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Re: Problem with Deputy Inspector

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Drew:

Within the last two years I've had all kinds of problems with inspectors,
late reports and illegible reports in the LA area.  In all cases I made the
people involved submit the correct documents, whether it be illegible
reports or rewrite reports that were obviously wrong or reports that didn't
cover the complete project.  Not exactly like your problem, but close.
Some of these people involved have lost THEIR client; i.e. the inspector or
the soil consultant.

The latest problem, solved only last Thursday, involved an inspector
signing off a large pier excavation.  Because the original soil consultant
wasn't used and didn't get to see the excavation, they supportively wrote a
letter saying that they were no longer responsible for their soil report.
After about two months, we finally got the firm who did the inspection to
assume the responsibility for the original report in WRITING.  

I'm sorry that your client is going to be inconvenienced, but you could be
the one bitten later on.

On all of our drawings we have a notes concerning special inspection
requirements, special inspection notes (idiot style language to the
contractor of exactly what we want) and submittal. Under submittals we ask
for inspection reports to be sent to the B.O. and to the engineer of
record.  We rarely get these.  We ask that the special inspector(s) submit
final signed reports, we rarely get these, and finally that the geotech
reviews the drawings and foundation design calculations to see if his
recommendations were use correctly.  Very rarely we get this.  The only one
I can think of lately was from Seattle.

Your problem hits home -- it our case, it is a large scale problem.  Our
company has written to our clients numerous times and basically been
ignored.  Once in a while a LA city inspector will catch something at the
site and call us and we'll tell them to stop the job.  Once we had 17 feet
of liquefaction material with a 20 foot deep pier.  The geotech and I were
still arguing about it when we found out that a permit had been issued and
the excavation was to begin shortly.  

In the case of geotechs reviewing the foundation design, I always got these
in the S.F. Bay area, very rarely from Southern California.  I do get some
from the Las Vegas area.  

I know my post got long, but this problem has been festering for a long time.

Neil Moore, S.E.

Oh yes, my advice:  C and D.

>I am seeking advice from my colleagues.  I apologize for the length of this
>post, but I think the problem I've got is one that is epidemic, and talking
>about it on the list might help subscribers other than me to deal with such
>issues in the future.
>
>We have a problem with a City of Los Angeles Deputy Building Inspector on a
>small commercial project involving local structural modifications to an
>existing building.  I am trying to decide what to do about it.  Given the
>situation described below, should I:
>
>a.  Do nothing in writing, sign the B94 card and forget about it.
>
>b.  Advise the general contractor, owner, architect and inspector of the
>problems in writing, then sign the card and forget about it.
>
>c.  Insist on revised reports and refuse to sign the card until I get them
>(possibly delaying the C of O and costing the owner money).
>
>d.  Report the problems to the City (probably delaying the C of O, costing
>the owner money and making everyone mad).
>
>Although we were brought into the job by the owner, we are at his direction
>retained by the contractor (e.g., this is a design-build arrangement).  The
>work involves epoxy anchors, structural concrete, field welding, and spray
>on fire-proofing, all of which require continuous special inspection.
>
>We had advised the owner of the need to hire an inspecting agency some time
>ago.  They said they  would but didn't.  The day before  work was to start,
>one of the sub-contractors said they had arranged for a deputy inspector who
>turned out to be some one we had worked with in the past on small jobs and
>knew often delivered reports late and with little detail.  He does hold the
>necessary City inspection licenses.
>
>We said we'd work with the guy again but insisted on a preconstruction
>meeting where we gave him written requirements for  prompt (within one
>working day) submission of complete daily inspection reports on the small
>fast-track project.   The City building inspector sat in on part of this
>meeting to discuss changes which I had approved to accomodate unforeseen
>field conditions.  He agreed the changes were minor.  Both he and I directed
>the Deputy inspector to reference my sketches showing the revisions in his
>inspection reports.
>
>Despite my repeated inquiries, no reports were submitted until the job was
>essentially complete.  Each daily report was one page without detail,
>indicating that work was done "per code" or "per plans" without reference to
>the un-permitted sketches we had instructed the Deputy to mention.  Due to a
>fabrication error, a pipe column arrived on site short and had to be field
>spliced.  The contractor made a full penetration weld against back-up,
>presumably with  the inspector present, and subsequently obtained our
>approval for detailing and location.  The splice is not mentioned in the
>inspector's reports.
>
>I am of course particularly interested in responses from inspectors (Sandy
>Pringle where are you?) and building officials (any thoughts on this Tim
>McCormick?), but any comment or suggestions would be appreciated.  It's a
>real world problem that I have to deal with early next week.
>
>Drew Norman, S.E.
>Drew A. Norman and Associates