CE TOPICS that I cannot find - where?



  • Avatar
    Caitlin Torrance

    I'll take a crack at answering your questions because I'm studying CE too. The ultimate answer, that I don't think you're going to like, is that it IS subjective a lot of the time. That's why we go through this process, to learn to navigate CA and make these decisions on a case-by-case basis. Most of these are inferred from reading the contracts, not from any third-party study source.

    1. A post-occupancy evaluation can be whatever is agreed upon between the owner and architect. It may be a simple walk-through and meeting that lasts an hour. It may be an all-day marathon of going through each and every system in the building. My understanding is that it's the owner, and any people they deem necessary, that give a review to discuss with the architect. This could be a survey by workers in the building, a list of problems from facilities, or any method of internal review.

    2. This one is highly subjective, so don't try to over-think it. Sometimes reversing a door swing is required by code; don't need owner's approval. Sometimes it's to correct an error on the plans; don't need owner's approval. Sometimes it affects flow in the hallway; may want owner's approval in this instance, even though it's still a minor change in the work if construction hasn't gotten that far. A legal definition of "minor" could never cover all possible scenarios other than "doesn't affect cost or schedule", so it becomes part of the architect's professional judgement. Why is there a door there to begin with? You're the architect, you make these decisions.

    I believe it's A201 that says architect's decisions on aesthetics are final. So yes, you can technically change the paint color without owner approval. That may not be the best way to keep a good owner relationship, but the exam tests on the contracts, not the real world. If there's an alternate, it's likely already been requested/approved by the owner since that's part of the bidding process. So you would most likely let the GC price both, and then the owner decides.

    3. Again, bonds differ from project to project so there is no hard set rule. A performance bond is part of construction, so would not be submitted in a bid. However, an owner may want PROOF that a contractor is bonded, so a bidder may need to submit paperwork from a surety company. A bid bond is different, and also depends on if an owner wants a bid security, of which a bid bond is a type. That would be a completed bond submitted with a bid.

    4. This one would depend on how your client wants to bid a project. If they want your best judgement, it would be more qualification based. If they want true bidding, you have to go through the bidding process even though these are your uncles. Additionally, you have to inform the owner of your relationship with both bidders, as it could be a conflict of interest. I doubt you could get a true bid by inviting them to dinner.

    5. As far as I know, a GC would never submit an RFP to an architect. The owner sends out RFPs to architects when they want to find someone to design their project.

    6. I expect a third party separate from the project team "approves" the testing company. It's a company that tests things, and if it eventually comes out that they are not a good company, that's not the contractor, architect, or owner's fault. Who "approves" of a subcontractor's quality? Or a surety company? They're in business, and it's in their best interest to perform well if they want to make money.

    7. The contractor, in coordination with the owner, schedules the tests. Contractor is always in charge of schedule (other than architect-lead design/build), and should keep the owner in the loop in case it affects any other work on the site.

    8. "Consent from surety" is the surety company saying you can do it. It's like getting your health insurance company to sign off on a medical procedure before it happens; you can still get the procedure, but if insurance doesn't say it's ok beforehand then you're on the hook for everything financially.

    9. I think an architect would likely reject that; if the contractor finds a discrepancy in the instruments of service, he should notify the architect via RFI and let the architect clarify it. That didn't happen, so the GC knowingly didn't build it according to the specs. The standard of care doesn't require perfection in the contract drawings, and a simple question from the contractor could have fixed that long before anything was built.

    And to your second post: responsibility of bidders differs from project to project depending on what the owner wants. A small residential kitchen renovation will be handled very differently from a new public high school, so one ruleset can't apply to both. Ultimately, the bidders need to provide a responsive bid and fullfil any other owner-requested items (bid security, qualifications, etc).

    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Paul Carson

    Construction Documents. PLEASE HELP, if you can!!!

    Where in the AHPP, or any other dozens of books (that I am sure I purchased), does it mention the "responsibilities of the bidders"?

    One typically thinks this should be found in a section (a section that is NOT constant), a section that is unique to each individual project; hence, this is not a generic question; so why is it asked so vague and generic? A section written in the "Instructions to Bidders", yes? Yet, since these instructions are NOT part of the Contract Documents, I find myself searching under rocks for the "true" answer.  I also know, that "Procedures" a bidder MUST follow are found in the "Instructions to Bidders". So where can I find those procedures that sound CONSTANT?

    Here are some guesses for you, because this is what MUST happen, without TRUE AUTHORITARIAN RULE telling the TRUE answers: Start eliminating, then start guessing:

    1. review the instructions
    2. allocate the instructions with the contract documents
    3. submit to the owner for approval
    4. submit a performance bond from surety
    5. visit the site for hazardous material
    6. visit the site to be generally familiar
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Stephanie Brakeville (Edited )


    Here's what I remember, both from studying for and passing CE awhile back and my experience in the profession. I've dealt with several messy construction phases and I think I know the answers to most of your questions. I think in general you're overthinking it. Many of these things are just whatever is agreed upon on a project by project basis. 

    1. Agree with Caitlin above - it's whoever the Owner deems necessary. 

    2. The only definition I've found of "minor change" is that it's a change that doesn't affect time and cost. But, like Caitlin said, while that means you can change the paint color without approval, it doesn't mean you should. To my knowledge, the only time a Construction Change Directive would be needed is when all parties agree a change needs to be made, but schedule extension or cost is still up in the air. Example: The Owner decides they want to add a bunch more landscaping or something to the project while it's already under construction, and landscaping is already occurring or close to occurring. The Architect/their Landscape Architect subconsultant prepare information about the changes the Owner wants. The Contractor submits a Change Order Request for $25,000, but the Owner only wanted to pay $15,000 and gets upset. The Owner insists the scope be added, but they just can't agree on a price. In order to not delay construction, they sign a CCD that documents the changes to be made, but they hash out the price later. A Change Order is made when all parties agree on the changes, the timeline, and the cost. In my experience, CCDs have been extremely rare. 

