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Julia H. Hall, CSI, CCS, CCCA (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 08:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Does your office have a formal process or procedure for field feedback, including spec related problems and problems with specified manufacturers, installers, etc.? How well does it work? Do you have any recommendations?
Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 770
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 09:23 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

In addition from the direct, face-to-face feedback from our CA people, we also have a computer feedback/response program that allows us to enter problems that can be reviewed by all staff, and solutions suggested. Also can be archived for future refernce.
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: wpegues

Post Number: 691
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 09:38 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We have a formalized process, referred to as the 'repetitive RFI' meaning similar questions that come up on multiple projects from which the process started. Anything that the CA considers a potential future problem, whether its details or specs, they provide to our QC group and it goes on a database. This goes back to the top of the design and product process by the project architects reviewing new items at their regular meetings. There solutions/modifications are made as relates to any product details and design issues are referred to the senior designer group and specifications items to specifications. The database is then updated with the status of the solution. This is available to all, including CAs who on a new project can review the list and by the date of project and the status dates of the database items, know very quickly what to look to see might have missed recent updates.

We have been doing this in one way or another for a number of years now, and the participating groups refine it continuously.

David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 959
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 02:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We don't have a formal process but CA people come to me all the time and inform me of what worked, what did not work, typo's, etc. I highly encourage them to do so even though I sometimes get egg on my face. I then immediately go in an chance or note the master specs. Sometimes I even alert other CA people of a possible problem on their jobs.
John Hunter
Senior Member
Username: johnhunter

Post Number: 45
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 04:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

A formal process was in place at a firm where I used to work, but it was discontinued when it was determined that this information would be subject to discovery in case of litigation. Internal documentation of "problems" that then might be part of a claim could be damaging to the defense of the claim. Seems to fly in the face of common sense, but there you are . . .
Phil Kabza
Senior Member
Username: phil_kabza

Post Number: 297
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 10:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Breathtaking. Hope NASA doesn't do that.

What Shakespeare play is it that includes the line: "First, we kill all the lawyers!"?

Did anyone point out to the corporate attorney that, given what the other postings above suggest is the "standard of care," that your firm would be found negligent anyway?
George A. Everding, AIA, CSI, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: geverding

Post Number: 387
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 11:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Henry VI - Part II
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: mark_gilligan

Post Number: 19
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 02:17 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree with the line "First, we kill all the lawyers!" even though lawyers will point out that it is taken out of context. At one time in the colonies it was illegal to practice law. Where did we go wrong?

You just have to be smarter than the lawyers.

You can have a feedback system. The trick is your system does not keep any long term records of items reviewed. After you have evaluated the feedback and made any appropriate changes, you destroy any record of the feedback and decisions made. The only record is that you had a meeting. Also you should not use e-mail to arrange adjenda or to discuss items on the adjenda.

You could also have a policy that your review process will not "formally" review any problem that has the potential for litigation.

Talk to your attorney.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 824
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 08:39 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I'm not buying that the exposure to liability should trump an effort to improve a firm's quality. This stands the entire process on its head--Alice in Wonderland at its finest. If you produce quality work, you're less likely to end up in litigation in the first place. If you have a feedback system that helps quality, that'll go further to fending off litigation than pretending that problems don't exist. Maybe a good lawyer can even use the system as evidence that the firm's practices exceed the ordinary standard of care, and therefore no liability exists.
Marc C Chavez
Senior Member
Username: mchavez

Post Number: 267
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 11:06 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Hear Hear John

Perhaps this brings the context of the scene back. Dick the butcher, Cade et al are planning rebellion and want to kill the lawyers. They recognized that to succeed, they must get rid of those who knew and enforced a system of laws. They didn’t want any informed opposition. No lawyer I know (and I’m married to one as well) would advocate "no" self improvement process. Certainly DO NOT write statements like “We really screwed up, that set of drawings was sooo bad…and we sure screwed up the waterproofing at the plaza.” Leave out the negative overarching statements. Record the facts. If they came to light as a result of an RFI or COP then they are in the record already. Record the event (no judgment) and the solution. You don’t have to admit fault.

The rebels in the play find a clerk and want to hang him because he can write his name instead of using a mark “as any plain dealing man” Cade states “Away with him, I say! hang him with his pen and ink-horn about his neck.”

Be careful what you advocate for spec WRITERS or you may find yourself hoisted on your own pitard

Aye, there’s the rub!
Ronald L. Geren, AIA, CSI, CCS, CCCA, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: specman

Post Number: 601
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 11:15 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree with John. Continual improvement is a common practice in any industry and profession--without it, nothing would get better.

However, knowing about a problem and the failure to act upon that knowledge may open up any company, not just architects, to potential liability.
David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 962
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 02:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Destroying records? Does "Enron" or "Arthur Anderson" mean anything to anybody?

I would think that you could get into more trouble for knowing about a problem and not doing anything about it.....or trying to cover it up (ala "Watergate").

You should keep a record so in the future people can look back at why decisions were made.

Architects are not expected to produce "perfect" documents. As long as we are providing "the industry standard of care" we should be okay.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 825
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 04:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

If a firm has a standard record-keeping policy governing what to keep and for how long, and follows it, there is no issue with destruction of records. It is not necessary to keep forever every piece of paper (and electronic document) that a company produces. The problem comes in when you destroy records outside of established record-keeping procedures in a situation where a specific potential liability becomes known (or following normal procedures with records relating to an ongoing lawsuit). Then it can be rightly perceived as destroying evidence. This is what Enron did.
Ron Beard CCS
Senior Member
Username: rm_beard_ccs

Post Number: 247
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 05:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I would be interested to hear how other outhouse specifiers solicit, promote, and acquire feedback from their clients.
C. R. Mudgeon
Senior Member
Username: c_r_mudgeon

Post Number: 57
Registered: 08-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 06:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Outhouse specifiers have to be careful about what kind of paper they're paid with.
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wyancey

Post Number: 397
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 12:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Outhouse specifiers. Cool term. How about Honeybucket specifiers?

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