From: Roger Turk <73527.1356(--nospam--at)compuserve.com>
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 17:01:54 -0400
I understand your predicament!
My suggestion was to write a letter to the *architect* and tell him that you
are *very* concerned about what he told you and that you recommend that he
have another engineer, not you, review the design. For this, the architect
would pay the other engineer. By taking this course, you would be putting
professionalism above personal gain as you have nothing to gain from your
recommendation. I would strongly recommend that you take this route before
contacting the building official either directly or annonymously. This gives
the architect to "save face" by recognizing the problem himself. He probably
also sees little value in his design becoming a pile of rubble. If the
architect does not take action, then it would be appropriate to contact the
Bear in mind, I am not suggesting that you tell him something is wrong, only
that what he told you has cause you to be very concerned, nor am I suggesting
that you do some free work.
Building officials are generally immune when issuing permits for buildings
that do not conform to the building code. IAW the UBC, if a permit is issued
for a building that does not comply with the UBC, the permit is invalid.
That the architect expressed concern to you about the flexibility of the
construction indicates to me that he is already questioning its adequacy and
he wants some indication that his gut feeling is correct. He bounced this
off you for your reaction and I hope that you did not tell him that he had
nothing to worry about. He apparently has confidence in your opinion and
knowledge as you do repeat work for him.
You are not ignorant of this situation and you have told 10,000 engineers all
over the world about it.
The 8" thick, 22 ft high cantilever wall is equivalent to a wall simply
supported at the top and bottom 44 ft high (4 stories), absurd in my opinion.
I know the type of building department that you are talking about and they
are not restricted to California.
A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
. > Roger,
. > I totally agree with you. The problem is the Architect is a client of
. > mine. Do I do a good deed for the public and at the same time shoot
. > myself in the foot.
. > I have simply made some observations and am convinced that some engineer
. > was out to lunch when he designed the building structure. I do not know
. > who the engineer is.
. > The reason that I do not want to do the exercise of checking out the
. > design is that ignorance is bliss! While I have doubts as to the adequacy
. > of the design I don't know it to be a fact. If I knew it as a fact I
. > would feel obligated to tell the Architect and the local Building
. > Official.
. > I believe that our professional responsibility is to protect the health,
. > safety and welfare of the public. However, going into the building
. > department will not necessarily result in any change. It would be unwise
. > for me to make a claim that does not fit with whatever Code the engineer
. > used. I do not know of any way that the perimeter walls could be designed
. > per Code. But then I wouldn't even attempt it. A cantilever wall 22' into
. > the air that is only 8" thick does not seem to be something I would want
. > to design in the first place. Also to consider, the particular building
. > department that this particular building was permitted in does not have a
. > great record of checking the engineers work. If the calculations and
. > plans are stamped by a licensed engineer or architect, they issue a
. > permit with very little checking of the calcs.
. > John Ott