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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:48 am    Post subject: FEES OF STRUCTURAL CONSULTANTS Reply with quote


In earlier times the Structural Consultants used to be paid fess as a percentage of structural cost and Architects on a percentage of the total cost of the building.  But in the past 2 or 3 decades major construction in a city like Mumbai is done by the builders/developers. They think that why pay more to an architect on  the cost of, say,  Italian marble since his work is not much more than that if tiles were used.  Although the same argument is not true in case of structural consultants still  the Developers started paying fees on  sq. ft of area of construction instead of a percentage of cost of construction to structural consultants also. They even pay lesser rate for the basements and lower parking and podium floors(apparently because they are not their Sale floors which generate income for them)although work of structural design of such floors can be as time consuming as tower floors or even more. But all this was accepted by the structural consultants who had no other choice because they do not have a strong organization/lobby like Chartered Accountants. 

Every year staff salaries, prices and maintenance costs of software, computers go up by leaps and bounds. But the developer clients still talk of the same rate per sq. ft. for fees as was few years ago.  As a result consultants suffer. They are unable to pay decent salaries to their staff compared to those in other fields like banking, management etc.

Actually, rate per sq ft of fees should go up every year as per rising expenses. It could be linked to the Cost of Living index.  But many consultants go on accepting fees at low  rates thereby bringing down the overall fee structure.

As is it the developers are trying to put more and more burden and responsibility  on the structural consultants like asking for full time supervision at site(for which they reimburse only the salary of the engineer posted at site + a little more),  asking detailed bar bending schedules (for nominal additional fees). It is possible that in future they may say why do they have to pay engineer fees on area of all typical floors of a tall building and negotiate for a fee based on a reduced area consisting of only non typical floor areas.  Structural consultants will be like the advocates standing outside courts in Mumbai looking for prospective clients to do any petty work in court.

Vasant Kelkar

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason for low fee structure in India in my view is 'less' due to unwillingness of the Clients to pay more, but 'more' because of our (i,e structural engineers) own creation. My views in this regard are the following:

a) We structural engineers are not organised enough to set for ourselves, a minimum standards of performance and minimum fee structure.

b) We have learnt to accept jobs at very low fee due to cut-throat competition and also because we know that we can get away performing poorly in the job …by hook or by crook.

c) Due to absence of any licensing regime in the country, there is no accountability for structural engineers and therefore there is no fear for non-performance. We have allowed ourselves to lower our standards and compromised.

d) Whenever Clients (under pressure from politicians and bureaucrats) have asked us to give some unrealistic schedules for design submissions, we have always taken a very short sighted approach and yielded to these demands and compromised on the quality of delivery output, because we know that Client cannot immediately make out these poor quality works, which will come to surface later.

e) There is no fear of doing poor quality work. Past records shows that whenever there is a structural failure, instead of finding the real cause of failure and fixing accountability directly, all people involved in the profession unitedly work towards closing the files somehow and bury the issue till public memory fades. There has been several major failures in India in the past. Have you heard of any clear verdict in any of these cases, where responsibility has been fixed? We do not learn positive things from structural failures.

f) I think, if we want our fee to be reasonable, we have to work towards this goal ourselves unitedly. No one else will help us if we do not help ourselves. Way forward is as follows :

· All structural Engineering must be a member of any consulting engineers / structural engineering associations (e,g. IastructE, CEAI ...etc.)

· All such associations / institutions must improve their performance and should be much more active and aggressive in disseminating knowledge, in imparting special training to engineers for continuous professional development and in orienting young engineers in the right direction. Knowing fully well the level of education that the young engineers are getting from the universities now a days, responsibility of these associations are much much more now than ever before. All big sized consultants must put their heads together to improve performance of these associations.

· I think the Governing Council of all these associations must do brain storming in these lines. They should induct bright and young structural engineers in the decision making team so that these YE become a part of the think tank from early age.

