Company Policies Regarding Short List Participation

It is not unusual for every architect competing for a major project to ask us to be on their team. This is especially the case for cultural property projects due to our specialty in that field. We can not promise to compete on just one team exclusively. Once an architect has asked us to be on their team will not solicit other architects who are shortlisted, but if we are asked to be on their team too, we reserve the right to agree to do so.

We promise not to favor one firm over the other when we are invited to be on several competing teams. We will offer the same scope of work for the same fee to each firm that invites us to submit a proposal.  Some firms may choose to modify that scope of work thus changing the cost of our services. But we will try to treat every firm whose team we are invited to be on exactly the same way.

We will submit the same company and biographical materials to all firms considering our services. Some may choose to re-draft or enhance what we provide and some presentations may be vastly more professional looking than others. But again, we submit the same data to everyone.

If we are asked to attend and speak at a short list presentation we will make the same presentation for every architect we represent. However if one team asks us to say something different than what we suggest, we will do so and this may cause one presentation to be different from others.

We do not normally attend short list presentations and only if we are given sufficient time to make a presentation that contributes something to the effort. We do not fly in to sit in the back of the room to watch. Generally, the project must have extensive security requirements or our participation in the presentation is really not needed. If you absolutely need us at the short list presentation, we will need at least two weeks notice since we are very busy and schedule project travel a month in advance. Our first obligation is to the needs of our clients. When you hire us, you will be one of our clients and will appreciate this.

If you need our materials on a specific form (AIA 254-255, etc.) or re-drafted into a specific format, we need at least several days notice. We do not have a specific employee whose job it is to perform such tasks. A principal does this and we also travel weekly.

We do not have photos of our work available. Think about that. No security consultant would ever photograph and distribute photos of a control room they designed. Clients understand this.

Everything that you may need, including a sample scope of work for a typical project, can be downloaded from this site. But if you need anything else, please call us early in the process and we will do everything we can to get it to you.

When we offer a proposal it will be for a fixed fee for a defined scope of work. It is your obligation to look at this scope of work and verify that it meets your needs. Remember that at this point in time we have not seen your contract or probably even discussed the project in detail with you. Things that increase the cost of our services are site visits (or visits to your office for meetings) and submittals, including preliminary submittals (we call them dress rehearsals) regardless of what they are called or are for. We will be glad to modify the proposal and increase or decrease the total fee. If you need preliminary, coordination or review submittals before the actual submittal, then these will add to the cost. Ignoring this fact will not trick us into doing six extra submittals for free so plan accordingly.

Before we can proceed with work on a project we will need a signed contract (or letter of intent).  This is a condition of our insurance. Plan accordingly. We also require a project directory and schedule.

There is an insurance crisis in America for security system designers. NO ONE can get better insurance in higher limits that covers their strategic design decisions on alarm systems. Our policy is a true E&O policy not a trade association policy that covers us in litigation against you. It is not just a standard electrical engineer’s policy that covers the competence of our workmanship.  Our limit is $1,000,000 (per occurrence) / $2,000,000 (aggregate). It also covers general liability, host liquor and the other usual stuff. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE will we entertain increasing this amount. We have tried monthly for 25 years and we work for the insurance companies but we still can’t get the coverage increased. It is a total waste of time to ask us to give it one more try. (The founder of a major operating system software firm--yes, he’s the one--told us he can get insurance in any amount but ultimately even he couldn’t get the limits increased). End of discussion. No client has EVER selected someone else due to this limitation because no one else can get it either, so don’t worry about it.

Finally, with regard to our expenses, we do not mark up expenses. They are what they are.  Since you don’t pay us until thirty days after you get paid, we have a strong motive to keep expenses low because we have to cover the expenses for multiple projects until we get paid. We stay in Hampton Inn quality hotels and fly coach on Delta (the only airline serving our airport). We charge for meals and ground transportation. The terms are spelled out in our proposal. We DO NOT offer a proposal where we charge a fee that includes all expenses. This is too risky. When a client knows that we are responsible for absorbing all expenses they have no problem asking us to fly to a meeting with a day’s notice even though this triples the airfare compared to a trap scheduled three days in advance. Similarly, we will not agree to other expense reimbursement terms either such as a per diem or guaranteed maximum expense. If your client is inflexible in this regard, do not put us on your team.

Several years ago Steve Keller served as Executive Director of the International Association of Professional Security Consultants. The single greatest cause of complaints against members involved misunderstandings over what would or would not be provided. To avoid dissatisfied clients we decided to not only tell our prospective clients what we do provide for them but also what is not included. If the above list of policies seems unfriendly or uncooperative, we apologize. Our intent is to help assure that we remain friends at the end of this project and can continue to work together for years to come. You will find that we take great pride in our work and in our long term relationships with clients and that we never ask for additional fees unless you change the scope of work. Our goal is to make your project trouble free with regard to our services and mutually profitable.

Our Policy About Committing To Your Team