Friday, April 18, 2008


...when you tell a potential consultant / supplier exactly what you don't want, and they propose it anyway, at the last minute and too late to make significant changes to the proposal / pricing it okay (or even smart) to essentially get rid of them?

Here's the deal.  I'm working on an 8-story hybrid parking garage / residential / office / retail project, and we're trying to work out our structural system.  Steel is out for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that we don't want to fireproof the hell out of everything.  So now we're down to precast beams, columns and plank or completely cast-in-place, and we're soliciting preliminary proposals from the two major local suppliers.

We told the precast guy - columns are okay, beams are okay at the demising walls, but we need to run plank parallel to the exterior wall so that we don't reduce the available glass with a beam.  This is last Friday, with a deadline for today.  Well, I got a package from him that is essentially exactly what we don't want.  Beams at the glass line ("don't you have spandrel anyway?").

So.  The problems here are myriad - the supplier is, frankly, outstanding.  They do very high-quality work, are conscientious, and are pursuing the project aggressively enough that we're going to get a great price.  Their guy is a high-energy, quality guy who is very easy and enjoyable to work with.  Unlike some other precast suppliers, they are very collaborative and always take a team approach to a project.  They're great.  But I'm put off by this.  I hope the price difference between systems is significant enough that the decision is basically made for me.

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