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Re: Engineering ethics

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IMHO you have gone about as far as you can go.  Since the building department has
been notified, it is up to them to follow through.  You can not force the building
department to take action, neither can you force any of the attorneys or owners to
take action.  I assume you have kept copies of your letters.  Should anything
happen now, you have documentation that you have notified individuals.  The only
other possible thing you could do would be to notify BORPELS, however I have my
doubts that they will be able to do anything either.

Dgmurphy(--nospam--at)aol.com wrote:

> I'm much interested in this topic.  If I read your message right, it appears
> you have noticed the AOR of construction defects and that the AOR has not
> taken action.  I believe that you are required to make sure that the building
> department/inspections has been noticed of this.  I have been in a similar
> situation and went so far as to hand deliver a copy of my report to the
> building department.
>
> I would like to expand on this question by asking for opinions on the
> following situation I presently find myself:
>
> I have personal knowledge of a 5 story steel framed building that was damaged
> by an earthquake.  The lateral system is composed of full height reinforced
> (Very light with no confinement of boundary elements) brick masonry
> shearwalls.  A secondary system does exist via the steel frame, which has
> spandrel trusses on the exterior walls.  The damage was limited to compression
> failure of the boundaries of five of the seven walls.  All five damaged walls
> are in the NS direction and the two undamaged walls are in the EW direction.
> I estimated that the building has lost greater than 50% of it's lateral
> capacity in the NS direction.  This is a 50% reduction to a system that was
> designed in 1960,  thus it likely results in a building which is capable of
> resisting less than 25% of today's min. requirements.
>
> The owners of the building (WHO ARE REGISTRADED ENGINEERS!!!!) have failed to
> have the building repaired.  Since the time of the earthquake, 4.5 years ago,
> they have spent 100's of thousands of dollars on cosmetic improvements,
> including construction of a new Porte at the front of the building.
>
> This is what has occurred:
>
> The building was incorrectly green tagged.  I assume the inspector did not
> realize that the brick walls were a part of the lateral system.  I have
> written to the building department that this was an incorrect assessment.
> They have not acted.
>
> An insurance company has paid the owners a large amount of money (millions) to
> repair the damage.  This appears to be the source of the money that is paying
> for the architectural improvements.
>
> I have written to the owners that the building requires structural repair and
> should not be occupied.  To this day, with the green tag proudly displayed on
> the front door, the owners have maintained full occupancy.  The building is
> heavily used by the public.
>
> I have written to the owners, owner's attorney, the insurance company, the
> insurance company's attorney and the building department, in addition to the
> notices indicated above, expressing my concerns.  I have had a face to face
> conversation with an SE who is working for the owners and he does not disagree
> with my opinion.
>
> Recently, the owners repaired one of the five damaged walls.  I believe this
> was in response to a aftershock that slightly woke him up.  I have discovered
> though that the limited repairs were not permitted and were not inspected by
> the owners engineer.  All the other damaged walls have been cosmetically
> covered up.
>
> I would appreciate any opinions on what if anything else I should be doing.
> The situation is a little murky as there is pending litigation between the
> owner and their insurance company.
>
> David Murphy, SE
> Murphy Burr Curry
> San Francisco
> respond privatelyto dgmurphy(--nospam--at)aol.com
>