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Re: SLAB ON GRADE

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At 12:35 PM 04/25/2000 EDT, you wrote:
>Just hoping I can get a basic question clarified. I  have a client  I'm doing 
>a series of homes for, and he wants me to specify that the slab on grade be 
>placed directly over the vapor barrier, (no sand between) He claims that ...
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Without commenting on the merit or harm of not using sand, I would point out
that if these homes are of woodframe construction, and in California, you do
not have to be professionally involved in this part of the home design. A
design professional need not be involved in this aspect of the design, nor
for foundations complying with code Chap 18 prescriptives, nor for routine
framing prescriptively covered in code Chap 23 as "conventional."

In short, comprehensive jurisdiction by an engineer or architect over all
aspects of load carrying elements (let alone other components, like slabs on
grade) of such a house is simply not expected in the California regulatory
scheme of things. (See Bus. and Prof. Code Sections 5537 and 6737.1 for the
basic legislative enactment.) 

The legislature also delegated copious authority to local building officials
to interpret code (as does the code itself) and delegated to a certain
standing state commission the power to adopt a state building code and
compel local communities to use it. From this, the building official has
discretion to demand engineering on otherwise exempt elements, but
ordinarily the licensed contractor has the burden set forth in the
Contractors License Law to follow accepted trade standards for good and
workmanlike construction, where neither code, nor an architect or engineer,
nor owner, specify the method to be used (--B&P Code sec 7110 vicinity.) I
regard slab curing as a "trade standard" matter unless the engineer or
architect or owner has claimed it for his/her own.

Your client can be responsible for directing how the slab is to be placed
and cured, and be responsible for its performance, without that part of the
"design" overlapping with a limited scope of design services the client can
only obtain from a licensed design professional. Your contract could be
amended if need be to write you entirely out of the slab matter. 

If your client is not a contractor, then there is a possibility of conflict
between client and contractor over the sand omission the client wants, with
respect to the contractor's workmanship burdens vs those of building to your
client's approved plans. But that need not be your fight.

Charles O. Greenlaw SE     Sacramento CA