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LGS - Is the Supplier Liable???

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Before I was hired by my client, they constructed over 300 homes in Light
Gauge Steel framing. The homes were allowed to be constructed without
professional steel within the county. I assume that the homes were
considered either HUD compliant or in compliance with some of government
standard. These were constructed to be low income subsidized housing through
the Department of Agriculture.
I discovered a problem. The load bearing headers (site built box beams with
flange to flange rather than web to web)were constructed using 8" and 12"
deep sections of 20 gauge steel. The manufacturer does not list these
sections in his catalog since the H/t ratio is exceed beyond web crippling
ratio of 200.
The remedial work may be extensive now that the problem is discovered. I
have noticed that once the garage header is loaded (with only 5'-0" of
tributary roof load 20 psf) the web exhibits a slight outward distortion.
I believe that the manufacture was responsible to notify the client that a
section ordered was not a stock item and exceeded the recommended web
crippling ratio before every supplying the materials. They claim that they
simply supplied what was ordered and did not question if an engineer
calculated the member or not.
My experience has been that reputable suppliers look for problems such as
this and bring it to the clients attention. In this case the fact that a
non-standard and non-conforming section was ordered and the manufacture
shipped is suspicious.
Any comments?

Dennis Wish PE
La Quinta, California
wish(--nospam--at)cwia.com
ICQ# 6110557
http://wwp.mirabilis.com/6110557

"Silence is the virtue of fools."
Francis Bacon