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RE: Steel Joists - Shop drawing review

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A few years ago I started to get some pretty shoddy shop drawings prepared
by a semi-local fabricator.  He would do the shop drawings and submit them
to the joist fabricator.  While I had faith in the joist fabricator, I did
not believe that the local fabricator was accurately or completely
transmitting my information to the joist fabricator.  Because of this, I now
include a statement in my specification that requires that a registered
engineer employed by the steel joist fabricator seal the shop drawings
indicating that they were prepared under his supervision.  I don't always
receive that stamp, but I now have a way of shortening the line of
communication between me and the joist fabricator.  If I suspect that
someone other than the joist fabricator has prepared the shop drawings, I
insist on the seal.  The firm I used to have trouble with has only argued
with me one time about the matter.

Roger Davis
SDS Architects, Inc
205 N. Dewey Street
Eau Claire, WI 54703

-----Original Message-----
From:	Philip T. Hodge [mailto:phil(--nospam--at)]
Sent:	Tuesday, February 29, 2000 11:54 PM
To:	seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject:	Re: Steel Joists - Shop drawing review

"Sherman, William" wrote:

> Do you run an analysis on each joist member to check stresses? If not, do
> you accept liability for the joist members regardless of whether they have
> been designed by an engineer or not?

No.  I may not have worded my reply clearly.  I was thinking from the point
view of the joist fabricator.  All the reputable fabricators employ at least
PE, licensed in at least the state of manufacture.  All designs are his/her
responsibility.  Thus I see no advantage in requiring a stamp - the chief
engineer is responsible whether their stamp is affixed or not.

> The way I see it, I require a PE stamp
> on joist designs to ensure that the joists have been designed by an
> for the loads I've specified. I am still liable for the proper
> of applied loads and for "applicability" and interface of the joists with
> the remainder of the structure. But the joist manufacturer should be
> if an individual joist member was not designed properly. A PE stamp helps
> ensure that they take responsibility for their portion of the design.

While I disagree with the last sentence of this paragraph, the rest is right
and if a stamp gives you, your client, or your attorney a warm fuzzy feeling
then you should require it.  Just make sure you place the requirement in the
package, because that is not the normal practice within the joist industry,
some manufacturers may charge extra for the service.

> But there is a question as to whether their PE stamp should be from the
> state where the joist is being installed or from the state of manufacture
> the joist. Normally PE stamps should be from the state where installation
> to occur. But for such a premanufactured component, an argument can be
> that the EOR takes responsibility for the joist applicability to the
> specific structure and the joist manufacturer's PE stamp is solely to
> that the members have been designed for the specified loads. But what do
> state PE laws require? Is joist design "engineering" or is it
> "manufacturing"?

Both.  A steel joist is manufactured in accordance with an engineered
There, did that clear everything up?  :)

If the joists were to be installed by the manufacturer than it would make
for the seal to be in the state of installation.  But they are a
product.  The last involvement by the manufacturer is in the state of
manufacturer, so the seal should be in the state of manufacture.

By the way, I am not lobbying for a particular position for personal
reasons.  I
am an independent consultant in the steel and joist industries, not an
employee.  As such, I review many designs by various manufacturers.  I
personally stand to make more money if their manufacturing designs need to
stamped in the state of installation.  But I see no value in such a
and placing such a requirement will only raise the cost and time for
and further the belief that all us design engineers place all that stuff in
specifications only to duck our own responsibilities.