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Re: Problem with Deputy Inspector

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The Special Inspection requirements of the UBC are the most complete of any
in the U.S. and for the majority of the time it works.  Let us not lose
sight of the fact that Professional Inspectors, on the whole, are doing a
pretty good job, and we want to be careful not to "throw the baby out with
the bath water".

I'll try to make this short, but this is the issue to which I have become
dedicated and my "soap box".  The UBC has, for several code cycles,
required that the EOR specify the name of the individual or firm who will
be performing the Special Inspections.  This is a good step, but as has
been illustrated on this list, sometimes not enough.  SEAOC must take a
more profound position and be more insistant upon compliance with the
contract documents or everyone will continue to suffer.  HUGE projects that
are built have problems of a different nature, but that's another tale.
This is more specific to that other 95% of construction

Recently, Tom VanDorpe specified our firm, Structural Inspection
Consultants Inc, for a project.  Tom called me and gave me the heads-up, I
in turn contacted the owner and all was in readiness for the begining of
the project.  Several weeks elapsed, and Tom called me, livid, explaining
that the job had begun and the Contractor had called in his favorite
Deputy, ignoring the plan requirement. Tom had called the job to talk to
who he thought was one of our Inspectors to find out that there was an
Independent Inspector on the job. This Inspector, if he looked at the plan,
would have seen that SIC Inc was specified as the Inspection Agency of
Record, which shows me that some degree of "honor" was lacking.  Tom
contacted the owner and we replaced the offending Inspector.  Our
examination of the work previously inspected completed, we determined there
were some discrepancies which were quickly, but not easily, rectified and
the project resumed without further ado.

The lesson is that YOU, the EOR or the Designer of Record, however it's
worded, MUST ensure at the start of the project that the players are all
aware and be prepared to jump with both of your Engineering feet on the
necks of the offenders. Then you MUST follow up. Only you have the ultimate
say.  Everything you insist on and document becomes part of the project
requirements and woe be to those of you that sign off something if you have
knowledge of non-compliance. (I heard that California is generating one new
lawyer every 240 minutes.)

The problem becomes one of accountability and traceability.  Now that
Accreditation of Inspection Agencies is a fact and readily available to any
Testing Lab or Inspection Agency that wishes to go through the exposure and
documentation of their operation, developing and adhering to a Quality
Manual, allowing continuing monitoring internally and externally of all
facets of their operation, including filing of reports in a timely manner
and keeping the EOR informed of problems, it behooves the Engineering
Community to take advantage of this voluntary accreditation program. This
month's SEAOSC dinner meeting presentation was a very informative talk  on
the Accreditation concept and the global and local impact and it is
apparent that we have lagged behind the European and Asian communities in
the recognition of Conformity Assurance.

Your Proffesional Liability carriers will offer discounts on your premiums
when your office demonstrates due diligence by specifying an accredited
Inspection Agency AND an Accredited Testing Lab.  There are several dozen
Labs in the NorthWest that have dual accreditation and are also Inspection
Agencies.  This is pretty tricky, but they have still documented how they
have avoided the "potential conflict of interest" and have voluntarily.

This helps your project right now.  Right now!  And it'll only become more
effective as you insist on accreditation for Inspection Agencies.  If your
Inspection Agency of Choice is not accredited yet, encourage them to do so
by specifying them "or another Inspection Agency accredited to ASTM
E329-95C" on  your plans. This opens the door to another agency and any
good businessman who wants to curry the favor of his clients will hopefully
leap to the opportunity to preserve the Client relationship and help cut
their liability exposure. SIC Inc was the first to become accredited, but
it is my understanding that other Inspection Agencies have applied and soon
there should be a goodly selection of competitive Inspection Agencies.
Your encouragement by specification is essential because the huge hassle
required to become accredited is for nought if your offices don't take
advantage of this voluntary program. The EQE office in Orange County has
done just that.

Inspection on a project at the specification of the EOR makes the
Construction Team more cohesive.  Almost all of our work comes through the
Engineering Community, and my thanks to you all!!

Hope to see some of you in Santa Barbara on April 8, for the SEAOSC
Tri-Counties Chapter dinner meeting where we can explore the possibilites
afforded your offices through a system of competent accountability.

This "short post" begins to look a bit like Dennis has some influence, but
like him, I get going and ......


R. Sandy Pringle       STRUCTURAL INSPECTION CONSULTANTS Inc. 
sandyp(--nospam--at)sic-inc.com 	 (800)598-1970    Fax(310)376-5294 
http://www.sic-inc.com	 Hermosa Beach & Redondo Beach, CA

It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, 
but also for what we do not do. -Moliere