    3. A Performance Bond may or may not be required by an Owner. You determine that when you're preparing the bidding documents/contract documents. It gives an Owner peace of mind - the bonding company backs up the Contractor. In case the Contractor goes bankrupt, the Performance Bond ensures the work will be performed. Caitlin is right that this is not submitted with the bid - you get that afterwards when you're gathering the paperwork prior to construction. Caitlin is also correct that a bid bond is different - that protects the Owner from a Contractor bowing out after being the apparent low bidder. They may want to withdraw their bid because there was a clerical error or they changed their mind. The Owner can withhold the bid bond to help pay the difference between low and second-low bidder when that happens. 

    4. Sometimes competitive bidding is required by law - publicly funded projects often must be competitively bid. If it's a privately funded project, it's just whatever the client wants. 

    5. You've got that one backwards - sometimes in the construction phase, an Architect will submit an RFP to the Contractor. With the example I used in #2, say the Owner didn't know for sure if they wanted to add that landscaping scope. The Architect and Owner could submit it as an RFP to get a price from the Contractor before executing a Change Order. 

    6. Usually a testing company will have some sort of certifications or qualifications that allow them to do the testing. Usually the Owner approves them because they're the one paying. 

    7. Depends on how the contract is written - who coordinates is often covered in there. I believe the standard would be Owner must coordinate because they are the one holding the contract with the testing agency. However, most specs include language about how the Contractor has to notify the Owner when testing will be needed with sufficient time for them to coordinate it. 

    8. There's actually an AIA form for Consent of Surety - it's just their say-so/signature. 

    9. I agree with Caitlin on this one. 

    Second post: I also agree with Caitlin. There's no one-size-fits-all here. Yes, the responsibilities of the bidders can be found in the Instructions to Bidders. But what is in there will vary. Just be familiar with what is included in the standard AIA Instructions to Bidders document - they're probably not going to throw you a huge curveball on this. 

    Does that help? 

    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Gang Chen

    I have not read all the questions carefully, just skim through them. The question regarding the door swing change using ASI, it is because the change does not involves extra time and money. ASI is used when no extra time or money is involved.

    Gang Chen, Author, Architect, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Paul Carson

    Wow, I am speechless; yet I will comment for growth purposes / LOL!

    I have read both of you lady's very descriptive replies (thank you from within my heart), this is very helpful, as I find that reading these scenarios over and over again ingrains the repetition into the mind, as if "subjectivity" starts to seem more like a real world scenario, or a future one; and my 'lost-puppy-dog" look starts to fade a bit.

    Now, I sure do not ever wish to offend anyone with my honesty; however, I learned very little here, as I do in fact concur with every word you've chosen to write, and already know these details.  That said, humbly, I too can verbalize from memory such descriptions of most any topic I've studying over the past 14-years; as everything above is simply how we will perform once licensed, I get this.  Again, after reading your words over and over, I can only hope that it helps me 'during the exam'.  As "detailed" of a life as I have built for myself, I find it almost impossible to deduce my mind down to unrelated "subjectivity".

    Not to seem argumentative, but I do not have it backwards; the GC sending an RFP to the ARCH is exactly the start of the Q.  WTH, my mind has never heard this before, so I squint my eyes and ready it over and over and my mind spirals out of control with such trickery.

    I thought I was to "protect the health, safety, & welfare of the public"???  Where are these type questions? Yes, come on 'n-c-a-r-b', give me all the words above in each question so that I can "properly deduce an answer" during the exam, so time and backward sprinted are not wasted by guessing. No one should ever say, especially during such a prestige exam; "I guess that's right", especially no one should say this over 40 times in an exam, unless not educated.

    Are we not supposed to be asking: "who's "you", who's involved, what, why, how, when, where...you are correct, I OVERTHINK THINGS, and I enjoy this virtue within myself; it's called be productive and valuable.  And, would n-c-a-r-b want me to perform on the opposite 'ignant' side of thinking once licensed, NO!!!

    I truly do enjoy learning from my mistakes; yet what mistakes did I make during the exam, I DESERVE to know these answers in order to move forward, and not stay stagnant.  "...cash in no longer money, money is 'currency'; and just like electricity or water, it MUST stay in motion to be effective, healthy, and remain fluid."  Months prior, I told myself that I would not be one these characters who posted words to which I am sharing here today; take my lashes, and move forward. However, I am so stagnant about CE, and am simply moving backward over to PjM, and can only pray to the universe that I can learn how to be test-taking muppet once I return back to CE.  Yes, I am going to reschedule CE as soon as possible, but am not going to study for it. So thanks n-c-a-r-b for putting another cap on me, as I can only take/fail CE 3-times in a year (someone tell me a worthy reason why this is a good business decision).

    Thank you both, Caitlin, Stephanie Brakeville, as it might appear that I ranted here; moreover, it is healthy being able to share facts about such a brutal experience of holding people back.  If you should ever encounter such wavy slates of shaky grounds below your exam feet, I am always up for a challenge.  May I please ask that either, or both, reach out via email one day soon; as I do not have anyone in my sphere of influence for which to bounce these topics from?  I am honored, humble, and grateful for your time.  Thank you and Best (paul e . vox studio @ gmail)

    Comment actions Permalink

Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk