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RE: special inspection of design/build projects

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The short version is that there is no way to prevent abuse of the system.
The final responsibility belongs to the owner.
If you want the longer version, read on - however, the conclusions are the

Complete response:
 I started this email agreeing with your assumption that a professional
engineer must posess a higher ethical standard than non-professionals.
Unfortunately, the more I wrote, the more I realized that there are "bad
seeds" in any profession. The sad fact is that there is no practical way to
assure that abuse does not occur.
The code requires the owner or owners agent to chose the Inspection service
but does not take into account the owners lack of knowledge. Instead it
assumes the owners agent to be independent of the construction company and,
therefore, protecting his own design. In a design/construct situation where
the engineer is employed by or is invested in the construction business, the
owner has very little recourse if he is unable to ascertain the adequacy or
qualifications of the inspector.
It might be best for the owner to discuss the matter with the building
official, who may be able to provide a list of deputy inspection services
authorized within his jurisdiction.
There is an implication that the contractor/engineer will place undo
pressure upon an inspector to issue a favorable report to push construction
along and insure the next financial draw. Failure to issue a favorable
report might result in the inspector not getting paid or having his fee
If the owner hires the inspector (although this is not the case if the owner
is the developer) he is paying specifically to find and correct defects.

The only conclusion I can draw is that the final authority and responsiblity
must rest upon those who have the least to gain by falsifying inspection
documents - generally this is the owner.

Dennis Wish PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Evans [mailto:DEVANS(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, October 07, 1998 2:02 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: special inspection of design/build projects

The UBC requires the owner or EOR acting as owner's agent to employ
special inspectors.  On design/build projects, the EOR is often the
contractor's "agent,"  in a contractual sense, and would pass special
inspection costs through to the contractor.  This may give some the
impression of a conflict of interest.  But since the EOR always
should be acting as the owner's or the public's agent, in an ethical
sense, there should be little objection to the EOR employing
special inspectors for design/build projects.  Does anyone have any
practical experience with this?  Have Building Officials in your area

Dave Evans, P.E.
TNH, Inc.