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Tracy Van Niel
New member
Username: Tracy_van_niel

Post Number: 17
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2002 - 03:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

MasterSpec (in a random search) has a paragraph under Quality Assurance called Installer Qualifications. The sentence continues by saying "Engage an experienced installer to perform work of this Section who has specialized ..."

Our specifications currently has similar wording when we want to indicate that the installer has a minimum number of years of experience for the particular unit of work (wall panels, curtain wall, etc.).

I currently have someone who is questioning whether this paragraph refers to a company or an individual. The example given is that the section requires an installer with a minimum of 5 years experience. His apparent "low" is a company that has been in business for 3-1/2 years but the three owners have had more than 10 years experience with another company. The second low has written a letter to the Owner stating that the apparent low does not meet the specified 5 years experience requirement because the company has only been in business for 3-1/2.

Has anyone had experience with this type of situation before?
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2002 - 04:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Installer is an ambiguous term that can be an individual or a company/firm. Legally, you may have a problem enforcing your intentions if you meant an individual not a firm, but did not define Installer.

Several years ago, I changed this statment in my documents by defining "Installer" under Installer Qualifications as an individual with X years documented experience... We had a similar question arise. I took a closer look at the wording in my documents and made a substantial number of changes to be more definitive.

Another paragraph references installers approved or certified by the manufacturer. Consider redefining this statement. Does the approval belong to the installing firm or the installing individual? If the individual who was trained by the manufactuer leaves, who is approved - the firm or the individual? Does the approval go with the individual or stays with the firm?

It is necessary when using commercial guide specs or any guide specs, for that matter, to carefully read and understand the terminology used. The unnoticible ambiguitites such as this get us into trouble.

Remember the 1997 AIA A 201 changed its wording from "intented" to "indicated". That includes written specifications as well as drawings.

John Regener, AIA, CCS, CCCA, CSI
New member
Username: John_regener

Post Number: 44
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2002 - 06:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

In Section 01400 of my current copy of Masterspec, Installer is defined:

"Installer Qualifications: A firm or individual experienced in installing, erecting, or assembling work similar in material, design, and extent to that indicated for this Project, whose work has resulted in construction with a record of successful in-service performance."
Anne Whitacre
New member
Username: Awhitacre

Post Number: 34
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Friday, December 13, 2002 - 07:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

This particular issue has come up in the City of Seattle for public work, and we were asked to take out the "years of experience" criteria for just that reason -- a recent ruling said that by requiring a firm to be in business 10 years was discriminatory against new businesses that might have owner/partners who have a lot of experience. We ask now for "demonstrated experience on a minimum of ____ number of projects comparable in size and complexity by the actual persons who will be doing the installation (or fabrication or whatever is appropriate).

In general, I do make the distinction between the subcontracting firm and the foreman who will be assigned to the project, since I've had several projects in which we get a very experienced firm as a subcontractor and then they assign some yahoo to actually do the work.
Jo Drummond
New member
Username: Jo_drummond

Post Number: 37
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, December 13, 2002 - 07:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We're supposed to specify the quality of work, not workers. I have recently seen landscape specs. that say that the workers must speak English, wear shirts, and not get their muddy shoes on the new sidewalk.

The correct way, I think, is to say that "the contractor shall employ a firm having . . ."
I'll admit to being far from perfect. My concrete section says that work shall be supervised by a competent foreman, or at least it did, until today!
Phil Kabza
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 09:50 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Elizabeth's point is an important one. A commercial master guide specification has to accomodate a wide range of project types and sizes throughout the country, from strip malls to new Federal courthouses. The term "Installer" prevents the inappropriate dictating of what work is to be performed by the contractor's own forces and what work is to be subcontracted.

I think it is quite appropriate for the design professional to require a level of experience as an Installer qualification, then define whether "Installer" means firm, mechanic, or either. It's one of the few controls left to us to reduce the yahoo coefficient on projects. Provided the owner and the CA rep enforce the specifications.
Ron Beard CCS
New member
Username: Rm_beard_ccs

Post Number: 6
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 11:31 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

When specifying very specialize work, be sure to very carefully document the “installer” qualifications necessary - even to the point of foreman and craftsman skills and training. For example, ornamental plaster and concrete repairs, goldleafing, controlled blasting, and stonework are recent sections where I placed extra qualification requirements.

Demonstratable skill is high on my totem. Experience is lower on the totem as far as I’m concerned. I’m getting less patience over the years trying to enforce a minimum standard of workmanship when dealing with tradesmen who claim they have 20 years experience.

Like Vince Lombardi used to say: “Practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.”

Tracy Van Niel
New member
Username: Tracy_van_niel

Post Number: 18
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Thursday, December 19, 2002 - 07:54 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree with Ron. Just because someone has 20 years of experience doesn't mean that they know how to do the job correctly.

And to set the record straight, we don't use a master specification "off the shelf". When I commented on MasterSpec, it was because I had looked to see how they addressed "installer".

This reminds me a little bit of one of our CA folks who always has a complaint on how things are addressed in the specs, even when the "problem" is really a drawing issue. I told him that if he was going to complain all the time, that for every complaint he also had to give me an example of when the specs had supported him or saved his bacon.
Curt Norton, CSI, CCS
New member
Username: Curtn

Post Number: 8
Registered: 06-2002
Posted on Thursday, December 19, 2002 - 12:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Here is the language we use for more specialized work:
Installer Qualifications: Engage an Installer who has successfully completed within the last 3 years at least 3 joint sealant applications similar in type and size to that of this Project and who will assign mechanics from these earlier applications to this Project, of which one will serve as lead mechanic.
Jo Drummond
New member
Username: Jo_drummond

Post Number: 39
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 07:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Curt, I don't think we want to specify workers, or tell the contractor who or what to use to do the work. This is means and methods, contrary to what A 201 et.al., say is the intent of the documents. Contractor is responsible for means and methods, this includes workers. If you tell him to use this or that mechanic and he does it, and the installation fails, it is your problem, not his.

Phil Kabza
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2002 - 04:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Good points, all. Curt's quote from Mr. Lombardi reminded me of W. Edwards Deming's take on on-the-job training: to the effect that it continued the mistakes of the past.

Hmmm ... what if we were as restrictive in our in-house project team assignments as we would like to be in Installer requirements??

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