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Imbrie Packard
New member
Username: royalarch

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2016
Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2016 - 07:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

On a publicly bid project the specifications were missing the door hardware spec section. The door schedule indicates hardware sets with numbers, but no corresponding section. The contractor claiming they are not responsible for any door hardware. What is the correct contractual interpretation of this situation?
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: wpegues

Post Number: 948
Registered: 10-2002

Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2016 - 10:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The Contractor(s) can't be held responsible for something for which no information exists. Any given door, no matter how plain it might seem, could have a huge variety in hardware items as well as quality/durability levels. Hinges vary in cost even from the same manufacturer depending on wether heavy duty or standard (the frequency of the door opening) and on whether they are fully mortised, or surface as well as what finish (prime coated, a plated finish, or a through metal like stainless steel, brass or bronze...and then is the door rated requiring the hinge to be a rated hinge or not. That's just one item. Some of that might be inferable from the documents, but not necessarily would the contractor and the architect agree on some things.

So, is the Contractor required to then put forward something and make an assumption? No, not at all. And again, that would be a huge involvement of time and effort all things considered. Should he 'ball park' an allowance? I would say again, no because in a bid project that's going to increase his bottom line over someone who takes the stance that its not included.

The only thing that might have been done, but is not required to have been done, would been for the Contractor(s) bidding the project to put in request for information related to 'I can't find the door hardware sets'. Then if it was truly not there the architect could instruct them to include an allowance of '"X" or print the document if it was simply 'forgotten' or a printing error.

If even one bidding contractor had done this, the answer would be provided to all in a clarification or addendum. But apparently no one on the bidding side of the table was up for that. Too bad, but, in the end it is not their responsibility to account for all documentation, only to bid what is presented. That sets were listed but not provided also does not mean anything. Set numbers infer nothing, not even that a document was available but missing. I have seen numerous instances when someone was trying to lump doors of similar requirements together and assign set numbers. Foolish as it is meaningless and conveys nothing.

So, my interpretation is that since the architect did not provide complete documentation, the contractor cannot be held accountable for information that is not in the Contract Documents. He (they) should probably have put in a question as to the status of the missing documents, but in the end, missing information is just that, missing.

It might be interesting to hear more details and how this plays out.

William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS, SCIP Affiliate
WDG Architecture, Washington, DC | Dallas, TX
Dave Metzger
Senior Member
Username: davemetzger

Post Number: 662
Registered: 07-2001
Posted on Monday, October 31, 2016 - 09:21 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Generally I agree with my friend William. Whether the bidders should have put in a request for information related to 'I can't find the door hardware sets', would have depended on how this situation was addressed in the Instructions to Bidders.

But for the larger point, obviously hardware was required; but the bidders had no obligation to try and read the architect's mind nor to make assumptions about the un-issued hardware sets. Of course, if this issue came to light prior to signing the contract, there is no "contractual interpretation" because there is no contract.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 931
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Monday, October 31, 2016 - 09:47 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

It can be argued that the contractor is responsible for providing some hardware. Assuming the general conditions are the AIA A201, 1.2.1 states, "The intent ... is to include all items necessary for ... completion of the Work ... Contract Documents are complementary ...." If the drawings show doors, and, and if doors and frames are specified, it is reasonable to assume that hardware is required to hang the doors.

The AIA commentary states, "The contractor is expected to make reasonable inferences from the contract documents. When the documents show wall partitions covered by drywall ... it may be inferred that some reasonable method will be used to attach the drywall to the underlying framework."

In this case, you could argue that hinges are required to hang the doors in the frames. You could even argue that rated hinges are required for rated openings. Similarly, you could argue that rated locksets, closers, and exit devices are required for rated openings.

Beyond that, you're in trouble. The problem with relying on the general conditions to cover missing information is that the level of quality is not specified. Without that information, the cheapest available products are allowed. The question then becomes, do you want to look like a fool for forgetting to specify the hardware or do you want to look even worse by trying to convince everyone the contractor is at fault for critical information that was not provided?

I'm puzzled. How many bidders were there, and how long was the bidding period? I find it difficult to believe that no one asked about the hardware. It's not difficult to see that a contractor ccould miss it, but how could door and frame suppliers and installers fail to ask? Could this be one of those cases where the contractor intentionally left hardware out of the bid, looking for a change order?
Imbrie Packard
Junior Member
Username: royalarch

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2016
Posted on Monday, October 31, 2016 - 10:30 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Thanks for all the valuable input. This project was initially put out to bid with a hardware specification. Then the project was shelved and re-bid a year later missing the section. It is hard to know what exactly happened during the bid, but I think that the door & hardware subcontractor used his previous bid numbers without realizing the hardware spec was missing second go around.
ken hercenberg
Senior Member
Username: khercenberg

Post Number: 1019
Registered: 12-2006

Posted on Monday, October 31, 2016 - 12:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Check your doors specs. If the Contractor is required to install doors in accordance with NFPA 80 and 105 for fire and smoke rated doors and SDI 250.8 or HMMA 841 for non-fire-rated doors you can possibly make an argument that compliance is contingent of providing hardware since you can't install doors without hardware. As Sheldon pointed out, this will be the minimum possible level that complies.

Perhaps some of the comments in your door schedule require panic hardware or other hardware. This may be one of those rare times when too many notes on the drawings may come in handy.

Is it safe to presume that as a result the doors and frames have not been prepped to receive hardware?
David G. Axt, CCS, CSI ,SCIP
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 1522
Registered: 03-2002

Posted on Monday, October 31, 2016 - 08:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Welcome to the world of public bid projects!

Contractors should notify the Architect about discrepancies in the documents, but they don't. Contractors keep quiet because they know there is money to be made for a change order later on.

I have occasionally come across this issue in my work and quite frankly do not have a good solution. An omission is an omission.

You could argue that of course all the doors will have hardware on them! The Contractor will probably argue that he thought the hardware was left out because it will be bid / purchased separately in a different contract.

Good luck!
David G. Axt, CCS, CSI, SCIP
Specifications Consultant
Axt Consulting LLC

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