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[SEAOC] Checking & Quality Control

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Bill Sherman introduced an important topic. Quality Control is a big issue
among structural engineers, especially those designing for buildings, in
British Columbia (Canada). It seems the amount of checking varies
considerably from firm to firm, and intense fee competition has been blamed
for skimpy checking in firms designing structures for retail commercial,
light industrial, and multi-unit residential buildings.

One of the consequences of a roof collapse (which occurred at a big
supermarket on opening day) was a commission of enquiry recommendation for
better quality control. Most municipalities here do no checking of
structural designs, and rely completely on the engineer's stamp as assurance
of good design.

Our Association of Professional Engineers, which licenses us, recently
passed a bylaw which says "Members ... shall establish quality management
processes... which shall include, as a minimum;

1. Retention of...files for...10 years;

2. In-house checks of their designs as a standard procedure;

3. Concept reviews of their structural designs by members or licensees not
originally involved in the designs;

4. Field reviews, by members or licensees, of their projects during
construction."

A standard for "Concept Review" has been published as an Association
Guideline, and includes things like:

-Review design criteria and loads
-Verify that material properties are adequately defined
-Review concept and integrety of gravity and lateral load resisting systems
-Review continuity of load paths
-Review plans for sufficient details
-Perform calculations on a representative sample of elements

I'd be quite interested to hear of any other published standards, for
structural designers' quality control, which have been accepted as
reasonable to protect public safety.
                                                Jim Warne

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