Clear all

Is this ethical? Yes or no.

20 Posts
17 Users
Posts: 1482
Member Member
Posted by: @paden-cash

Until then inexperienced "90 day wonders" will continue to attempt to wrangle large and complex projects...sadly with the usually predictable results.

It's a survey problem, but in my experience it's also a contracting agency problem.

If an organization is putting out qualifications-based RFPs, they also need to be informed enough to evaluate those qualifications - and they actually need to put the work in to do so.

Granted, many applicants put a great deal of marketing fluff in their SOQ and proposals, and might simply plagiarize from previous proposals or other firms, but that's also why interviews are a critical piece for anything more than a minor-to-moderate sized project.

Just like hiring individuals, it's best to compare how they (or an organization) look on paper with how they respond to pertinent verbal questions in real-time.

Even though I have a pretty solid resume, I much prefer to be interviewed if I am competing for a position or for a contract. It's far easier to sandbag on paper than in person, and a good interviewer will catch that right away.

Posted : September 23, 2022 8:28 am
Duane Frymire
Posts: 1852
Member Member

It's required under State MWBE programs.  The idea was to help those who didn't have the expertise get it.  Originally, after 10 years the certification would end (presumably the organization/individual would then have the expertise to compete on a level playing field).  But there's now companies that have been certified for 20-30 years.  Much of the program is geared to highway or other infrastructure work.  In NY something like 90% of required MWBE participation on an infrastructure project is accomplished via the surveying portion of the project (very little in engineering, architecture, etc.).  Is that ethical?  Is it ethical to compete while unqualified only if certified MWBE? 

Not a political post, and I have no real desire to perform that type of work. Just wondering if a government program alone can turn the unethical into the ethical. Why couldn't any unqualified firm/individual compete for the work, then get/hire the required expertise if they win the project?  I wouldn't hesitate to take on a project where I know I'll be farming out some part of it and have an agreement with someone with that expertise to take on that part.

Posted : September 25, 2022 3:27 am
Posts: 315
Member Supporter

should not matter if the project is a route survey for a roadway or a boundary survey or construction staking.  The principles are similar.  The real question would be if the firm taking on the project has the resources to deliver the professional services required.  This includes financial, equipment, expertise, software, personnel.  Nothing wrong with thinking/planning how to do a project without the above and believing in yourself, commitments from subs and lenders, winning that contract and then delivering.

Posted : September 25, 2022 5:11 am

RTPK was the icing on the cake

Posts: 315
Member Supporter

@duane-frymire  oooh this is a favorite pet peeve of mine.  Unlicensed WMBE obtaining a professional services contract/subcontract and then hiring the licensed professionals to perform the job.  Ethical?  Legal-yes.  We have been called in after the fact to bail some of these projects out.  Then when the contracting agency wanted to hire us, they could not as we were not WMBE.

Many of the WMBE programs rotate out those who can now compete or have a net worth >1mil.  Except that the state agencies do not audit and those who own/operate these firms have found ways around.  

Posted : September 25, 2022 5:26 am
Posts: 2127
Member Member

Of course it is unethical to take on a job that you are not competent to perform, but I think  "competent to perform" means different things to different people. Not knowing the software is not "not competent" Haven't we all learned software by using it on the job? We are proffesionals not technicians.

Maybe some under billing would be appropriate in some situations to compensate for learning time.

At what point does someone become not competent? We aren't designing spaceships. We should all have the ability to learn what we need and get the help we need to complete most jobs.

Of course there are exceptions, and misrepresenting your experience is clearly unethical.

The best examples of non competent surveyors that I have seen are those thar have spent there carriers in construction trying to jump into boundary surveying with the idea that it is simple and and just another application of the skills they already have. 


Posted : September 26, 2022 1:28 pm
Page 2 / 2