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David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Junior Member
Username: David_axt

Post Number: 30
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, July 23, 2002 - 05:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I am working on a historic project where the existing Douglas fir, double hung, single pane, true divided light windows will be refurbished and reinstalled.

How do I specify this restoration when I am not sure how it will be accomplished or what windows will need what done to them? How will the subcontractor bid on this work when he/she will not know how much effort this will be until he/she works on the job?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
Anne Whitacre
New member
Username: Awhitacre

Post Number: 4
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Tuesday, July 23, 2002 - 06:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

there is a publication available from the federal government precisely about restoring old wood windows -- I'll see if I can find at least the name of it. If you have a building on the Historic Register, there are very precise restrictions on what you can do to the window and still have it qualify. Each window will need to be surveyed, and the degree of repair for each window has to be quantified -- I believe that if a window is still 40% intact, it must be repaired. There are some wood filler products out there ( like body putty for cars) that you will have to investigate; usually the windows have to be unglazed; the frames treated to make sure that there are no bugs; all rot taken out; then all those spaces filled with stuff; then any new sections have to be replaced to match the existing (and if they can find old growth fir to duplicate sections, that is allowed, too.); then reglazed and painted and sealed. Look under "wood repair" or "wood window repair" in your search engine; I know I've seen products for just this use at some previous CSI conventions. You may also think in terms of having these windows bid as unit prices. It will make a difference of course if this is public bid, or private bid; all the buildings I did in Pioneer Square were negotiated and we could have the window guy survey the existing windows and provide unit costs for repair of each window, including reglazing. oh, and with the double hung, all the ropes and weights will probably have to be replaced as well.... at least the ropes.
John T. McGrann, Jr., AIA, CSI, CCS
New member
Username: Jmcgrann

Post Number: 2
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 24, 2002 - 05:02 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


The last update of our MasterSpec subscription contained a few new sections regarding historic preservation. One is Section 08592 - Historic Treatment of Wood Windows. You might want to check with ARCOM.


David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Junior Member
Username: David_axt

Post Number: 33
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Thursday, August 01, 2002 - 02:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Let's use another example to further illustrate my questions.

Let say the building needs masonry cleaning. I can write a section specifying all the different methods of cleaning. I can also specify that the contractor use the most gentle method first and then use increasingly aggresive methods until the desired result is acheived. I can also specify a mockup in an inconspicious portion of the building to be used as the standard level of quality.

[Here is the big question.] How does the contractor bid this work on a public low bid project?

Unless the contractor is clairvoyant, he will not know how much effort it will take to thoroughly clean the building. Should I allow change orders when the contractor claims the cleaning was more difficult than originally estimated in his bid? Should I allow several contrators to do test cleaning spots the building before the bid?

(On private work I would encourage this specialized work to be negotiated with a preselected contractor and separate contract from the construction contract.)
Dave Metzger
New member
Username: Davemetzger

Post Number: 18
Registered: 07-2001
Posted on Thursday, August 01, 2002 - 06:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


When we have specified restoration or repairs, where the specific type and extent of work is unknown, we have tried to handle to it similarly to unknown earthwork conditions.

First define what the base bid work must consist of. So with your example of masonry restoration, give a quantity (linear feet of joints to be repointed, area to be cleaned using water wash, etc) to include in the base bid. Then ask for unit prices for quantities above and below these base bid allowances. (You have to try and be realistic in the base bid allowance quantities, since the unit price itself could vary depending on the actual extent of work covered by unit prices).

We also define what authorized repairs are (similar to authorized excavation), as in the following example:

Authorized masonry repairs are defined as the following:

Re-pointing of existing brick joints in excess of Base Bid allowance.

Cleaning methods other than scrubbing and water application methods.

Perform authorized masonry repairs in accordance with Architect's written direction.

Perform authorized masonry repairs only with approval of Architect, and only to extent authorized by Architect.

Additional compensation for authorized masonry repairs will be determined in accordance with unit prices in Agreement.

