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RE: Problem with Deputy Inspector

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First check with your insurance policy and treat that as your absolute minimum 
requirement. Then decide what is best morally and ethically and act correctly. 
Money is no excuse for negligence.

James Cohen, PE
James Cohen Consulting, PC
Pennington, NJ  08534
http://expertpages.com/~jccpc

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From: 	Drew A. Norman, S.E.
Sent: 	Saturday, March 21, 1998 11:28
To: 	SEAOC List Service
Subject: 	Problem with Deputy Inspector

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