The One Fee Promise: 10 PermitZip Inclusions (That Most Engineers Exclude)

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

We like to keep things simple for our clients. All you need to run an Instant Quote on our website is square footage, project type, and project location. In less than 30 seconds, you have a proposal in your email instantly. Our One Fee Promise means this fee will remain the same from the time you receive our price until you have your certificate of occupancy.

Many engineering firms have a list of services excluded that may be longer than the list of services included. Below is a list of "gotcha" exclusions and are all things PermitZIP includes in every project.

1. Construction Administration (CA)

After your design is complete and your construction starts, you're going to want to know your engineer is available to answer questions during construction. Were you aware that this is excluded from most contracts?

If you call your engineer during construction, you might be surprised to find that they will be sending you a new proposal to sign first. They may also send an invoice for the time if their contract includes CA as billable "add services" (typically between $150 and $200 per hour). This is industry standard, so it's essential to know how that works before committing to your contract.

Director of Engineering Kenny Shultz on site reviewing drawings.

CA is included in every PermitZIP project. We will review your submittals & shop drawings to ensure the equipment being purchased matches our specifications. We'll answer any field questions that may come up requesting clarification from the installer. We also help coordinate unforeseen construction coordination problems that often require sketches and redesigns vital to construction progress. PermitZIP is here to support you during construction, without hesitation or additional charges.

2. Clarification Letters & Sketches

Inspectors and other Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ's) will sometimes ask for letters to clarify the intent of the drawings, or to coordinate code-compliant changes in the field. Without these letters, your construction project can come to a screeching halt just days before you thought you were going to open the doors. Some engineers charge up to $500 per letter. At PermitZIP, you guessed it, these are included in our One Fee Promise.

3. Revisions

Most proposals are limited to a specific list of deliverables that will encompass a single design option. Once that process is over, changes can cost thousands of dollars in professional services. Multiple forces may pressure you into changing your design after the drawings are "completed." Those forces are often beyond your control, and we know that.

Zippers coordinating drawings with revisions.

We will revise your drawings for any reason, including AHJ comments, contractor changes, architect changes, owner changes, inspector needs, or coordination issues in the field. Our priority is moving your project forward so that you can occupy and use it for your organization.

4. Bidding Services

Bidding from contractors can vary widely. If you get bid prices back from contractors and two are $50,000 each, while one is only $20,000, how do you know that the $20,000 bidder isn't missing something? Does the cheapest upfront bid match the scope of work needed in your project? The best you can do is ask your engineering team to review the proposal and ask them if that price makes sense. Well, be prepared to pay for that add-on service, because it's not included in your initial fee. PermitZip, on the other hand, offers this helpful service in our One Fee, because it matters to us that you have the right construction partner.

You may also find questions that come in from your contractors about the drawings. They might need some clarification or to contribute ideas to help reduce costs. Well, who answers those questions? Best to trust your engineers and not try to DYI this work. This service is typically not included in standard scopes of work, and asking for the help will initiate a change order from most firms. PermitZip promises this support in every project without question. When we say One Fee Promise, we mean it.

5. Domestic Water Meter Sizing

Most of the time, it is the responsibility of your civil engineer to design and size your water meter. However, there is significant support they will need from the plumbing engineer to make sure they understand the scope of water demand appropriately. PermitZIP sizes every meter requirement on every project so that we can help our professional colleagues in their pursuit of appropriate water meter sizing. This can be a $30,000 mistake if not considered, so we are happy to contribute to the team effort.

6. Photometrics

Photometrics is a fancy word for lighting calculations. To ensure you meet minimum lighting levels for egress, you need someone to perform lighting calculations. Most lighting reps will do these for you, for free (because they hope you buy their fixtures). Adding the lighting rep into the equation adds time to your already rushed project timeline; time is the most coveted element in the construction process.

We know time matters, and so we take ownership of those lighting requirements and so they are also included in the One Fee Promise and the Two Week Promise.

7. Lighting Selections

Lighting selections are not usually included in most base proposals. If you want them, you have to tell your firm so that they can write them into their fee. But at PermitZIP, we include the basis of design fixture selections to help ensure your bidding comes in on the same baseline.

We'll also help architects make the appropriate engineering selections. In that scenario, the architect selects the fixture they want, and we help specify the technical backend requirements (to make them work).

Whichever form this takes for your project, lighting selections are included in our One Fee Promise.

8. Value Engineering (VE)

A lot of engineers don't like this phrase; it's like a 16 letter word to them. Most of that has to do with the regulation of the term "engineering." Value engineering is just another way of asking, "Can this be designed so that it's cheaper to install?"

Well, it usually means scrapping the entire design and starting over. If it took 40 hours to produce the drawings you are reading now, it's going to take another 40 hours to make the new "value-engineered" version of it. So it's reasonable for most firms to exclude this service from their proposal.

What does that mean for you? That means if you already spent $6,000 for the first design, you'll be spending another $6,000 on the redesign. That redesign fee will offset the construction savings you were hoping to achieve during the VE process.

But we're not afraid of the 16-letter-word. We make every effort to VE at every stage of our design, as requested by the client. And if we miss that mark, we will throw the entire plan out and start from scratch to get it right; without charging you a dime. (Note: Don't forget to read this blog on HVAC to understand how sometimes that isn't an option.)

9. Coordination Meetings

What every project needs, and what most projects exclude is ongoing coordination meetings. This can cost several thousands of dollars in engineering support but is absolutely vital to the success of your project. These services include scope review, pre-construction meetings, owner/architect/contractor meetings (OAC) when needed, progress meetings, and meetings to address coordination issues. All of these are included in the One Fee Promise.

Phil Brock & Kenny Shultz discussing scope.

10. Site Surveys & 3D Scans

At least one site visit/survey standard in most proposals to document existing conditions, but at PermitZIP site surveys are free and don’t even require a contract. Even better, every PZ project also includes a 3D Scan we use to document existing field conditions. (Learn more about the 3D scanning here.) We share the 3D walkthrough and point cloud data with the whole design team, and it’s all included in the One Fee Promise.

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