The point is that it is the architect who determines when authorized repairs (ie change order work covered under unit prices)kicks in; the contractor does not have carte blanche to go ahead on his own. The architect decides whether the masonry is cleaned sufficiently with water/scrubbing, or whether chemical or some other cleaning method is necessary. You want to be able to maintain administrative control.
Marc C Chavez
New member
Username: Mchavez

Post Number: 3
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Friday, August 02, 2002 - 11:25 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I have used the same method to specify rotten roof deck (hidden under roof to be removed) as well as brick cleaning. I have also used this method on historic windows. We specified a percentage of sills to be replaced, sashes to be rebuilt etc. We also specified a source for historic glass as the color, thickness, clarity etc. of new glass is VERY different. We ask for unit prices for all. The hard thing is to get specific BUT not get so picky that the contractor goes nuts during bid time.
David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Junior Member
Username: David_axt

Post Number: 34
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, August 02, 2002 - 03:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Back to wood window restoration.

The project manager wants the following tasks perfomed.

photograph of every window
open every window sash and indicate operation
note all missing hardware
document all cracks, dents, rot, and missing trim
document all broken or replaced lites
test window sills/jambs/head for rot

Then illustrate on the elevation drawings (by shading), every window lite that needs to be replaced. Note all defects that need to be replaced. Keynotes and tables will probably be used.

The windows will be fully documented leaving "no stone unturned". The PM is very concerned about contractor submitting a change order for an increase in scope or unforseen conditions. So the PM's philosophy is to tell the contractor exactly what needs to be done to each window.

FYI there are 196 windows, most are double hung, each sash has 12 lites (4 over 3).

What are your thoughts on this procedure?
Marc C Chavez
New member
Username: Mchavez

Post Number: 4
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Friday, August 02, 2002 - 04:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I assume that this is the Architects PM. Well, the procedure is fine but as you know the terms have to be defined. What does testing for rot mean? how many places, what technique, invasive or not etc. So in closing I'd say go for it if you have the time to specify it and the Owner has the money to pay for it.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
New member
Username: Bunzick

Post Number: 14
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Monday, August 05, 2002 - 09:00 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

All of the above make sense, but I would add a very important element. The PM should be educating the client about the nature of restoration work - its variables and uncertainties - and the likelihood that there WILL be change orders. Then structure the contract docs well to control the process. If you go into this expecting NO change orders, you are bound to be: 1) disappointed with the quality; 2) have to leave same things undone; 3) get into disputes with the contractor; or, possibly 4) overpay the contractor because he or she has had to assume a significant risk cost.

Architect's do themselves and the profession no favors by agreeing to, or promising to, work in a "no change order" environment.
John Regener, AIA, CCS, CCCA
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, August 05, 2002 - 12:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree. The nature of renovation/remodeling work is inherently uncertain.

The issue seems to be a desire by the owner to overcome the uncertainty.

I think the list of tasks that David Axt listed above can be done. And the architect can do them ... given a healthy change order to the owner-architect agreement. If the tasks are not included of the architect's services, then give the owner a proposal for the architect or someone engaged by the architect to do the tasks.

I recently had a project that involved restoration of steel windows. My recommendation was for the windows to be inspected and for a code to be painted on the glass identifying what renovation tasks needed to be performed. The codes were tied to the unit price section in Division 1 of the specifications and the unit price amounts bid by the contractor on the Bid Form.

The unit prices included estimates for the total quantity of each unit of work. The quantities were plus or minus 15 percent. That is, if the actual work required 5 percent more than estimated, the unit price will be applied in increasing the Contact Sum through a change order. The same will be true if the actual work requires 5 percent less, resulting in a decrease in the Contract Sum. If the quantity to be adjusted is greater than 15 percent, then the unit price is revised through negotiation between the owner and contractor.

Instead of looking at changer orders as "bad" in this case, the owner should look at unit prices and resulting change order(s) as means for the owner to only have to pay for the work that is actually performed. Potential conflict is reduced by prescribing the price per unit of the work in advance of performing the work, and there is an estimated quantity of units of work so that the owner and contractor have a better idea about what they are getting into before starting construction.

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