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Cal DSA Resident Inspectors

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I have been authorized by a structural engineer working for the State of
California's Department of the State Architect to solicit from SEAOC List
Subscribers possible questions for a set of standardized examinations which
might be given to applicants for certification as Resident Inspectors.  The
engineer who told me about this is a friend of mine who is involved in the
development of the prospective examinations.  Although I don't think its a
secret, he has not gotten official approval for telling us all about what
he's doing, and this posting is thus from me, rather than him.  Nothing I
might say should be taken as expressing State policies or opinions.  I will
forward any responses and we will see what comes of them.

As most list subscribers will know, DSA regulates the design and
construction of public primary and secondary schools and of hospitals in
California.  They administer a state building code requirement that the
school district or hospital authority applying for a building permit hire a
full time Resident Inspector to supervise quality control during
construction.  DSA (and many of us) have encountered problems with
inspectors who were not able to properly verify conformance with design and
or code requirements.  These problems have in some cases led to the
acceptance of substandard work and/or require extra work on the part of
design professionals (e.g., in evaluating the severity of a defect that
wouldn't have occurred if the resident had understood the intent of the
drawings).

The possible institution of standardized tests is intended to help the state
to address this issue.  The preliminary concept is to have several levels of
certification and thus several tests.  There might be one test for things an
inspector needs to know even if the project is a simple wood frame addition
to a one-story school building (e.g., the difference between common and box
nails), a second for things he or she ought to know for any significant
construction project (e.g., when and how should prism test samples be
prepared for structural concrete block masonry) and a third for things we
want the guy working on the multi-story steel frame with ground level
assembly occupancy to be aware of (e.g., what is a good welding procedure
specification supposed to include and how is it supposed to be used on the
job site).

My friend is very interested in questions suggested by the structural design
community, which sees on a day to day basis the "other side" of the quality
control issues that DSA has to deal with.  Anyone with a suggested question
may post it to the list (your idea might be of interest to and elicit
comments or additional questions from others) or, if they prefer, send it to
my privately at DNormanSE(--nospam--at)msn.com.  Thanks in advance for your help.

Drew A. Norman, S.E.
Drew A. Norman and Associates