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Re: Steel Joists - Shop drawing review

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> From: "Philip T. Hodge" <phil(--nospam--at)>

> > state PE laws require? Is joist design "engineering" or is it
> > "manufacturing"?
> Both.  A steel joist is manufactured in accordance with an engineered design.
> There, did that clear everything up?  :)
> If the joists were to be installed by the manufacturer than it would make
> sense for the seal to be in the state of installation.  But they are a
> manufactured product.  The last involvement by the manufacturer is in the
> state of manufacturer, so the seal should be in the state of manufacture.

I suggest that the manufactured status of OWSJ is only for those listed
in the SJI manuals (or manufacturer's equivalent) and only for the
simplistic load conditions stated therein. The specifying engineer
accepts a level of responsibility when relying on these published values
(assuming no product defects) when specifying joist per catalog
designation. In this sense I can accept a seal for the state of

Anything else is a unique engineered product for which the manufacturing
company must accept engineering responsibility to the requirements of
engineered structures at the erection site. I believe that it is the
responsibility of the manufacturer's engineer to ensure that due
diligence is accorded to definition of loads and assembly conditions so
that the joists will actually be designed to the expectations of the
local market and perform as designed. I believe that many manufacturer's
tread a thin line here and the staff engineer MUST be the public
conscience. Needless to say, I always require site specific sealed
designs - the cost is minimal.

> personally stand to make more money if their manufacturing designs need to
> be stamped in the state of installation.  But I see no value in such a
> requirement, and placing such a requirement will only raise the cost and
> time for completion, and further the belief that all us design engineers
> place all that stuff in our specifications only to duck our own
> responsibilities.

I don't make this requirement to duck my responsibility but rather to
ensure that the joist manufacturer does not duck theirs! If they are
selling product into regions for which they don't have a staff licensed
engineer then they must deal with the issue of competitive pricing to
sell to the project.

I was involved with a project where the manufacturer was reluctant to
seal the drawings for the site without additional cost for an
out-of-state engineer. When I did receive a sealed copy of the drawings
(after much anguish) the signature was qualified. The joists were
inadequate for the specifications. By the time that they finally
resolved the issue the joists were on site and had to be reinforced
before installation. All the while, the manufacturer claimed that, as
manufactured product, they had no requirement to seal the drawings for
any location despite the fact that this was clearly stipulated in the

I could go on a big rant here with other examples and about
sophisticated engineering software with integrated manufacturing that
makes the bottom-line appear to look good ...

Paul Ransom, P. Eng.
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
<mailto:ad026(--nospam--at)> <>