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[SEAOC] Structural Observation, Special Inspection issues[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
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- Subject: [SEAOC] Structural Observation, Special Inspection issues
- From: sandy <sandyp(--nospam--at)beachnet.com>
- Date: Sat, 8 Jun 1996 07:31:15 -0700
The comments made by Senior Construction Inspector David Owens seems an unnecessarily harsh indictment of many Professionals for the sins of a few. Structural Observation is what the City of Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety settled for following political infighting with the Inspector Union. For a brief window of time following the Northridge event, in the City of Los Angeles, Special/Deputy Inspectors were required for the nailing of shear walls over 300 psf. Our findings have been well discussed in this forum. The "This is how I've been doing it for 20 years" attitude required that we teach AND enforce code requirements not previously enforced. In defence of the Municipal Inspectors, they have been seriously overloaded and the situation is worsening even today, but the bottom line is that the majority of the failures were caused by inferior, even criminal workmanship that could have been caught by a combination of Inspection and Structural Observation. Structural Observation is a valuable program and although it will not and cannot substitute for Inspection, I believe that given some time for all to become familiar with the requirements, we will all benefit tremendously. When it is mandated, then the competitiveness of the bidding process is not as heavily influenced, leveling out the playing field. This is the spirit of the thrust initiated by Karl Deppe following the analysis of the investigative field reviews conducted by volunteers from SEAOSC and the City of Los Angeles. Special/Deputy Inspectors immediately were required to know about issues that hadn't been part of our requirements and for which there wasn't any certification, but some our Engineer clients took the time to review the requirements with us, teaching us what to look for with this type of inspection. Some became a bit more elaborate on their plans regarding shear wall construction even to the extent of making a separate page of the plans for the Special/Deputy Inspection requirements, thereby reducing the number of times the Contractor or persons responsible for the work would say that they "hadn't noticed" the requirements. It's pretty hard to miss when it's a separate page listing the Special Inspection requirements. The requirement for shear wall nailing Inspection was well justified. There were some issues that were rapidly being worked out before the program was canceled for apparent political reasons. The COLA Inspectors Union expressed the fear that work was being taken away from them and I personally was accused of "taking food out of my family's mouth" by at least one Inspector. Unfortunately this attitude, based on inaccurate facts, spread though their ranks and, faced with layoffs, it was a rallying cry for them. Well, they succeeded in eliminating this program. At this time, the nailing of shear walls (actually only a small part of the framing system) is again not being inspected by anybody, just as in pre-Northridge times. Of course, the shear walls are inspected after they are completed, but the issues remain the same. Nailing requires correct spacing, into the correct size and grade of framing material, through the correct size and grade of plywood using the correct size of nails and on and on and on...... Incorrect nailing and re-nailing can easily result in the framing member exceeding its' penetration capacity which would require the replacing of the framing member. So sloppy workmanship in the shear wall nailing can easily mean that the wall has to come down and be reconstructed and that impact just spreads. I've never seen a wall removed because the framing member was just too shattered or over penetrated although the UBC and LABC are clear as to the maximum nailing permitted. Structural Observation requirements do NOT require the Structural Observer to count nails, measure spacing or verify that hold downs and anchors are installed correctly, merely that they exist. The Insurance carriers of the Engineering community will not allow Engineers to perform Inspection, and rightly so, requiring they observe for general conformance to the plans, not a connection by connection inspection. For the most part, all drilled-in anchor installations are now being accurately monitored by the Special/Deputy Inspectors as required by the Research Reports, and the load paths and transfer patterns are being observed for general conformance by the Structural Observer. But no one is verifying the shear wall nailing very closely. The Inspection Program requirements in Chapter 1 of the 1994 UBC are now begining to be enforced and I strogly suggest that the Design Professionals check it out, but that is part of another issue..... Thanks to Karl for his efforts and now I'll get off my soap box. R. Sandy Pringle MM Structural Inspection Consultants "He has achieved success who sandyp(--nospam--at)beachnet.com has lived well and laughed often." Redondo Beach, California ...
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