Message from the President: Addenda is not our saviour

by Paul Gerber

There is a growing trend in the AEC industry that is not fully understood nor given much thought, but its potential negative impact on our reputation warrants mention. I am referring to the use of addenda to fix missed co-ordination items or small disconnects in bid documents.

When I first started in this business, it was almost embarrassing to issue three small addenda during the bid call phase of a project. In the last few years, I have seen projects with 12 addenda. This would be OK if they were correcting insignificant errors, but some addenda have led to the re-issuing of half the bid documents, complete with dozens of drawings and hundreds of pages of specifications. No big deal, right? Wrong.

First of all, issuing addenda to bid documents damages the consultant’s reputation.

Secondly, it affects bid prices. When a contractor sees incomplete drawings, they will immediately start looking for items that may be affected as a result.

Next comes the scramble to co-ordinate the old documents with the revised one. (This has to be done close to the end of the bid call period because it has taken the consultant that long to finish the job they should have done before the documents were even put out for bid.)

The end result is that more time and effort is expended than needed and there is a cost to all of this extra effort which invariably gets passed on to the owner.

Finally, it costs the consultant, both in terms of the fee they have left for the contract administration phase, but also in lost time and efficiency. This last minute approach to document preparation is a recipe for disaster. When people are taken off other projects and thrown into another that they are unfamiliar with, chaos ensues.

This begs the question, why? There are a range of reasons including unrealistic schedules, understaffing, or even newer staff members taking on more than they should without adequate supervision.

People need to learn to either not promise deadlines they cannot meet, or simply tell the owner they need more time.

It is time this insanity stops.

I am CSC!

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One comment on “Message from the President: Addenda is not our saviour”

  1. Well said… except for this part: “issuing addenda to bid documents damages the consultant’s reputation”. Of course it damages the consultant’s reputation, and it should – it’s their inadequate documents that created the mess in the first place! Know what else needs to stop? Generic specs that include every item ever included in a project. This forces trades to go looking for items with a fine tooth comb only to find it didn’t pertain to that project, raising estimating costs, and oftentimes missing out on being awarded bids. In this day and age, with the technology we have at our fingertips, it should be very simple to cut and paste the pertinent information into a clear and precise spec so that everyone is on the same page.

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