Few things can be more frustrating than to bid successfully on a set of plans, and then find an altered set supplied with the contract. Or that more than one set of plans has been distributed to the general contractor, the inspector, and various subcontractors.

Protect yourself by stating on your proposal that your estimate is in accordance with Plan No. XYZ dated XYZ. Plans can be changed without your knowing about it. Put your identifying mark or code on the set of plans you used in your estimate. Highlight the plans as you prepare your estimate. Restrict your price quotation to the original set, and increase your price if the plans are changed without your knowledge.

Do not certify that the plans will meet local code, but that the installation will. Where you possess the expertise, design build-type work typically offers a higher profit margin than plan and specification-type work. With this type of work, your firm is responsible for the completeness, and code compliance of the plans. Unless you have the required engineering design-level expertise, design build-type work should be avoided.

NOTE: For other closely related topics, be sure to review the section on Estimating (#65 & 66) in this series of articles on Job Management.

Mike Holt’s Comment: This newsletter was extracted from my Business Management and Management Skills’ Workbook. Watch for our next newsletter, and as always, we encourage your comments and feedback. Send us your real-life experiences. Please respond to

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