Practice Exam #3, Case Study Question Clarification

Hello,

Could I get some clarification on the following case study question from Practice Exam #3? The attached RFP as written leads me to believe the question has an error.

The architect is preparing a fee schedule.

Which of the following items can the architect include in the fee? Check the three that apply.

Printing bid documents (Incorrect. Per section VIII of the RFP, fees shall include all reimbursable costs other than plan/document printing costs at the bidding phase of the project.)

Required project meetings (Correct. Per section VIII of the RFP, fees shall include all meetings needed to successfully complete the project.)

Costs of the request for proposal (Incorrect. Per section IX of the RFP, responding architects will bear the cost of the RFP.)

Plan submittal fees (Correct. Per section VIII of the RFP, fees shall include required plan submittal fees.)

Reimbursable costs (Correct. Per section VIII of the RFP, fees shall include reimbursable expenses.)

Costs pertaining to interviews (Incorrect. Per section IX of the RFP, responding architects will bear the cost of the interviews.)

I spent a great deal of time on this question as I could not understand how there were three correct answer choices, per the RFP I only saw two correct answers. The RFP addresses the included fees in three separate locations. Once in Section IX, which clearly states that both “Costs for the request for proposal” and “Costs pertaining to interviews” fall on the respondent, making them incorrect. It is also addressed in Section VIII, “Fees shall include ALL meetings needed to successfully complete this project and ALL reimbursable costs other than plan/document printing costs (incurred for this bidding phase of the project) and required plan submittal fees.” While this sentence clearly selects “Required project meetings” and “Reimbursable costs” as answers, the lack of an Oxford comma in this sentence had me confused as to whether or not plan submittal fees were or were not to be included in the fee proposal. These are the only two sections addressed in the answer descriptions. However, the Fee Proposal Form at the end of the document makes it clear that plan submittal fees will also be a reimbursable expense outside of the Fee Proposal, in the same way as the printing of bid documents: “The Fee shall be expressed as a flat dollar of total construction costs for the Project (the only allowable reimbursable will be plan submittal fees and plan printing costs in the Bidding & Contract Award phase – all other costs are within the Fee of: _____.” The lack of a closing parentheses is not my own typo, it is missing in the RFP, so it is unclear purely by punctuation if both are acceptable reimbursables. But, in contrast to the sentence in Section VIII, printing costs is now the item in question. The only logical conclusion I could draw is that these items were on equal footing. The closing parentheses was supposed to be after the word “phase,” not the word “fees,” and no Oxford comma was necessary in Section VIII because both were “other than” items. Neither of these were then correct answer choices.

Apart from the typo of the missing parentheses, is the question correct as written and I am missing something? Or, are there only two correct answers?

Thanks!

1 Like

@coachchrishopstock can you please dig into this question and see if we can help explain?

Thanks!
-Darion

Hi @sillscai thanks for the question!
While I’m personally a huge proponent of the oxford comma, they’re grammatically optional in American English and I can’t guarantee that the ARE will or won’t generally use them on the exam. We fashion our practice exams on our available knowledge of the ARE, not necessarily what we think would be best practice to create an exam of our own.

That said - the operative thing to note for this question is in section VII, as you point out:

Provide a fee proposal using the attached fee proposal spreadsheet. Fees shall include ALL meetings needed to successfully complete this project and ALL reimbursable costs other than plan/document printing costs (incurred for this bidding phase of the project) and required plan submittal fees.

The second sentence here starts out ‘fees shall include ALL…’ and then lists three items, which correspond to the correct answer choices to this question.
Finally - the question is asking ‘which of the following can the architect include in the fee’ - The answer to this question can include reimbursable expenses (such as the printing costs) - those are part of the architect’s fee (even if they’re not included in the lump-sum fee).

In general, if you find yourself spending a great deal of time on a question like this, I’d go with my first instinct and move on. Each ARE question is worth the same amount of points!

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I understand that an Oxford comma is grammatically optional, that is not the error I am finding in the question as written. I simply used it to indicate that I searched for clarification elsewhere because I found the sentence less than perfectly clear, providing either the rest of the correct answers, or there was another to find in the RFP.

In your reply, you again reference only the sentence from Section VIII, not the sentence in the Fee Proposal Form as I explained. Per the Fee Proposal Form:

“The Fee shall be expressed as a flat dollar of total construction costs for the Project (the only allowable reimbursable will be plan submittal fees and plan printing costs in the Bidding & Contract Award phase – all other costs are within the Fee of: _____.”

This sentence does not correspond to the correct answer choices in this question. This sentence lists Plan Submittal Fees as a permitted reimbursable expense, and as such not included in the Fee. Therefore, I only understand there to be two correct answer choices, as I explained in my original question.

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