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Re: Release of Calcs.

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Nels,

I am surprised to even see that you and so many others would have an
issue with allowing the client to have a copy of the calcs.  I have
never thought twice about it.  Although in seeing your second post on
the matter, I understand a little more.  If it is a first go around, I
don't see the issue.  The client is responsible for pulling the permit. 
Can't be done without giving him calcs to give to the buidling
department.  I would actually think it would be irresponsible on their
part to receive something like E.O.R. calculations, turn them over to
Building Department, and not keep a copy for themselves.

They are as much on the hook for the project as we are if someone is
hurt down the line.  I think they have a right to see numbers on how we
size the structural elements.

This concept that we size things based on experience and that is why we
don't have numbers to justify seems a little grey.  I think it is
precisely to beat this notion of "I can size things without numbers by
experience" that there is a need for S.E.'s.  If we go by experience, I
am sure that many contractors, and many architects can put together a
pretty good structure that will stand the test of time.  I think we are
retained to show mathematically to ourselves, and to a peer reviewer
(Building Department), that the structural elements will work.

I am more in line with the S.E.'s who take the approach of trying their
best to have good, clean, correct calculations.  I realize my calcs are
not perfect, but I do want to try at them being pretty good.  I then
welcome the scrutiny and greatly appreciate if anyone is able to point
out any mistakes before the thing gets built.

The other problem that I fear with having poor calcs is what happens if
I am taken to court because something goes wrong with my project?  Even
if the client did not keep a copy of the calcs, couldn't I be required
to turn them over?  At this point wouldn't they be thorougly scrutinized
by all parties involved in the mess?  What they will see is that this
engineer is sloppy, careless, makes mistakes, and doesn't show a clean,
congruent line of thought in his calculations.  Conclusion is be careful
with this enigneer, I can understand why something may have gone wrong
with this project.

Nels, I believe you enjoy an excellent reputation amongst most of your
peers.  Therefore, you may never encounter this kind of challenge in
court.  I think for many other engineers, it is something they need to
be aware of.

If the S.E. has to charge a few more hours beyond what they would
normally charge in order to produce a quality set of calcs,  I think it
is in everybody's long term interest.  I can't see the extra fee being
the cause of losing the project.

Jeff Coronado, S.E.
West Covina, CA


Nels Roselund wrote:
> 
> A client has asked for a copy of my structural calculations.  I never give
> my calculations to anyone except the Building Department, as required by
> law.
> 
> I have had clients to whom I have delivered my calcs and drawings so that
> the client could file them with an application for a Building Permit, and
> I'm sure some of them have made copies of the calcs while they were in their
> hands -- I haven't made a fuss about that since I really don't know.
> However, if I explicitly give my calcs to someone, it implies that I think
> they have a use for them.
> 
> No one has a use for my calcs but me -- they are a partial record, for my
> use, of my design and decision making process; they are in shorthand and not
> a complete record of my decision making process.  They are not necessarily
> precise, or even accurate -- depending on what I feel is called for on a
> particular matter.  The calcs are not edited for clarity to be clearly
> understood by others.  They are certain to be misinterpreted, and are
> subject to misuse.
> 
> My client says that he has never had an engineer refuse to give him the
> calculations for a project.
> 
> What do you think?
> 
> Nels Roselund
> Structural Engineer
> 
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