· All big sized consultancy organisation MUST aim to set a standard of performance in addition to setting a standard of fee. Both are equally important. Very frankly I find that root cause of problems are caused by many of these big sized Consultants, who have brought the quality of our performance to a very low level.
Let us start making changes ourselves rather than blaming others for our plight.
Best Wishes

Alok Bhowmick

Courtsey Structural Engineering Forum of India

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate and endorse all the points raised by you.

Unfortunately, the present day graduates think that they should also earn link IT Engineers and hence want to work in an office environment and do not want to go to sites.

In USA there is a system in which Practicing Engineers come to colleges and teach as Adjunct Professors. In India such a system is not there, though I found some IITs have some practicing engineers teaching subjects/giving guest lectures. They also have some foreign faculty working for short periods. Some Institutes send their students abroad for a few months. But such Institutes are rare. In USA they is a practice of Internship, which is not there in most of the Colleges in India.

There are too many codes in India. Civil Engineering Students opting for Design work should at least read the following codes:
IS 875 (parts 1-5)
IS 456
IS 800
IS 1893 (Part 1 at least)
IS 13920

As you have rightly said continuous reading is a must for not only practitioners but also professors! Many professors simply repeat what they taught in their first year. In IITs and some NITs due to their involvement in consultancy and research, they are able to infuse new information to their students.

Since the students want to use computers for everything (now a days, even babies live with iPads or smart phones) they do not know how to draw BM, SF or defln. diagrams. Unfortunately, too much reliance of computers is not good. One must know whether the results given by computers is correct or not.

Many Private Universities are interested in money only and simply give good marks to their students. They do not follow standard text books and follow the notes written or published by their own faculty, which may contain only previous exams questions and answers!

We studied 5 year course on Civil Engineering. Now it is only 4 years course, cutting out some practice oriented subjects like Drawings, Site exp., etc. In the same way we studied 2 years of M.E. now it is only 1.5 years and as mentioned by current students, they leave out Stability, Plates and Shells and other subjects which are mathematically involved!

Warm regards,

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion a good structural engineer must essentially possess worthwhile experience in construction practices, and a good knowledge of concrete technology and sufficient practical experience and knowledge in design practice vogue in everyday life in our country and design methods of concrete and steel.
A structural engineer who deals with concrete design should also possess thorough knowledge of design codes applicable to concrete practice and also how this is applied in practice
Most of the graduates and even post graduates coming out of the new colleges are not aware of the various Indian standards , Irc codes & steel codes dealing with design of buildings , bridges and steel structures . This is because they are not taught with reference to codes applicable to practical design of structures in the colleges.
I had the the opportunity of recruiting candidates and interviewing them in a consultancy , where I work.
Many of the candidates do not know how to draw bending moment and shear force diagram under various load combinations. Many of them do not know the initial setting time and final setting time of concrete. even Pg candidates did not correctly state modulus of elasticity of concrete and steel.
Many of them do not know the difference between working stress method of design and limit state methods of design. Their fundamental knowledge is far below standards.
It is true that you do not come across practical design problems when they study in the new institutions.
A true practical problem is entirely different from what they study from text books in colleges.; It is mainly because the faculty members who teaches them the subjects do not have any practical design experience.
I can cite my experience in one context
I went for post graduate studies in structural engineering after working undergoing 15 years of design experience & practice in PWD Design wing under the guidance of well qualified& Uk educated design post graduate engineers possessing MIStruct E professional certification from Institution of structural Engineers London. I had a good grasp of Bridge engineering and design codes both Indian and british codes & IRC . The faculty member who was teaching bridge engineering in PG studies was a PHd holder from Kharagpur IIT.Unfortunately he has no practical knowledge of bgidge engineering or design experience. He used to consult with me in the superstructure design and substructure design and foundation design of bridges and different types of bearings adopted for bridges, because he had no practical experience in designing those components of bridges.
What I want to stress here is that mere academic qualification alone is not enough and adequate for a successful practical design structural engineer.
Even post graduates passing out from new institutions , do not know how to design a multistoreyed building using earthquake codes and wind codes.
Coming to actual design practices in structural design as pointed out by Er Prabhakar of Vasi , detailing is a very important part of structural design and many of the structural engineers do not know how to make good structural detailing of concrete and steel structures. It is very important part of our design work and what we design manually or using computer is translated into actual application thru structural detailing & good structural drawings. Special skill is necessary for this.
I have worked with International consultants in Middle east countries for 20 years and their drawings contains every perfect detail required for construction.
Structural engineering and civil engineering today is not the one 50 years ago. One should update what is happening thru research in modern times . One should undergo practical training and learn new things in design and concrete technology by lot of reading and attending seminars conducted by professional associations.
I also endorse many of the points posted in his mail by Er. Satyapal in his posting dated 13th feb.2016

