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Proposal for engineering services to other than owner

Proposal for engineering services to other than owner

Proposal for engineering services to other than owner

I am a one man shop, and within the past year have been on my own working out of my house doing Residential Structural. So far everything has went well, but now I have been contacted by a solar contractor to provide engineering for a site retaining wall behind a family owned business. Yesterday I met the Business owner and contractor at the site and reviewed the project scope. After the meeting the contractor and I went over a few issues and I told him that I will provide a proposal directly to the owner of the property. He pauses and says that he was already hired by the owner and part of his contract was to pay for the Engineering services and that I should provide a proposal for engineering services directly to the contractor and not the owner.

This is something that I have not done before since I like to have the contract directly with the owner. This is because if I do not get paid I can always file a lien on his property until I get paid, but if I have the contract directly between myself and the contractor I have less leverage.

Have any of you guys experienced something like this, or whom do you typically make the contract with, owner or contractor or does it matter?


RE: Proposal for engineering services to other than owner

My contracts are normally with the owner as well, but you can still file a lien if you're a subcontractor, I believe. I'll accept a contractor as a client if I trust them.

Make sure your contract is absolutely explicit about what your duties are/aren't, and make sure your drawings say that a qualified contractor has to build the wall, or you'll have the solar guys thinking they can do it and it will be bad. Be sure your contract has a timeframe for getting paid based off when you send your work/invoice, and not based off when the contractor (your client) gets paid.

You could always check with the owner if you think anything is fishy about this.

good luck!

Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: Proposal for engineering services to other than owner

SLTA is correct...in most states you can file a lien for professional services without having privity with the owner, provided the property is improved in some manner. Also agree with her that working with contractors you trust is no big deal. I've done it many times, though still prefer dealing directly with the owner.

RE: Proposal for engineering services to other than owner

If you are nervous about it, get a good chunk of your fee up front in a retainer. If he balks, then you walk. You are not a bank, not that anyone wants to be nowadays. nosmiley

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

RE: Proposal for engineering services to other than owner

There is nothing wrong with working for a contractor - I do it all the time. From a security of payment point of view, you have the contractor's solvency to factor into the equation, but its probably a better situation than working for an architect. The key difference is that the architect is totally disorganized about money and the contractor is used to having to pay bills in 30 days. Obviously it depends quite a bit on the contractor in question. The other advantage of this contractor is that they could be a potential repeat client for every solar panel installation they do in town for the next 50 years.

RE: Proposal for engineering services to other than owner

Thanks everyone for your responses. SLTA, yes all of my contracts are very explicit about when I get paid so that will not be a problem, but I may add a provision that my fees are to be paid independent of when he gets paid by the owner. I have done a little research and this solar contractor is pretty reputable so I don't think it will be an issue. I was just curious if any other Engineers have had a direct contract with a contractor versus owner and it looks like it is generally acceptable with some exceptions or specifics stated in the contract.

Thanks again

RE: Proposal for engineering services to other than owner

Shacked...be careful about ownership and re-use of documents in your general conditions. You should retain ownership of all documents you produce and re-use should only be with your permission in writing. You do not want the solar contractor to take one set of documents and then use them to obtain permits for another location.

RE: Proposal for engineering services to other than owner


I don't know where you are but you can't do this in NYS; see frequently asked questions http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pels/pefaq.htm

Can an entity not authorized to provide professional engineering or land surveying services in New York, such as a general contractor, subcontract with a licensed professional engineer or land surveyor in order to provide such services?
No. An entity not authorized to provide professional engineering and/or land surveying services, such as a general contractor, can not subcontract with a licensed professional engineer or land surveyor in order to provide professional services to a third party client. The basis for professional regulation is that the service of the professional must be provided directly from the professional to the client without any unlicensed third party between the client and the professional. This unlicensed third party may have other interests (such as financial) that could jeopardize the level and/or quality of the professional service received by the client.

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