the architect 6 per
cent on the cost of the complete struc-
ture, including the engineering equipment,
and is then asked to pay 6 per cent extra
on the cost of the engineering equipment
for the services of the engineer, he is
somewhere paying for more than he is
getting, for is it not true that not both
the architect and engineer are called upon
to give the same knowledge and experi-
ence or are put to the full expense of
making the plans and specifications and
supervising the installation of the engi-
neering equipment? The engineer cer-
tainly is put to the full expense customary
in professional services of this nature, and
the architect is put to a certain but not
equal expense. Therefore, a logical con-
clusion would seem to be that the engi-
neer should be paid a full fee and that
the architect should be paid in proportion
to the expense to which he is put, plus
the usual profit. Thus the owner gets
full value of what he pays.

"An arrangement which has many
times proven satisfactory provides an
extra payment of 2'/4 per cent to 3 per
cent for engineering services, depending
upon whether the architect's fee was 5
per cent or 6 per cent.

"The payment of an extra 3 per cent on
the mechanical equipment of a building
represents apparently an increase on the
cost of the building of but three-tenths
to seven-tenths of 1 per cent, but actually
the employment of the independent engi-
neer will save much more than this in the
cost of installation and in the annual cost
of operation and maintenance. The use
of contractor's or manufacturer's plans
and specifications will assuredly mean an
increased cost of installation and opera-
tion much greater than the amount of
the engineer's fee.

"By some it is contended that the
architect's fee over the entire building
should be increased sufficiently to include
the cost of engineering services. The
first objection to this lies in the popular,
but mistaken, impression that the archi-
tect's fee is already extremely profitable
and, consequently, a further general in-
crease would be most unpopular. A
second objection is that some architects
would still not employ the engineer, while
others would employ the cheapest talent.
Again, in a hospital costing $1,000,000 the
entire equipment might represent 25 per
cent of the cost of the building, and in a
cathedral costing the same sum the equip-
rnent might cost but S per cent. This
difficulty would be experienced in fixing
a rule or even in determining the correct
fee in an individual case.

"The demand for a full extra fee on the
mechanical equipment has many times
led owners to separate entirely the archi-
tectural and engineering work, paying to
the architect and engineer a full fee on
the portion of the work assigned to each

"There is a disposition among certain
engineers to argue that the construction
of a building, including foundations,
structural steel, walls, floors, partitions,
spacing and equipment is largely an engi-
neering problem and that, therefore, the
entire commission should be placed in the
hands of an engineer who should employ
an architect to add the aesthetic features
to the plans.

"The adoption of an accepted method
of procedure adhered to by all architects
will materially lessen the force of such

"The lack of uniformity in the practices
of architects in these matters has be-
fogged the entire subject and prevented
altogether the enlightenment of the

""The schedules of fees of the American
Institute of Architects provides that the
owner shall pay extra for engineering
fees where such services are required, but
to the average owner this provision is
ambiguous. It does not state the amount
of such extra payment nor does it state
to what class of work this rule is to be
applied. Consequently some architects
suffer extreme embarrassment in asking


The Architect and Engineer

for an extra payment for engineering-
services, while others, and I have one par-
ticularly in mind, unhesitatingly apply
this rale on practically all occasions.

"Recently I have had three different
experiences, all of the architects involved
being members of the American Institute
of Architects. In the first case I had the
good fortune to be personally acquainted
with five of seven members of the build-
ing committee. This gave me an unusual
opportunity for fhis presentatioii of the
American Institute of Architects' rule for
extra payment for engineering services.
I still believe that this rule could have
been made effective in this case had not
the selected architect volunteered to as-
sume all of the expense of engineering
services. In the second instance the
president of the building committee was
an intimate friend and was agreeable to
paying e.xtra for engineering services.
The architect in this case volunteered to
relinquish all claim to a fee on the engi-
neering equipment, so that the engineer
and architect were employed and paid
separately. In the third case the commit-
tee had been brought to a point where
they were prepared to pay extra for engi-
neering services, when three architects
volunteered to assume the expense of
engineering services if they but be given
the job.

"In the matter of payment to the engi-
neer there is just as little uniformity of

"Is there any reason why the method ot
payment provided for in the architects'
schedule of c'harge should not be applied
by the architect in making payments .to
the engineer, even to the payment of the
usual proportion of the engineer's fee
when the letting of the contract is de-
layed through no fault of the engineer,
especially when the making of the plans
and specifications for the engineering
equipment by the engineer has been
essentia! to the letting of the construction
contract, and the architect has received
his u.sual payment of the construction

ing the law of mathematical probability
was again severely beaten up. Once
more all the bids coincided.

