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Architects or anybody that has insight on the specs for biding

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What is the point of sending out a spec for signage on a project when none of the specs you have sent out are going to be used in the actual signage for the building?

I have sent three bids out for a project in our area from a local architect, the one we provided a conceptual layout for the purpose of what the signs will look like on the building with the colors used in the signage as usual, we were awarded the project, we built the signage with the colors spec'd only to go to install the signage and find that they used a completely different color of cultured stone on the building, this stone was a dark grey and black.... the channel letters were black cans with black perf faces to light white at night.... You can not see these signs during the day now because they blend in with the wall!!! Now they are on the hook for placing a white backer around the channel letters for them to pop off of the building.

The other two, I bid just as stated in the spec. to the "T", I get a phone call that says I'm a quarter of the price of all the others that have bid it and wondering if I bid it correctly? I stated that I bid it just as the spec stated and they replied with "the spec was wrong and we need to bid reverse illuminated letters and push through acrylic faces on the monument" WELL PUT IT IN YOUR SPEC SHEET THEN!!!!!!!


Rant over, Thank you for taking the time to read..... Carry on!

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  • !llumenati

My Input.  I did estimates for one of the largest nationals, and then a company that wanted to  be one of the nationals.  With 40 years in the biz, I wondered the same.  Architects and designers send out bids based on dreams.  If they dont meat reality, they  expect you to fill in the reality.  Your expense.  At the last company, I was the scapegoat for not being awarded projects that could not be built per drawings.  I bid would could be built.  The companies that got the projects did not build the spec.  And problems arose from there.  It's realy shit to spend the bid time, lose the bid, and find the signs aren't even close to drawings.  I was asked to bid a 4 stroke neon, 6 inch letter out of 8 mil.  When I sat with the designer, my response was not whether it could be done, but why would you insist when it will fail. 




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Over the 35 years I've been in the industry, I have read more ridiculous specs than I could count. It seems that often unpaid interns are cutting and pasting snippets together, and have no idea how signs are constructed. I have actually seen a spec for "acrylic metal sign plaques." We tend to look at the strings of words, pick the one that we can use, and go from there. Another annoying tendency is to provide drawings for signs that conflict with the written specs (and with the codes as well). Sometimes, the notes on the plans conflict with the drawings, which in turn conflict with the specs. Then you have the cases of requirements for plaque sizes that won't accommodate the text. You can't fit the word "Administration" on a 6 inch wide sign if you use legal sized text. We have even resorted to sending drawings showing characters from long words going beyond the margins of the sign, and asked if they wanted those characters suspended with fishing line. This sarcasm became necessary when we were literally ordered to provide signs that met these specifications. 

Edited by Sharon Toji
Caught some typos and corrected them.
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  • Board Patron

LOL   I have one for ya.   I was given a job to take down a sign and cut the 10 inch pole off at ground level and weld a base plate on it for a new sign   I ask them to send me the specs for the base plate so I could have it done by the time the new sign arrived.   They sent me the plate specs and drawing.    When we went to install the new sign the sign plate was not even close to what we welded on.   When I called the PM she stated the specs she sent me "were just for reference"   HUH?    Needles to say they had to pony up some money to fix the mess.


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Brian Phillips | expresssignandneon@sbcglobal.net | P. 812-882-3278

Express Sign & Neon | 119 S. 15th Street - Vincennes - IN 47591


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LOL, I hear ya I run into similar problems often, recently bid a 2' tall x 14' wide by 14' deep cabinet, the entire bottom  front and both sides were spec'd to be 1/2" 3 form, Customer Shit when they saw the price, I revised it to 1/4" P95 with diffuser vinyl on back, price dropped almost 30k

Architechts see fancy stuff at shows and specify it, without knowing the cost or if it will work sometimes

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