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Re: Engineering ethics

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     This is a good example of why mandatory structural observation should be
required on all significant buildings, as is done in Los Angeles city and
Ventura County. This was also recommended by the seismic commision report on
the Northridge earthquake " turning loss to gain " but never implemented by
the state. The building inspector/official would need a statement from you
that no known deficiencies exist prior to issuing a certificate of occupancy.
Its a shame ICBO has avoided addressing this issue in building standards
magazine. I wrote ICBO a Q & A type article two years ago but they declined to
publish it. Many building department personnel think of structural observation
as an issue between the owner and engineer until i explain it is required by
code just like special inspection ( when i require it on the plan or it is an
H ot A2.1 occupancy ) , and they would not issue a "C of O " without required
special inspection. For example , any theater or church with over 300
occupants  ( A2.1 occupancy ) in seismic zone 4 requires structural
observation per '94 UBC , so if it was not done, the building was built in
violation of code. The '97 code is going to greatly expand this due to near
fault source B areas . Mandatory structural observation has been the best
thing to happen to my experience as an engineer. 
      I know it's easier said than done but i think it would be appropriate to
write a letter to the building official listing the deficiencies , as required
by the code section on structural observation. ( I'm assuming you've already
pointed out the deficiencies to the architect , contractor , owner and nothing
has happened to correct the deficiencies )  On the other hand , if the
building collapses and kills people , and you knew.........

     Tom Harris, SE
     Thousand Oaks, CA