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  • Pete McGrath

"We Don't Do Plan and Spec Work. We Fix It."

The other day, a seasoned consultant from the pharmaceutical industry called MSC and asked if we do plan and spec work. I answered, "No, we don't do plan and spec work; we fix it." He laughed and said he was happy to hear that.


MSC is frequently invited to join the chaotic plan and spec HVAC project work, but we stand on the sidelines waiting for the SOS calls to come in when issues arise, which is often the case. Then, we come in and resolve the problems so the job can be completed. It is a reliable routine that has been our bread and butter for a very long time.


Typical Plan-and-Spec Schedule


  1. Plans go out for bid.

  2. Savvy mechanical estimators look for ways to exploit the plans and specifications.

  3. Contractors bid the project “at cost” in order to be the lowest bidder.

  4. After winning the bid, the contractor “shops” the equipment to find cheaper substitutes to create profit, hoping the swap-outs won’t be closely scrutinized.

  5. The job is completed with different equipment, without the options and features the design engineer intended.

  6. The system doesn't work as designed.

  7. Fingers are pointed, and tempers flare.

  8. The search for the guilty party begins.

  9. All, including the innocent, are punished.

  10. MSC is called in to solve the problem.



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