Thomas Babington Macaulay Macaulay.

The Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.46-47 (July-Dec. 1916)) online

. (page 26 of 52)
Online LibraryThomas Babington Macaulay MacaulayThe Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.46-47 (July-Dec. 1916)) → online text (page 26 of 52)
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either personal or from books, the lat-
ter usually being too difficult for him
to read. It gives him a beginning, so
that he may be able to solve the ordinary
problems of every-day practice, and. as
stated in the introduction, qualify him-
self for the reading and study of more
profound books on the subject. The
general discussions may also be read
with profit by laymen who wish merely
a general knowledge of the science. The
author states that the text is the result
of many years' experience in making
perspective drawings in an architect's
office and in teaching the science to l)e-

The Architect and Engineer 117

^ To Be "Low Bidder" Not Always Our Aim.

/ Wfc-I^* \ , Our nation-wide organization and large experience in this field assures you always of
f„ V \ i fair estimates and absolute satisfaction.


^^W^ 1 63 Sutter St. (413 Lick BIdg.) San Francisco, Phone butter 521



49 GEARY STREET. 2nd FLOOR '*^ ^S^N^ FrYxcIsTO ^ ^ '^

Phone DougLis 53.iS '

Electncal CHARLES T. PHIL UIPS i^"cifications


Mechanical Pacific Building, San Francisco

Phone Sutter 2176



Phone Kearny 2386 356 Market Street, SAN FRANCISCO



Electrical Engineers and Contractors g^j, FrancisCO
1174 Sutter St. JOBBING - REPAIRS - SUPPLIES California
Phone Prospect 90 ^

Standard Electrical Construction Co.

Electrical Contractors and Engineers

Tele phone Sutter 894 60 NATOMA ST.. SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco, Cal. Oakland, Cal. Los Angeles, Cal.


Electrical Engineers and Contractors

Phone Sutter 23()Q 149 New Montgomery St., San Francisco. Cal.

General Electrical Construction Co.

Electrical Contractors and Dealers

Display Rooms, Retail De partment and Offices

O'Farrell and Mason Streets


The Contractor


Low Bidders on Contract Work


THE speaker has been pleased to note,
dni'ing his travels about the State, the
splendid character of the improvements
that are being carried out by the various
county governments, under the direction
of the county engineers, and to note the
improved character of the work that is
being done under the present engineer-
ing system of the counties.

The county commissioner form of gov-
ernment is the oldest form of commis-
sion government, as now being adopted
by so many cities, and it must be due to
your success in county government as a
general rule that such a method has
grown in favor. The fact that most
boards constantly consult their engineer
on all of the important problems in the
county is a very pleasing indication as
to the value of being placed upon en-
gineering services by those in positions
of trust and authority.

The fact that many counties are now
authorizing their engineers to call in
consulting engineers for special work
represents a broad-minded policy, as the
county engineer cannot lind the time to
study special problems that come up in
a busy season, nor can they find the
finances to employ experts regularly.
That the attempt to gloss over such
work by inexperienced help so often re-
sults in loss or at least in getting poor
structures is now generally recognized.

The practice of accepting free plans
from contracting firms is now pretty
well corrected, as bot'h the commission-
ers and the engineer realize that they
cannot get something for nothing, and
to accept a poor plan in this way only
reflects on their intelligence and their

The immense amount of capital in-
vested in contracting is at the present
time unproductive, as nearly all contracts
are being let at cost or at a loss, and
before we can have really good times
we must make this capital productive.

The acceptance of a bid that is too
low means an indirect financial loss to
your county; it means trouble for tlie

^Consulting luigineer. Seattle. Extracts from

address at joint meeting of county engineers and

"iiith Yakima, Wash.

engineer in his endeavor to get good
work; it means trouble for the commis-
sioners in enforcing the contract, and
probably a lawsuit at considerable loss
and expense to the county.

The low bidder, as a rule, has not the
necessary experience, plant or resources
to properly carry out a contract and
some remedy must be found to have your
work done by proper contractors, as you
know only too well that poor results are
bound to be the effect of having your
work done by a beginner or one who
lacks proper plant.

