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RE: Ethical Responsibility?

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This is a public safety matter!  What you have been told is like an attorney 
telling a doctor not to report an outbreak of the bubonic plague, or an 
attorney telling a water supply company not to report the contamination of 
of  the drinking water source.

In a situation like this, I would tell the attorney to get a court order 
prohibiting me from reporting this situation to the proper authorities.  
Getting the court order would put it in the public record, exactly the 
opposite of what the attorney wants.

If California law is similar to Arizona law, you are required to report 
unsafe conditions to the appropriate authorities, and if you don't, you are 
subject to loss of your license.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

Dennis Wish wrote:

. > On a similar situation, I was called out by an owner and his insurance
. > company to inspect structural damage in in Condo complex due to
. > extensive termite damage. I wrote up my initial investigation and
. > referenced the Pest Inspection services to conclude that further
. > investigation was necessary as the extent of potentially serious
. > structual damage was visible throughout the unit I inspected and had
. > been reported by others to be evident in other units throughout the
. > complex.

. > The HOA attorney stopped all work and squelched the report (which was
. > sent to the owner, his insurance company and the contractor he hired to
. > do the repairs). So far nothing has been done and there is a serious
. > condition but we have been prevented from intervening by the HOA and
. > their attorney. I suppose I could submit my preliminary report to the
. > building official but I have been warned against doing so.

. > So what is the next move - I feel my hands are tied as all of the
. > appropriate people including the Home Owners Association (HOA) has been
. > notified.

. > Dennis

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nels Roselund, SE [mailto:njineer(--nospam--at)] 
> Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 4:57 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: Ethical Responsibility?
> What is the liability exposure posed by a single written 
> notification as Bill offered in his proposal?  It seems 
> adequate to me.
> Bill's case is similar to the case of broken roof trusses 
> that I observed and discussed with the owner; I showed him 
> the broken trusses and previous ineffective repairs, 
> explained the him how a failure could take place, and why it 
> is a hazardous condition.  The roof supported by the trusses 
> is over a meeting room.  I told him that the room should not 
> be used again until the roof trusses are repaired.  I then 
> wrote a proposal for my services to design the repairs, and 
> put my explanations and recommendations in writing.
> I have not visited the building since.  I have no way of 
> knowing whether or not the room is being used -- that, of 
> course, is out of my control and knowledge [just as, I 
> assume, the use or non-use of the bridges is out of Bill's 
> control and/or knowledge].  If the room is not being used, 
> that is appropriate temporary mitigation.  I figure that the 
> owner is a prudent person who has been adequately advised of 
> a hazard that is under his control, and that, as owner of the 
> building, he can be expected to take appropriate measures.  
> If he chooses to put the room out of use until the funds are 
> available for the needed repairs, that is a choice he has in 
> his power to make.  If he chooses to use the room despite the 
> warning I have given, he is, in my opinion, not being wise, 
> but his choice is out of my control or knowledge.  How am I 
> put in jeopardy by leaving the matter in his hands?
> I recently received a phone call from the owner a few months 
> after my proposal; he told me that he will authorize my 
> services but is not ready to do that yet.
> Nels Roselund

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