Status: Needs Review

of any magnitude. The expense to the owner is small corpared with the advantage of securing good and careful work. I have incidentally referred to the pernicious and almost universal system of letting contracts to the lowest bidder. We have all experience the evil results of this system. It is a thankless job for the architect to superintend the construction of work, when let to the lowest bidder, for less than its worth, for less than his own calculations show, should be the proper and legitimate cost. Instead of there being a feeling of confidence and trust on his part for the contractor, the contrary is the case. There is an abiding feeling of mistrust and apprehension, he is always on the qui vive and must be watchful to see that even reasonable regard is given to his plans, specifications and instructions. A plan has been suggested by which this may be remdied, and in many cases, especially in the absence of a clerk of the work, might be adopted with advantage. It is this: when the right is reserved by an owner or committee to reject any or all bids, and to award to any one, regardless of the amounts tendered, to give the work to the one who submits a mean proposal. That is to say, when there are six, eight or more proposals, take the sum of all and divide by the the number of proposals and award the contract to the bid which approximates the nearest to this amount. For these reasons: In the majority of cases where there are many proposals for the same work, we find some bids exceeding low, other ridiculously high, while others, the medium bids, more uniform. The low bidders frequently represent those who expect to make by sniding, slighting the work, using improper materials, taking a little here and a little there, and are satisfied to make journeyman's wages; the high bidders are those who, either from incompetency, idleness, or want of care, err in taking the quantities from the architect's plans, and in making their prices. As a rule the middle bidders are experienced, legitimate contractors, who expect a legitimate return for their time, labor and experience, and are careful in making their figures and can be relied upon to do careful work. Whether this plan would work, and whether it would prove satisfactory to owners and contractors, is a question I am not prepared to answer. Without committing myself as to its feasibility, I simply present it for your consideration. The increased demands of our clients in the application of scientific improvements connected with modern conveniences in house building steadily increase the duties and responsibilities of the architect; he is supposed to keep himself abreast of the times in reference to new inventions and improvements in all the mechanical branches connected with his profession. Time and labor being given to detail studies in matters of this nature constant increase, and with this naturally arises the question of proper compensation for such services. A year ago the Illinois state association of architects passed a resolution recommending a fee of 6 percent as a fair compensation for residence work; some similar resolution was passed at the last convention of our association. This is certainly a good move so far as giving individual members of the profession certain authority to deviate from the old established rate of 5 percent, if from the amount of attention and value of services they feel justified in doing so without injury to their own personal interests or state of their professional brethren. It will be a difficult matter to bind the profession absolutely in all cases to observe the regular rate, as there are time when the most honorable members of the profession are fully justified in deviating from the customary fees, which they could not insist upon with detriment to themselves. However, we all recognize the fact that the architect in the majority of cases is inadequately paid for his work, especially so in that of residences, and we must appeal to the honor of each individual member of the profession, of insisting upon proper recognition of the services rendered, and remember that the respect for our profession depends upon each individual one of us. Let it be understood that every honorable architect will be expected to live up to the reasonable charges established by this and kindred association, as closely as his situation will permit. Any person who, from interested and selfish motives, will endeavor to obtain work that another has partially secured, by offering his services at a reduced rate, or free of charge, as I have known cases, should be excluded from recognition and treated with the contempt he deserves, by all honorable members of the profession. At the same time, gentlemen, let us encourage a spirit of good fellowship among those who endeavor to honorably pursure their occuptation, be always ready to lend a helping to less fortunate brethren, and each and all of us do our best to elevate the standing of the profession. We are non of us perfect, nor is any of our work; let us therefore abstain from severe criticisms of little errors made by our brothers, and above all, not use such errors for advertising capital. Let us not forget to secure the confidence and respect of the public we must have confidence in, and respect for each other, and prove by our actions that the profession is represented by a class of educated, refined and honorable gentlemen. At the same time, there should be no hesitation in excluding from our ranks, and ignoring the pretensions of those who are not fitted education and experience for the practice of the profession, and more especially those whose practice has been of un professional and dishonorable character.

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