The first and quickest remedy for this
condition would be for the county of-
ficials to make all the bond companies
understand that no bonds would be ap-
proved from a company who made a
practice of writing bonds for such bid-

The final remedy must come from a
change in the State laws, and might con-
sist in a provision which automatically
rejects the lowest bid and inakes it man-
datory upon the board of county com-
missioners to select from the next two
bidders, the one having the greatest e.x-
perience, the best plant and the great-
est resources.

The most advisable, perhaps, would be
to have the law changed so as to make
it mandatory upon the commissioners to
select from the three lowest bidders the
one having the best experience, plant and

The legitimate contractors at the pres-
ent time and under present conditions
are not making any, or at least reason-
able, dividends on the enormous invest-
ment in this line of business, and they
are justly entitled to be paid the cost
of the work, their operating cost or gen-
eral expense, which is usualh- about 6
per cent, and on all this a 10 per cent

You can rest assured that, under such
a proposed system, the ultimate cost of
work would be less and that the quality
would be of the best, and not such as is
gotten now in too many cases, and which
will prove in the end the wisdom of rele-
gating the "low bidder" to oblivion.

The Architrcl and Eui^inccr



W!-: are all well aware that there are
certain existing evils in the build-
ing trades of today that should be rem-
edied, and it is my candid opinion that
most of the deplorable conditions that
now exist can be improved through the
earnest and mutually helpful co-opera-
tion of the architects and the master
builders, for they are, respectively, the
author and the iinisher of every build-
ing of any importance in our land today.
With a concerted effort, led by the
architects and the master builders, we
have every reason to believe that a large
measure of good results will be obtained
in the very near future.

An important movement in that di-
rection — a movement now well under
way — is intended to eliminate the wrong-
ful, squeezing and grinding methods that
many have employed in connection with

As one remedy for this evil, we pro-
pose that we will not sublet the carpen-
ter, the brick or the concrete work, but
instead, will employ competent foremen
for each of these branches, with the fore-
men under the direct charge of the gen-
eral contractor. This rule in itself, prop-
erly enforced, should go a long way to-
ward improving conditions in these lead-
ing branches of the building industry.

The success of this movement will not
merely tend to eliminate the irrespon-
sible and the incompetent contractors,
but should have the consequent effect of
greatly improving the class of workman-
ship, which, I am sure, is greatly desired
by the architect as well as by every
legitimate and conscientious master

These branches of work, if you will
remember, include the structural — the
principal part of the building, that por-
tion of the building that, in my judg-
ment, should be more closely safeguarded
against faulty construction methods than
any other, for on the framing, on the
structural part of the building, lies the
greatest element of risk to the life and
limb of the occupants and, I should add,
to the capital invested in the building
by the owner.

I believe that tlie better way to insure
the public against this element of danger,
to assure the owner the best returns
from his investment, to reduce the care
of and to increase the satisfaction of the
architect— w^ith the fullest realization of
the architect's plans — is by entirely do-
ing away with the sub-contracting sys-

*An address before the Seattle Conventi
Architects and Builders.



PRODUCTS are specified —
the standard by which all other
metal trim must be judged — is it
good business policy to accept a
product below that standard?

The credit for Hollow Metal Doors
and Trim belongs to Dahlstrom. That
we truly originated and perfected and
have consistently produced the highest
grade of hollow metal interior trim for
buildings is not an exaggeration, but
an established fact.

Sometimes, in fact quite frequently,
we are told: "Cut your estimate and
the job is yours!" We are always
willing to re-figure and to co-operate
with the Architect, Owner and Con-
tractor in an endeavor to lessen cost
or to meet a particular requirement,
but we are not willing to cut an esti-
mate merelv for the commercial trans-
action of s'igning a contract. Dahl-
strom Quality has always been rigidly
maintained and this quality will not
be lowered for the purpose of securing
an order bv meeting the figure of a
competitor whose product is decidedly


are made right in every particular, and
prove not only a source of satisfaction
from the viewpoint of excellence in
unequaled finish, but the added and
greater service of standing up under
the severe tests of the two greatest
destructive forces known to mankind
— FIRE and TIME.

