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Question for Independent Fire Sprinkler Desginers

Question for Independent Fire Sprinkler Desginers

Question for Independent Fire Sprinkler Desginers

I just put my 2 weeks in for the current job I am in and they have asked if I would be able to help them with designing in case they get busy. They would of course pay me upon completion and I would be doing a 1099 but I have never done this. I am not sure how this works in terms of liability. Would anyone be able to help me? How would this actually work?

RE: Question for Independent Fire Sprinkler Desginers

You will receive the income on a 1099-misc. This means that they will not be withholding any taxes, including FICA. You will be responsible for this on your end. I would not touch a fire sprinkler system design without having liability insurance in place. Some will disagree and say if you aren't signing the plan then you have no liability. I can't see how that could hold up in court if something bad were to happen.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
"Follow" us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/MFP-Design-LLC/9221...

RE: Question for Independent Fire Sprinkler Desginers

Travis, I appreciate the response. That reasoning of "not signing". I appreciate the response! They're asking as a favor since I am leaving my current employer and they asked if I would be able to help them from time to time.

RE: Question for Independent Fire Sprinkler Desginers

Travis is absolutely right when it comes ti liability insurance as in errors and omissions.

When it comes to lawyers all to often when it comes to winning you will still lose and lose big.

When it comes to a lawyer fight I could easily see something going wrong and without E&O insurance the designer would be totally responsible for paying his own lawyer and it doesn't take much to rack up $20,000, $30,000 and more in lawyer fees sucking the life right out of you.

And then there is the possibility you lose and on top of the lawyer fees you got damages.... can you spell bankruptcy?

If I did free lance work I would only do it with E&O insurance or I would insist I be hired by the company as a statutory hourly or salary employee. In my opinion to do anything other than that is nuts.

A couple decades ago I had this job in Toledo, Ohio for a chemical company where the addition required a fire pump. The line in the street was a 42" main, the flow test was perfect with a very flat curve but there was a problem tapping the main. The 42" concrete main was homemade. No kidding, they built it in the middle of the second world war when contractors would build with anything they could get their hands on and since iron was going to battleships Toledo had to make their own concrete watermain.

You couldn't tap it but it so happened they had 6" "blow off" valves in a man hole every thousand feet and there happened to be one in front of the new addition. City told me I could use that for a tap and all I had to do was remove the blind flange and open the valve. Easy and a whole lot cheaper than a tap even if I could get one but couldn't.

Project proceeded, building went up fire pump arrived on site and city finally gave the go ahead to hook up. We did and as we went to flush no water.... well... picture the amount of water you would expect from maybe a 1 1/2" underground watermain.

I did flow tests, did some calculations and the only thing that would account for the friction loss was as if the 6" blow off wasn't 6" but 1 1/2" diameter. No water and certainly not enough for a 1,500 gpm fire pump.

In 45 years of doing design this was the worst job I ever had. Owner was PO'd when he couldn't get a CofO and it got ugly. $20 million later and the owner couldn't even use his new building.

Was I to fault? I learned a lesson, what I should have done is clearly spell to the general contractor that I could not be held responsible for the design until after I actually hooked up to the blow off and performed my own flow test. How could I have known the 6" blow off, which looked so massive peering down the manhole, was equivalent to a 1 1/2" pipe?

Lesson learned is I fixate on flow tests. I am so bad I take video of every flow test I do (yes I do) and I insists on several witnesses.

What if I had been a free lance and got caught up in a huge legal mess?

End of rant.

RE: Question for Independent Fire Sprinkler Desginers

That is crazy. Well, I could look into bring hired or the e&o insurance. It would be nice to make a little extra on the side but I am completely new to this so I definitely appreciate the input.

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