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Re: CalTrans Screw Up/ engineering judgement

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After reading this thread, I came to two separate conclusions.
Bill Allen is correct when the consideration is cost and the addtional steel
is speicified without benifit. In a public works contract, the additional
cost could be considerable.
Tom Harris is absolutly correct and represents the way I do business. I
don't care to walk a tightrope at the line of minimum compliance to a code
that is anything but perfect.

Finally, this issue is liability. What a shame! We are damned if we don't
act to save our clients every cent that they deserve and we are damned if we
trade cost for protection that we feel they should have.

In a series of private messages, Charles Greenslaw (and Tom Harris Jr)  has
made if perfectly clear that the E&O insurance is a pot of gold waiting to
be pilfered by those that incite us - the legal profession.
Wouldn't it be great if we could add a clause to our contracts that protect
us from liability for making a conservative professional opinion. The
unfortunate thing is that our clients care little for the work that we do
until they have to pay for damage repair. They only want us to stick to the
letter of the code and to provide the least work that complies with little
concern for hazard mitigation - that is until their cheaply built box
suffers a few cracks, then they run for the first law office that they can
find for an excuse to pick from the pot-of-gold.

How about a thread on what we can add to our contracts to protect our
professional judgement. The close we step to the edge should be a personal
choice. Those with a fear of height should not be punished for standing
farther from the edge than those living on the edge.

Dennis Wish PE

>In a message dated 97-11-25 18:47:13 EST, you write:
><< In your example, if the engineer specified #5s @ 16" when #4s @ 16" are
> adequate, then shame on the engineer especially when the project is being
> paid for with public funds. In this case, the engineer should be held
> accountable. >>
>     I would question the use of the word "adequate". In my opinion, the
>uniform building code ( for example )  may be considered adequate by some
>i consider it as an absolute minimum piece of junk that is permitted to be
>     Take the example of plywood shear wall height to width ratios. If you
>are using 3.5 :1 as allowed by the '94 code , it is adequate. The '97 code
>requires 2:1 which my experience reviewing over 1000 Northridge E.Q.
>houses makes me feel is more appropriate. Therefore when an engineer uses
> experience / Judgement  and decides to use 2:1 ratio now , before the '97
>code is adopted , he may be judged by some to be engineering above
>and should be "held accountable ". Where is engineering judgement?
>      Recently on a hillside ( cliffside ) home i had a contractor say i
>engineered the  house  " 10,000 " times above code... I had followed L.A.
>city hillside guidelines in an area where UBC was " adequate "  ( L.A.
>guidelines not required ).
>     If i am to be held "accountable "  for anything above "adequate " ( in
>addition to below adequate ) i wonder where we are going?
>      Tom Harris, SE
>      Thousand Oaks, CA
>     Tom Harris, SE
>     Thousand Oaks, CA