The Dahlstrom price is not high.
You pay only for what you get, and
we know just 'what it costs to produce
the unequaled standard of hollow metal
interior trim.


34 Blackstone Avenue

iches and Representatives
in All Principal Cities.

M. G. West Co., 353 Market St.. San Francisco,

Louis R. Bedell. 522 W. 9th St.. Los Angeles. Calif.
Camp-TeRoUer. 530Colman Bldg.. Seattle. Wash.
Timms. Cress & Co.. 184-186 Second St.. Port-
land, Ore.

rs pie

ention this magaz


The . Ircliitcct and EiKiiuccr

tfin as it applies to the branches of the
work under consideration.

One important result of the application
of this remedy would be to throw the
entire responsibility for the mechanical
excellence of the work involved directly
on the general contractor.

I am not prepared to say that tlie pro-
posed remedy can be made immediately
effective, but master builders now pro-
pose to put it to the test, to give it a
fair trial and, meeting with the approval
and with the co-operation of the archi-
tects, I feel assured that the result will
be a vast improvement over the present
practice of so often sulj-letting these
branches of the work of building con-

It will doubtless be of interest to some
of you to learn that the Seattle Struc-
tural Building Trades Alliance, that is
composed of the journeymen carpenters,
bricklayers, hoisting engineers and build-
ing laborers, is heartily in accord with
the movement. In fact, they have placed
themselves on record and have pledged
their support to each other that they will
refuse to work for any one wdio shall
take a sub-contract involving labor in
any of their trades.

You can readily see by the action of
the Building Trades Alliance that its
members are determined to take the
same attitude as that assumed by the
master builders in their effort to remedy
the evils in the sub-contracting of labor.

It has always been my contention that
where there is a recognized and reason-
able standard of wages that the same
should be maintained, for if we disre-
gard that recognized wage standard we
at once upset the established idea of
the cost of labor and begin inevitably to
engage in unfair and unjust competition,
with the result of lowering or debasing
the standards of workmanship.

This is a matter which, to my mind,
should be given the fullest consideration,
for unless we are prepared and do meet
all wage earners on the same fair and
equitable basis, it is useless to expect
their co-operation as workmen in return.

A natural consequence of a failure to
insure reasonable and equitable condi-
tions among the wage earners in the
building trades is that in the mcclianical
work of constructing the stable, useful

and, especially, beautiful buildings de-
signed by the members of the architec-
tural profession, there will be such a
slighting of the workmanship that the
sensible and the finest purposes of the
architects will never be realized.

I have touched on the wage earner, in
addition to referring to the architectural
requirements, so that vou may clearly
understand that the Master Builders' As-
sociation in formulating their general
plan of action, are considering not merely
themselves but all others engaged in or
related to the building industry, includ-
ing, especially, the owners of the build-
ings, and recognizing, in the broadest
sense, our obligation to society in gen-

Now, to my mind, when a sub-con-
tractor is invited to submit a tender, in
his particular line of work, to a general
contractor and that tender is used in the
final making of his estimate, the general
contractor should accord the same con-
sideration the sub-contractor as he him-
self expected from those to whom he has
submitted a bid on the work as a whole.

It should be understood, however, that
such sub-contractor's hid is to be used
subject to the approval of the architect.

By adopting this method, or one along
similar lines, the result would be that
the most competent and responsible sub-
contractors would be placed in the po-
sition where they belong; that is, at the
front in their special lines.

They would soon realize that in order
to maintain their position they would he
obliged not only to earn the good will
of the general contractor but the ap-
proval of the architect as well.