The supervisors say they refuse to buy
cement, unless bids that are not so extra-
ordinarily similar are submitted. It is
their plan to go out in the open market
and buy the cement, if the law will 'let
them do so. District Attorney Arthur M.
Free will render an opinion on the
legality of this contemplated course with-
in a few days.

The Cartwright Law Might Be Applied
Here to Good Advantage

[From the San Jose Mercury]

The Santa Clara county supervisors
want to buy 50.000 barrels of cement.
But they can't do it.

Several weeks ago they advertised for
bids for supplying the cement, to be used
in constructing and repairing county
highways. Several bids came in and were
opened in due course of time.

The supervisors learned something that
seemed to defy the laws .of mathematical
probability. Every bid, in all of its rami-
fications and minute details, was precisely
identical with every other bid in the lot.

So the supervisors rejected all the bids,
and advertised again. At the next meet-

Alex Coleman Honored

Mr. Alexander Coleman has again been
honored by the Master Plumbers of Cali-
fornia. Last year Mr. Coleman was
elected a delegate from the Golden State
to the National convention at Atlantic
City. This year, at the annual state
convention in San Francisco, Mr. Cole-
man was elected president by a unani-
mous vote, indicating liis popularity and
appreciation of his untiring services in
behalf of the Master Plumbers' Asso-
ciation. The other officers elected are:
J. Hokom, Los Angeles, state vice-presi-
dent; Fred Wilson, San Francisco, state
treasurer; John L. Furman, San Fran-
cisco, state secretary; V. W. Guercio, Los
Angeles, assistant state secretary. These
officers, together with F>ed Heilbron of
San Diego. D. A. Newman of Fresno, and
Edw. R. Wright, past president, of Los
Angeles, compose the board of directors.
San Francisco proved a most generous
and hospitable host, including in the en-
tertaininent a banquet and an all-day pic-
nic on Sunday.

Figuring the Big Work Again

No more encouraging sign of returning
prosperity could be offered than the an-
nouncement that several of the large
contracting firms in San Francisco are
again going after business. For a
year or two these firms have declined to
figure, except possibly an occasional job,
realizing that with so much competition
the opportunities for landing a contract
at a profit were extremely small. The
Gilley-Schmid Company, pioneers in the
heating and plumbing business in San
Francisco, a firm that did a large share of
the better class of work right after the
fire, is again figuring the big work and
undoubtedly will be successful in landing
some good contracts. This firm has
splendid backing and employs a force of
highly competent heating engineers.

Polytechnic College

Frederick 11. Meyer has completed
plans and has taken figures for the con-
struction of a three-story and basement
Class A school building at 26th and Fol-
som streets, for tlie Cogswell Polytech-
nic College. Building is expected to cost

state, County and Municipal

Good Roads -Water— Sewers
-Bridges — Fire Protection

Engineers as Viewed by Contractors


COCMPLETE harmony cannot exist be-
tween engineers and contractors, as
each represents opposing interests. The
engineering graduate starts with an edu-
cated prejudice against contractors,
whom he believes to be, in the main, de-
termined to get the best of engineers;
and therefore he is on his guard, and
purposes not only to take care of him-
self but to get the best of the contractors.
Contractors dread the "boy engineer"
just from college. These young en-
gineers are extremely technical. They
expect a literal compliance with every
iota of the contract obligations by the

With rare exceptions, men greatly im-
prove in learning, wisdom, and disposi-
tion as they grow older. After twenty
or thirty years, a man is surprised to find
how little he knew when he started his
professional or business career. He has
grown riper in judgment, and has de-
veloped greater caution, discretion, and
justice towards others. He grows con-
siderate, amiable, and kind.

Contractors are largely influenced by
their opinions of engineers. The en-
gineer who has a reputation for ability,
honesty, fairness, and good disposition
will attract bidders for any work of
which he has charge; and the desire to
do work under him would be an incentive
to reasonably low prices. It is a feature
of contracting to size up the engineer
with as much accuracy as possible.

In bidding for work, contractors are
almost as sensitive as weather-vanes. It
rnay be possible to make a profit at a
given bid under one engineer, and im-
possible to avoid a loss under some other
engineer, with all other conditions simi-
lar, and the quality and the merits of the
work constructed being equally good at
the same cost to the owner in each case.
A majority of bids are too high. The
highest bid is often twice as much as the
lowest, even when the lowest is sufficient.
Over-anxiety to secure the contract is
the commonest cause of low bidding.
Low bids are often made to keep a con-
tractor's organization together for future
work on which he hopes for better prices.

