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Re: Plan check submittals and shop drawings

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Admittedly it is common practice for the contractor to design connections
in the Midwest and on the East Coast.  Even in this context it is my
experience that in many instances the engineer doesn't do a good job of
defining the loads or verifying that the necessary connection is possible. 
There are good engineers outside of California, but the system there is
more tolerant of those who either don't know or don't care.

In response to your question as to my location:  I was trained in
California but recently spent several years on the East Coast.  I am now
back in California.

In a position paper on the design of connections by the Contractor, AISC
makes the point that this is only appropriate when the connections are
relatively simple and can be taken out of a handbook.  In addition AISC
points out that there is a conflict of interest on the part of the
Contractors engineer and that the engineer of record should maintain
responsibility for the final product.  Obviously many engineers have the
contractor design more complex connections.

Contractor designed connections can work but the reality is that, if you
review the designs like you are supposed to, it often takes as much time as
designing the connections.  In the case where seismic loads are concerned,
my experience is that it is very difficult to address in the project
specifications all of the niceties that you would address if you designed
the connections.  The net result is that in many instances the final
product is not as good as what you would get if you designed the
connection, yet you are responsible for the final design.

I would suggest that you read your agreement, the project specs and the
drawings, and the AISC Code of Standard Practice.  If the Engineer of
Record did not specify the loads it may be that he was equally sloppy in
not requiring that an Engineer sign and seal the connection design.  If you
have to play this game you should play it by the rules the way  they do it
on the East Coast.

Has the city of Fresno defined this as a deferred submittal?  If not the
design is incomplete and it  could be argued that the EOR should provide
the connection irrespective as to what the specifications may say.

As far as the rest of the job is concerned you might consider taking off
your glasses.  Consider writing a short letter to your client pointing out
that you saw some things outside of your scope, suggest that somebody
review them, state you do not intend to look further at the other aspects
of the project, and resist the tendency to comment if you find another
lousy detail.  This letter is necessary since if there is a problem with
the project somebody might possibly connect your e-mail to the project. 

Mark Gilligan SE