Another point that is worthy of con-
sideration is a plan to destroy the evil
temptation, the unmanly practice of what
is today referred to as "peddling of sub-
bids.'' This is really a clear case of
"peddling without a license," and should
always be condemned. A general con-
tractor often being awarded a contract,
to secure wdiich he previously depended
on the assistance of a sub-contractor,
should feel morally bound to enter into
a contract with that sub-contractor for
the work on which the latter submitted
his sub-bid. I might offer, merely as a
suggestion, a method that may be worked

lf-9^ ■ f^m tCf't'% Mastic Flooring will stand up under the most

■~ ^^ ' ^-'^^.^i^ * exceptional conditions. Wears like iron, will not crack
and is impon.-ious tt '' - — - • -■ „-.— « „„^..,^„,„^

Get our Prices and I

682 Monadnock Building, San F'rancisco


iEalott $c f rtfrsnn. 3ittr.


Phone Sutter 3161

riting to Advertisers pie

The Architect and Euiiinccr


out to guard against the "auctioncei-iiig"
or peddling system.

The suggestion is something along tliis

That where a general contractor has
invited sub-bids, prior to the tiling of his
general bid for the various sub-branches
involved in the building, he, the general
contractor, should acknowledge by mail
the receipt of each sub-bid, at the same
time advising each successful sub-con-
tracting firm of his (the general con-
tractor's) intention to use their bid, and
that in event of being awarded the gen-
eral contract he will expect the sub-
contractor to enter into a contract at
the price quoted in his estimate. I am
not, however, offering this as a final so-
lution, but simply to give e.xpression to
the thought as it has presented itself to

There is one thought m my mind that
is underlying and intermingled with all
others: It is that the plans for the rela-
tions of the master builder and the sub-
contractor, as well as all others engaged
actively in the building industry, must
be so made that in their final applica-
tion they shall result in an efficient, eco-
nomic and harmonious whole. And this
to the end that the useful and beautiful
creations of the architectural mind shall
be adequately realized through the
trained mechanical ability of the master

must prevent unpreventable interference
with his job.

He is the wizard who must put up his
plants in a temporary location with all
the efficiency of a permanent estalilish-

His mission is to do "real con.^truc-
tive work." It is symbolical of the
right kind of enterprise and activity. It
is the contractor who turns projects into
realities. He stands for the "realiza-
tion" of things planned, which is the es-
sence of all achievement.

Here's to the contractor, the man who
literally builds up the country I— Knick-
erbocker Komments.

A Toast to the Contractor

He deserves a double toast — one for
his burdens, the other for his mission
and the larger meaning of his work.

He is the peg on which every one con-
nected with a building enterprise wants
to hang his troubles — and his delinquen-

He is the wizard whose reading of
plans and specifications must be free
from error, even if they are not.

He is the wizard who must be able
to foresee unforeseen circumstances, who

Big Irrigation Project

In a recent issue was printed an ac-
count of a proposed irrigation project for
the Lindsay-Strathmore Irrigation Dis-
trict in Tulare county, subject to the vot-
ing of bonds for the purpose.

At the election held last month the
property owners by a vote of 191 in
favor to IS against, decided to issue
bonds to the amount of $1,000,000 for the

The decision of the voters favoring
the bond issue opens the way for the
development of hundreds of acres of the
most fertile foothill orange land in the
State. Water will come from the delta
between the Kaweah and St. John's
Rivers, north of Exeter, where test wells
have proven there is an abundance only
a few feet from the surface of the
ground. It is the beli'ef of the en-
gineer and officers of the district that
water can be had on the lands by 1917
irrigation season.

The directors of the district are: E.
L. Daniells, Charles K. Towt, D. .\. Eck-
ert, John Burr and F. M. Pfrimmer. Of-
ficers are: E. L. Daniells. president; C.
\V. Wright, secretary; McKee Mhoon,
treasurer; E. B. Gould, assessor and tax






Beach and Taylor Streets, SAN FRANCISCO

When writing to Advertisers please mention this magazine


T!ic .hrliilcct mid lln''iiiccr





ROBERT W. HUNT & CO., Engineers



New Yobk London Chicago Pittsburgh St. Louis Seattle Toronto Mexico City





Building and Industrial

Mott's Modern Plumbing

One of tlie handsomest and most com-
plete plumbing fixture catalogues we
have ever seen has just been published
by the J. L. Mott Iron Works, Fifth ave-
nue and Seventeenth street, New York.
It is a book of 138 pages, with attractive
cover in soft gray and blue tones. The
catalogue is illustrated with very fine
halftone plates, showing the wide variety
of fixtures manufactured by the Mott
company. The following preface gives a
good idea of the contents .of the cata-
logue and the line of fixtures carried;

"In this catalogue we show a large
variety of well-designed fixtures, thus
making it possible for the good taste
and individuality of the architect and
owner to be reflected in the character of
the fixtures chosen. Moreover, the pres-
ent prices of imperial porcelain and vit-
reous ware make their installation pos-
sible, not only in the finest residences but
also in those of moderate cost.

