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Re; Plan check submittals and shop drawings

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My apologies for the length of this post.  I think shared professional
responsibility is the unrecognized reality of most projects, and the subject
Mr. Hosseinzadeh raised should therefore be of interest to all of us.


Mr. Greenlaw is right on point.  He says the, "term [shop drawings] is used
... carelessly ....,"  and proposes to distinguish, "between engineering
drawings ... [and] ... drawings ... builders use for ... non-engineering
purposes." In my practice I refer to the former as "design drawings" and the
latter as "shop drawings" and I treat them differently.  Design drawings
require professional seal and signature.

Mr. Hosseinzadeh is correct in classifying the drawings prepared by Mr.
Tiedgen's company as design drawings.  He points out that the details of the
truss members were determined based on the manufacturer's design and this is
the proof of the pudding.

Mr. Natividad may be right in saying that specifying a steel joist is, "the
same as specifying 4x10 beam of 51/8x24 GLB," but ONLY IN VERY LIMITED
SITUATIONS.  In most practical cases, there will be point loads, unusual
bearing conditions, or manufacturers elective panel point details which
vary, and Mr. Natividad will be wrong.  I do not recall ever having worked
on a job involving bar joists where the manufacturer did not provide a
calculation in support of the design of the members to be supplied.  Have
you ever had a lumber yard give you a calculation along with your 4x10?  In
Mr. Natividad's second post he notes that VULCRAFT does, " ... provide
engineering for the design of its projects ...."

Mr. Dahlmann is right on point.  If Mr. Tiedgen won't sign the drawings
representing the design based on his calculations how can he expect Mr.
Hosseinzadeh to do so?  Under California's PE Act, Mr. Hosseinzadeh CANNOT
sign the drawings unless the design they represent was prepared under his
responsible charge.  My understanding is that this means he would need to
replicate and fully verify Mr. Tiedgen's work.  Certainly once Mr.
Hosseinzadeh signs it, he accepts full professional responsibility for its

Mr. Tiedgen seems to want to have his cake and eat it too.  He acknowledges
that his company "upgrade[d]" the design to account for information not
available to Mr. Hosseinzadeh when the original design drawings, upon which
Mr. Tiedgen's company presumably bid, were prepared.  Mr. Tiedgen asks,
"Does a product supplier finishing the design ... constitute engineering
design work?"  Does A equal A?  OF COURSE IT DOES.   Note that  I have
intentionally omitted the middle part of his sentence ("... for the engineer
of record and submitting for the EOR approval ..." because it is irrelevant.
The question here is whose design is it, not who approved it.

Mr. Finley is correct in pointing out that, "... the drawings must be signed
and sealed -- they are the .. final product."  The results of the
calculations Mr. Tiedgen performed should be reflected in drawings prepared
under his supervision.  He should sign those drawings.  If they also contain
information taken from the design drawings Mr. Hosseinzadeh prepared, then
appropriate notations can be added to clarify.

It is NOT appropriate for Mr. Tiedgen to ask Mr. Hosseinzadeh to take
responsibility for Mr. Tiedgen's design.

Mr. Wish is correct in saying, "... responsibility of the EOR should be
limited ... to verification ...."

As EOR, Mr. Hosseinzadeh must review the calculations and design drawings as
submitted by Mr. Tiedgen in order to verify that design loads and other
assumptions are consistent with design of other components and of the
building as a whole.  This is NOT equivalent to review and acceptance of
responsibility for the design of the trusses themselves.

Mr. Hosseinzadeh's verification review as EOR should ALSO have the purpose
of assuring that there are no missing links (e.g., that each component
requiring engineering design is in fact represented in design drawings
signed and sealed by an appropriately licensed professional).  As far as the
public safety is concerned, this may be the most important part of his
review, and that is why his post to this list is both important and

In this case there may be a problem.  Mr. Hosseinzadeh says the plans which
Mr. Tiedgen is declining to sign, "consist of a single sheet of erection
plan and copies of our details pertaining to trusses."  Where are the
details for the trusses themselves (chord and web member sizes and panel
point details)?  Are they all "off the shelf?"  My point is that the results
of Mr. Tiedgen's calculations must be fully represented SOMEWHERE in the
design drawings and it is in MR. HOSSEINZADEH'S responsibility as EOR to
make sure this is done.

Mr. Allen (and Mr. Slaysman), who, "would reject the ... drawings
unless/until the comply with ... construction documents," have it right.
Unfortunately for Mr. Hosseinzadeh however, Mr. Sprague has a point, in
that, "Just saying [the drawings] need to sealed ... may imply that the EOR
is to seal ...."  Mr. Natividad also pointed this out.  Contractually, this
may weaken Mr. Hosseinzadeh's position.  Professionally however, it is clear
to me that the design is Mr. Tiedgen's, and, as Mr. Cain points out, the PE
Act requires that he sign and seal the drawings which represent it.  I think
this should carry the day.

Lastly, and perhaps to the surprise of anyone who reads this far, I think
Mr. Sprague is WRONG when he says he, "... would not seal the manufacturer's
drawings."  In the end, the EOR has primary responsibility to the public and
his client, and some building officials (e.g., DSA, OSHPD and, as of
recently, I believe LACBD) will require Mr. Hosseinzadeh's seal and
signature on ALL PARTS of the documents as a reflection of his acceptance of
that responsibility.  In my practice I would require Mr. Tiedgen to sign the
portions of the design drawings he prepared.  Once he had done so, and once
I had satisfied myself as to the consistency of design assumptions and the
completeness of the detailing, I would COUNTERSIGN the documents as EOR with
appropriate qualifications indicating the scope of my review as EOR and
recording the fact that responsibility for the design of the trusses
themselves remains with Mr. Tiedgen.

Thanks for listening.

Drew Norman, S.E.
Drew A. Norman and Associates