* Chief Engineer of the New York State High-
way Commission.


Contractors who do not care for the
contract often bid fairly high up. with-
out any expectation of securing the con-
tract, but merely to avoid a reputation
among contractors of being low bidders,
and with the bare chance of getting the
work at good prices. Excessively high
bids are usually the result of lack of
knowledge of the value of the work and
lack of time to become familiar with it.

If an engineer's preliminary estimate
is believed to be too low, it drives away
bidders and tends to indifferent, high
bidding. Some over-anxious contractors
may be influenced thereby to bid too low.
They may secure the work, in which
event the engineer has an unpleasant
task during construction. There is almost
sure to be a disposition on the part of
the contractor to save himself from loss,
and he is thus tempted to slight the
quality of the work. Both contractor
and engineer are in some degree injured
by the work having been done at less
than cost.

An engineer who can make reliable
preliminary estimates will find his services
in demand by municipalities, corpora-
tions, and other owners; or, if he chooses
to practice as a contractor's engineer, he
will find his services of great value in
that field. Some prominent engineers of
my acquaintance would not under any
circumstances do engineering work for
contractors, confining their services en-
tirely to the owners. I know of other
engineers who confine themselves wholly
to engineering for contractors, and who
do a large business as engineering ex-
perts for contractors, in litigations.

These two fields of engineering are be-
coming more and more distinct, and it is
my opinion that an engineer is wise who
makes his choice and adheres strictly
either to the one line of practice or to
the other.

The contracts and specifications on
very large and important works are
usually models of perfection. In smaller
works, such as may amount to, say, not
over $200,000, contractors are often con-
fronted with bidding papers, contracts,
specifications, plans, etc., which are a
disgrace to the engineer who drew them.
There are a few engineers who are
sometimes called "specification fiends."


The Architect and Engineer

They write to many places where work
is advertised, for specifications, etc. They
read them eagerly and often chp such
paragraphs as catch their fancy— usually
those which are harsh, severe, and un-
reasonable from a contractor's stand-
point. With these clinoings to aid them,
they draw up specifications, etc., which
often deserve the name of "crazy-quilt"
specifications. Such papers are full of
contradictions, useless paragraphs, and
ambiguities which are almost sure to
cause contention and trouble during the
construction and in the final settlement,
or lead to litigation. Such engineers are
apt to insert severe conditions such as
excessive cash deposits with the bids, un-
reasonably short time in which to con-
struct the work, excessive per diem
liquidated damages for overtime, exces-
sive bonds, and sometimes excessive re-
tained percentage where monthly pay-
ments are provided. About all they can
think of is to make the work undesirable
and objectionable to contractors. Such
engineers and their work are often
avoided by the best class of bidders, and
the contracts are apt to go to rather un-
desirable contractors.

How Standards of Quality for Concrete
Road Materials Are Rising

THE successful future of concrete roads
depends upon firm adherence to su-
perior quality concrete. Sub-grading and
drainage may be good, and of course
must be good for any road that is to en-
dure, but the final criterion of a concrete
road as distinguished from other con-
struction, according to Engineering and
Contracting, is the integrity and dura-
bility of the material itself— the quality
of the concrete. The service to be given
by concrete in no other structure calls
for such perfect quality of material as is
deniianded in a road. This truth is not
a new discovery; it has long been known
to the few best students of concrete
roads. The new feature is that, whereas
formerly the few observed the truth and
the many neglected it, now the many
observe the truth and only the few

neglect it. One is very strongly im-
pressed with this change when review-
ing the last season's reports of munici-
palities that have been building concrete
roads for a few years.

The quality of concrete is determined
by the quality of the raw materials, by
the proportioning and incorporation of
these materials, and by the curing of the
deposited mixtures. To the perfection
of all of these things experienced con-
crete road builders are paying now
mudh more strict attention thana year
ago was considered at all essential, and
are urging even stricter attention in
future work. Practice has reached a
point where a demand exists for refine-
ment in materials for and processes of
concrete production for roads. This
stage of attainment in the development
of the concrete road is to our mind the
finest promise that we have that the
concrete road has arrived.