"The cost of installation for first-class
pluml)ing fixtures that can be depended
upon a^ giving ciinipletc and lasting sat-

is tr


isfac-tiim is aliout tlie ;
of the cheaper grade.

"Tiling for the bathroom is the most
practical as well as the most beautiful
material that can be used. Many of our
designs are exclusive and cannot be du-
plicated elsewhere.

"The same taste and judgment may be
shown in the tiling of a very simple room
as for the most elaborate.

"It is also essential that the tile shall
be set by skilled workmen; our experi-
ence of many years in this particular
branch of the tile business has developed
a high class of these workers."

Laurel the Efficiency Hardwood

Do you know that California laurel,
being one of our native woods, is the
cheapest hardwood obtainable in this
market? Its value is becoming more ap-
preciated every day. Here in San Fran-
cisco some of our largest buildings, for
instance the Palace and St. Francis ho-
tels, are finished in mahoganized birch.
California laurel achieves the same or
better results at a much lower price.

California laurel does not cost very
much more than redwood or Oregon
pine. It costs considerably less than
any other hardwood. It can be used for
practically any purpose where hardwood
is required, eitlier for strength or adorn-
ment, and it is fast liecoming a general


BiK Output — Little Weight
Bisr Profits — Little Cost
Capacity 3S Cu. Yds. a Day

All rounded surfaces^no corners for concrete to lodge in.

Revolves on ball thrust bearing, hermetically sealed to
prevent grit from working in.

Equipped with levers for turning over and locking device
to hold drum in place while mixing.


Pacific Coast Agents
51-53 Minna St., San Francisco Tel. Sutter 1675

itinff to Advertisers pie

Tlic Architect and Em^iitccr





Haines. Jones & Cadbury Co.

II30-II44 Ridge: Avenue Philadelphia

San Francisco Office and Showroom
857 Folsom Street

utility hardwood. It makes line furni-
ture, dural)le -tore, bank and office fix-
tures, and lasting and dependable inter-
ior trim. Like birch, it mahoganizes
easily and well and it is much cheaper
than birch. It is easily worked and at
the same time very strong, so that,
whether desired for strength or adorn-
ment, California laurel will fill the bill
most economically and efficiently.

Rebuilding Destroyed Cities

Anticipating the possibility of a boom
in business incident with the rebuilding
of destroyed towns and cities in Europe,
after the war closes, business men on
both sides of the Atlantic are already
taking steps to establish a foundation for
the transaction of business between the
United States and Europe.

The following letter has been received
from an architect in Paris:



La Jlerciedi de 2 a 5 h

77, Rue Reaumur

Paris, 12th July, 1916.
The Architect and Engineer, San Francisco.

Dear Sir : Your address was given me by
the United States Consulate here, and I beg to
ask you to kindly advise your country's manufac-
turers, by means of your paper, that:

I am establishing in Paris, with the
some of the best builders of the place
portant firm for building materials, mat
plant. I would be glad to be given the
agency for France and Belgium of one
articles having regard to building.

With my best anticipated thanks, I
si"". Yours faithfully,






Hills Bros. Plan Addition

Hills Bros. Coffee Company, 17S Fre-
mont street, San Francisco, have pur-
chased the southeast corner of Howard
and Fremont streets, upon which they
intend to build a substantial addition to
their present factory. It is believed that
construction will be started this year
and that a building at least five stories

Online LibraryThomas Babington Macaulay MacaulayThe Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.46-47 (July-Dec. 1916)) → online text (page 26 of 52)