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- To: addseaoc(--nospam--at)euken.com
- Subject: Fwd: Re: Code official's jurisdiction
- From: rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org (Richard Lewis)
- Date: 30 Jul 1997 14:23:24 GMT
On 97-02-18 16:42:36 EST, you wrote: >>The content of this article was in regard to the procedure by which code-enforcement personnel could reject a rational analysis. In other words, what does a code-enforcement officer have to do (i.e. provide a signed and sealed justification?) to reject the signed and sealed calculations/ documents of a professional engineer?<< All the model codes have requirements for rational design. UBC Sec. 1603.3.1 states: "Any system or method of construction to be used shall be based on a rational analysis in accordance with well-established principles of mechanics." It goes on to some more specific issues, such as distribution of horizontal shear, horizontal torsional moments, stability against overturning, and anchorage. Whether they have engineering backgrounds or not, most building officials can understand and accept the rational analysis approach as an alternative to prescriptive requirements in meeting the code. Unfortunately, "the devil is in the details" applies when evaluating the adequacy of a design based on this alternative. The issues are not the principles of mechanics, but the broad-brush nature of the code requirements that allow designers with varying degrees of knowledge, experience and integrity to produce designs with varying degrees of safety, serviceability and performance. Let's acknowledge a reality: some "professional" engineers who do building structural design are only marginally competent, or worse. This is especially so in those states that offer only the generic "professional engineer" title, and someone with a highway design background legally can sign and seal plans for buildings. And being human, some engineers will do the developer's bidding and produce inadequate designs and/or rubberstamp the plans rather than lose the job. In any given region, there usually are a few such ethically-challenged individuals or firms that wind up with a disproportionate share of the design work. Some builders just want minimal plans and calcs to pull permits and don't care about design quality or details because they are going to build it the way they want to anyway. These spec and cheap-o builders quickly learn the identities of the cooperative offices. Building officials rightfully should be cautious about accepting rational analysis on faith. It is often the case that the motivation for using the rational analysis approach is the "skinny down" the design, more often than not resulting in a building with lower reserve capacity. In some cases, an engineer can get a questionable design approved by asserting his "professional" status and intimidating the building official, especially one who is not licensed. The frustrated tenor of your posting suggests you may have tried this approach and failed. But building officials clearly have the administrative authority to reject designs without providing extensive or sealed justifications. UBC Sec. 104.2.1 states: "The building official shall have the power to render interpretations of this code and to adopt and enforce rules and supplemental regulations in order to clarify the application of its provisions." And to be fair, it must be acknowledged that some building officials and plan checkers are not technically competent to pass judgment in some situations. UBC Sec. 105.1 provides for a board of appeals to hear appeals of decisions and determinations made by the building official. Hopefully, the local board members in your area are "...qualified by experience and training ..." to make technically sound decisions. Filing an appeal is an administrative step that you must take before considering legal action. However, you would do well to get a third opinion on the merits of your design from an impartial party before filing an appeal. While the authority cited above refer to the UBC, the SBC has comparable sections and requirements. It's unlikely the Dade County Code has deleted them, if that is the location of your project. Franklin Lew, SE --- Internet Message Header Follows --- Received: from server1.seaoc.org (bqe.com [184.108.40.206]) by host1.texramp.net (8.8.5/8.8.5) with SMTP id QAA16546 for <rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org>; Wed, 19 Feb 1997 16:13:20 -0600 (CST) Received: from emout14.mx.aol.com by server1.seaoc.org (NTList 3.02.10) id sa004100; Wed, 19 Feb 1997 14:03:25 -0800 Received: (from root@localhost) by emout14.mail.aol.com (8.7.6/8.7.3/AOL-2.0.0) id RAA05066; Wed, 19 Feb 1997 17:01:12 -0500 (EST) Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 17:01:12 -0500 (EST) From: IteUrsi(--nospam--at)aol.com Message-ID: <970219170107_-938640886(--nospam--at)emout14.mail.aol.com> To: sfagundo(--nospam--at)coeds.eng.miami.edu cc: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org Subject: Re: Code official's jurisdiction Reply-To: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org Error-To: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-Loop: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-Info: [SEAOC] Owner: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-POP3-Rcpt: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-Sender: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org Precedence: list X-ListMember: rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org [seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org] __________________________________________________ Richard Lewis, P.E. Missionary TECH Team rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org The service mission like-minded Christian organizations may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.
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