First, in the attention being given to
ensure better concrete materials, is
cement. Very few communities having
much experience in concrete road build-
ing fail to provide for the thorough test-
ing of all cement. This is essential.
Few materials as widely manufactured
as is Portland cement rank as more uni-
formly of hig-h average quahty, but all
cement is not test-proof any more than
are every brick and every steel bar. No
road job of any size fails to receive an
occasional shipment of cement that has
to be rejected. The safeguard is testing.
To make testing practicable and to pro-
vide direct control, commissions having
concrete road work in charge are adopt-
ing the plan of furnishing all cement.
Besides securing control of the testing,
the road authorities by this plan avoid
any tendency of the contractor to reduce
the cement content of his concrete.
Excessive use is prevented by holding
the contractor responsible for any over-
run of cement and for loss of cement

Aggregates for concrete for road work
need, and are receiving. increased
scrutiny as to quality. Pit run gravel is
not accepted by many. Stone and

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screened gravel are required to l5c graded
and to be kept within narrow size limits.
In some work tlie coarse aggreg-ate is
required to conform to a set co-efficient
of wear. Inspection of sand is rigid.
The dirt content and the proportion of
flat flakes are being strictly limited, and
it is a usual demand that the grading of
particles be fairly perfect. .Altogether
concrete road practice in the require-
ments for quality of concrete aggregates
is superior to that in almost all other
kinds of concrete construction.

The best road construction sets a high
standard of perfection in the proportion-
ing and mi.xing of concrete. Set propor-
tions are commonly abjured. The aggre-
gate is studied to determine proportion
of voids, sizes, form and gradation of
particles, and the concrete content is
varied to conform, and as frequently as
need be, with the purpose of securing
density of mi.xture. Duration and speed
of mixing are strictly governed. One
road commissioner has conducted careful
tests to determine the quality of mixture
produced by different numbers of revo-
lutions and different speeds of rotation
of the mixer used, and on the results has
set rigid requirements for mixing time
and mixing speed. Here it may be noted
that individual tests are positively neces-
sary on each work where different
mixers are used: for the speed of rota-
tion and number of turns which give the
best concrete with one mixer are no cri-
terion of what another mixer will do.

rile nu-tliods of curing arc numerous,
and the difference in efficiency between
the better methods is not great. The
advance in curing methods indicated by
recent practice is shown rather in the
care with which all methods are carried
out than in devising unique methods.
The curing period is lengthened wher-
ever possible; water is supplied liberally,
and the road slab is kept continuously
wet; protection from wind and sun is

The preceding summary of increased
refinement in conducting concrete road
work can be lengthened materially by
adding minor details. The fact that con-
crete road building is becoming a very
particular task of concrete construction
has, however, been clearly indicated — and
that is all tliat it was proposed to do.
The contractor whose experience has
been confined to general concrete con-
struction must fee prepared to accept
new standards of refinement in concrete
production when he enters the field of
road work. It is more important to em-
phasize this fact than most of the other
changed conditions that concrete road
construction brings, because it is less
obvious than most of the others. Co-
incidentally it should be noted that the
tendency for increased refinement is
bringing an increase in concrete pave-
ment costs. Tlie old "dollar a yard"
slogan of the concrete road enthusiast is
ceasing to have much of the truth that it
once had. Dollar a yard concrete roads






Beach and Taylor Streets, SAN FRANCISCO


The Architect and Engineer





ROBERT W. HUNT & CO., Engineers




New York Lo





will be built in occasional places, but the
concrete road of the future will most
certainly exceed materially the cost of
most of the concrete roads of the past—
and it should do so, for unless all indi-
cations fail it will be a much better

Road Building Exhibit at Oakland, Cali-

A ten-acre lot near Oakland's new mu-
nicipal auditorium will show in Septem-
ber the finest examples of road building
in the world. The lot has been set aside
for experimental work by the experts of
the American Road Builders' Associa-
tion and the American Highway Associ-
ation, which will hold a joint convention
in Oakland under the name of the Pan-
American Road Congress.

The ten acres will be criss-crossed
with the very latest examples of road
building, fifty- to one-hundred-foot
lengths. Every conceivable kind of road
will be exhibited, some of them to be
finished before the convention meets and
others to be worked on during the meet-
ing, to show the latest methods and ma-
chinery used in road building.

•Practical demonstrations of up-to-date
and ahead-of-date ways of construction
will be made. City and county officials
from all over the country have already
announced their intention of being pres-

Veterinary College

Plans are being prepared for a hand-
some building for the San Francisco Vet-
erinary College by Norman R. Coulter.

Online LibraryThomas Babington Macaulay MacaulayThe Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.42 (July-Sep. 1915)) → online text (page 23 of 38)