View Full Version : association
07-06-2003, 12:11 PM
Am involved in private practice in San Diego and would like to associate with several others who have their own business and have little or no experienced assistance. My concern is our liability,which must increase since there is no other person to check calcs or other work results. I know from hard experience that on a const.site you can put in 200 stakes in the right place but that single one in the wrong place or with the wrong cut written on the lathe is what puts the serious hurt on you. Just last week,was involved with a simple alley topo,(actually alley was a canyon)and the 'helper' (there are so few experienced people out there,you cannot use the term rodperson,chainperson or survey tech for many of the people assisting,can you?)called out "end of culvert". I questioned him over the radio and asked him to be sure,since the pipe was not readily visible,being covered with thick vines,all you could do was slam the tip of the pole down and listen for a metal thud.He claimed he was at end of pipe and was giving me the invert for the last shot.Well, as it turns out,after plotting the pipe and comparing it to a city as-built,I returned alone to the site and quickly located the end of pipe with headwall 35 ft. further down the canyon.
How about that roof height storypole in Del Mar that you had to 2-shot from a baseline to triangulate the height? There should be a second person,in my opinion to review the manual calcs that determined the elevation.
I am not particularly interested in hiring an employee,which I have done many times in the past. Rather,as mentioned above,
would it not be better to work with and collaborate with other land surveyors on certain jobs? I look forward to comments.
07-07-2003, 04:22 PM
Dave...send me your email and contact info.
You can reach me at email@example.com or (909) 694-1044.
07-09-2003, 05:13 PM
You can also throw technology at the problem. A reflectorless gun would get your story pole in a single pop, while a robot would allow you to be the one who decides where the end of the culvert is.
I've been watching the development of one-person tools for some years now, with an eye toward making the switch when my sole employee finally decides to get a job to which his degree (wildlife biology) is better suited. He's a great assistant, so I'll hang onto him as long as he's willing to put up with part-time work, but I plan to replace him with a reflectorless-enabled robot, and maybe some RTK gear down the road.
I realize that a one-man crew is generally not as fast as a two-man crew, that it increases the physical workload on the surviving crew member, and that there are safety and security concerns that will necessitate some adjustments to work practices. Nevertheless, I look forward to the day when I no longer have to contort my schedule to fit an employee's, and when 941s and W-2s are no longer part of my life.
07-10-2003, 07:33 AM
We have found that a relectorless survey sometimes picks points not in the vicinty of the subject desired, so a verification with a relector shot is a good cross check, but you can accomplish that with a stick-on reflectorized plastic patch with one person and a ladder.
Good luck with the move to sole surveyor, but I still want to have someone looking out for my back in traffic and to spot that thing that I might miss.
10-25-2003, 01:32 PM
If you have x,y,z values on the two points that you occupy, book the horizontal and verticle angles from these points to the pole, book your height of instrument at these two points, then the calculation of the elevation of the pole, from these two points, is the check on the calculated x and y values of the pole. I have located hundreds of antenna's this way and it works, it really does. Of course most of my vertical angles were from 30 to 40 degress from the horizon. The above method may not work well using vertical angles less than 15 degrees from the horizon, but maybe it will.
Dave Karoly, PLS
10-26-2003, 11:28 AM
There are no qualified personnel because we don't train them. I see a lot of people filled with high-falutin theory from college but they don't understand that the grade has to fall from the c/l to the lip of gutter then down to the f/l and other basic stuff.
Granted the government has so burdened employers and since technology allows us to do at least some projects on a solo basis their is a tremendous incentive for smaller operations to go sans employees.
10-26-2003, 12:21 PM
I agree that there's plenty of incentive for a small operator to forego employees, but -- at least in my case -- it has little to do with any burden imposed by government. W-2s, 941s, DE 6s, Workers Comp and such are a nuisance, but a trivial nuisance.
For me, the problem with employees isn't the administrative load, it's the management load. They have to be trained, provided with workspace, and transported to and from job sites. Their time has to be scheduled. They are subject to the full array of human frailties -- illness, family emergencies, bad moods, boredom, etc. Things like these can effectively be absorbed by a large firm but can overwhelm a small operation.
In summary, there are plenty of problems for which government excesses are responsible, but I don't think the tendency for small operators to go solo is one of them.
Dave Karoly, PLS
10-27-2003, 08:22 PM
I may be veering off the original subject of the thread but I talked with a friend who is a business owner with 22 employees (not in the AE business, he sells storage sheds that he builds). Regarding Worker's Comp he said his rates tripled this year but part of that was due to a higher than usual number of claims last year. Nevertheless, he said with no claims last year his rates would still have doubled. He had an employee leave the company and won't be replacing that person in order to cover the cost of Worker's Comp. His rates for a field person are over $30 per hundred and 20-some for shop personnel. Construction Contractors are paying more than $40 per hundred. My point is Worker's Compensation is a huge problem in this state. It directly affects the economy.
I will stipulate that for an employer with one part-time employee Worker's Comp is probably a minor issue. I think the management issues mentioned can be absorbed to some degree by larger organizations but I question whether it can be done effectively. My employers appreciate me at least in part because I'm reliable; I show up (except for scheduled absences and one or two sick days per year) 100% of the time when they expect me. I also have worked for private firms where finding employees that can be relied upon was a constant problem for a certain percentage of the workforce.
My original point was the lack of trained people is the result of a number of factors, one of which is the penalties for employing people which we could train.
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