K. Gangadharan
Structural Consultant

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Dear All,

I am giving below the summary of discussions that took place from 15th Feb till 21st Feb on the topic of Structural Engg. Fees.

Er Irshad Khan was of the opinion quality of services provided is related with the fees charged by the structural engineer and hence any one who is charging Re. 1 to Rs. 2 per sq, ft. can not provide good quality of service. He felt that this kind of poor quality has
devalued the structural Engineers. He felt that we need to have a legally binding association for registering structural Engineering practice. In such a situation, the Association can fix a minimum fee structure based on certain guidelines, thus regulating the field of structural engineers.
Er J.D. Buch cited his 'Point of View' paper on 'What ails structural engineers', published in the Dec. 2010 issue of ICJ, wherein he had given suggestion to improve the profession. He also mentioned about the paper by the undersigned on 'Are our Structural Engineers Geared up for the Challenges of the Profession' published in the Jan 2011 issue of ICJ (Both the papers were appended).

Senior Engineer Satya Paul felt that Professional jealousy,cut throat competition, no regulatory authority fixed by Law are some of the reasons that have let down our profession. Though countries like USA and UL have some regulations. India does not have any because Engineers are not considered as vote banks for politicians. Mushroom growth of many universities,has deteriorated standard of engineering education. Owner does not want to pay to the engineer,but willing to spend lacs of rupees for construction. Even now Mason/Mistries supervise the buildings, though they may not have knowledge. He even narrated his personal experience in which the contractor, who made some wrong entries in order to make money wrongfully, arranged a vehicle to knock him on the road and his leg was broken. He suggested that Our PM should be approached to start immediately projects and to employ engineers, as Engineers are job creators. our Govt. should be approached for appointing a regulator similar to that available in countries like USA, UK,Germany and France.

Er Bijoy again stressed the urgent need to comply with NBC because he had come across many designs (Architectural Designs) that have not considered the stipulations of NBC. He questioned whether there is a mechanism to educate clients regarding this? or any authority to check whether any building is designed in accordance with NBC? [ in USA, the contractor has to get working permit from the authorities and the work will be supervised at critical stages, especially at the foundation level and if the foundation or columns are not according to the standards, the work will be stopped].

Er Gururaja felt that structural engineering associations or the Govt. should fix standards and register engineers so that a structural engineers are not under paid by an architect.

Our Er Alpa informed that Architects and other professionals are also in a similar or worse state than us, with regard to fees. Even consultants who are paid three times the fee than an ord. consultant feels that he is not compensated properly. She feels that No bill we introduce can legislate virtue. The GCPE Act was quietly buried by the Gujarat R & B dept. So we should not chase the Holy Grail of Professional Bill for resolving poor fees issue. What we can try to do is to "command" better fees, by our quality of work, by working as a unified community and all adhering to standards laid down by ISSE, ACCE or any agreeable body.

I thank organizers once again for giving me this opportunity. I personally feel that we are talking about the Engineers Bill which may solve some of the problems of fees, not because it will eradicate under cutting by other engineers, but because it will give Engineers some status in the society which will give some power to us to negotiate.

Finally I thank all Structural engineers who took part in the discussions and wish all Structural Engineers in our Forum all the very best!

Warm regards and Best wishes,

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