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Re: Means and Methods

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Means and methods of construction are not covered by the building code.
There seems to be no standard of practice related to means and methods that
is commonly recognized by all parties to a construction project: owner,
architect, contractor, designer, craftsman, jobsite-visitor.

However, the design engineer is generally not on site to direct, observe and
supervise the means and methods of construction, and cannot reasonably
assume that responsibility.  It is usually the contractor who must figure
out and direct the means of construction; the engineer needs to be careful
not to take on (or be assigned) responsibility that belongs to another -- in
this case the contractor.  The engineer is prudent who makes it
contractually clear to all parties that the design is for the completed
project and that the designer is not responsible for the means and methods
of construction, and to require that the owner include in the contract
between the owner and the contractor provision that the contractor is solely
responsible for means and methods.

If the matter is not clarified in this way at the beginning of the project,
it may need to be sorted out afterward by a jury, who may find it difficult
to understand why the engineer is not responsible for means and methods.

This can sometimes be made messy by a Building Department who requires that
shoring or temporary supports be included on the engineer's drawings as a
condition for the issue of a Building Permit.  If I'm required to do this, I
include on the drawings a statement to the effect that the shoring design is
schematic, and must be evaluated, designed and directed by the contractor as
part of his sole responsibility for the means and methods of construction.

Nels Roselund
Structural Engineer
South San Gabriel, CA

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