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Re: Limit of Liability + advice needed for a young engineer

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I have read these messages with great interest.  However, I'd like
to seek the opinion of engineers here about a problem which has 
troubled me.

I've been with a local structural consulting firm for
a short while.  That last (& first) project I have handled involves
major alterations and patchwork to an old masonry building 
(40-60 years old). Our building regulatory system here involves structural 
design by a licenced engineer and a subsequent independent check by another 
licenced engineer which is not directly employed by the contractor.
While I am not yet licenced, I have been working in the firm performing
the role of the independent checker.

In this project, the design engineer have conveniently marked out an
area to be demolished within the building (cutting out several beams
and columns) and added in a staircase, lift well, added many new
partition walls and an additional floor supported on the orginal
structure with little justification on whether the old structure could 
take the new load.  Additionally, he used some techniques which I feel is 
unorthodox in his design.

During my disputes him, he insists that there is no way one could provide
justification on whether the old structure could support new load,
and remarked that by his experience it should be "safe".  Being so
extremely green in this trade, having left college not too long back,
I have expressed the view that there should at least be some justification
on the load carrying capacity of the old building & I feel more comfortable
if I could stick mostly to the code.  Unfortunately, the situation soured
so badly that I decided to head for the exit, leaving it unresolved.

Had I compromised & simply done my design calculations the way he
proposed, I fear that I could leave the building unsafe for the dwellers
in years to come.

I'd like to find out how you could have handled such a case.

Additionally, I believe that what I have seen might not yet be the
worst case encountered by many engineers here.  Thus in these cases,
how would u seek to protect yourselves from such unscrupulous clients
who very often uses engineers as insurance companies.

In the face of such extreme liabilities, why would u still want to
continue in this profession?

Thanks and warmest regards.

andrew goh