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Q: "Stick-Built" Metal Building?

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I used to tell these types of potential clients that I wanted an after taxes
fee of $1,000,000 so that I could turn in my registration and live
comfortably for the rest of my life without having to work.  (Now, it would
be $5,000,000 to $10,000,000 after taxes.)  This saves a lot of talk time.

The situation is Texas is no different than anywhere else, with or without
adopted building codes and with or without contractor licensing.  These
people want someone to bless their plans so that if anything happens, they
can say that they relied on Bill Polhemus; that they were not engineers and
did not know what was required.

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

Bill Polhemus wrote:

. > I got a request from a prospective client that I had never heard before.

. > It seems he is in the practice of buying metal building components from a
. > "parts list" submitted to a manufacturer, and then erecting the building
. > himself. He is not a contractor, more of a "developer," and he just
. > contracts the labor out as needed.

. > He came to me asking me to "stamp" a layout drawing. The drawing showed an
. > end-view of such a building-very typical, gable-end etc.-with piece-marks
. > and member sizes already noted. I sort of blinked at it and then asked
. > "well, how did you come up with these member sizes?"

. > "Those are the members I always use" was his response.

. > "Um, well who came up with the sizes?"

. > "I don't know, they're from a set of plans I've been using for awhile."

. > "What are the wind load requirement?"

. > He pointed to a note in one corner of the drawing, and I read "BOCA 1991
. > Wind Speed 90 MPH Exposure C."

. > I asked "Well, who has sealed your drawings in the past?"

. > "Well, I used to have an architect do it, but he charges too much money
. > now, and I just need it stamped real quick, so I can have it approved by
. > the city of ______________ so I can get a permit. How much do you charge
. > to stamp the drawing?"

. > I sidestepped that question, and asked who was doing the foundation ("Some
. > other guy's doing that"), why the other drawings in the set didn't need a
. > seal ("Well, I'm just going to do what the City requires") and above all
. > how he knew that this "design" was adequate ("We haven't had any problems
. > with the other buildings I've built").

. > As it stands, I'm trying to educate this guy as to where he needs to go.
. > I've got a call in to the building official in the city of
. > ______________, a small town northwest of Houston, to ask what their code
. > requirements might be. Hopefully, they require full adherence to the
. > building code (probably the SBC, regardless of what the drawing shows
. > that he gave me).

. > Anyway, this is a very typical example of what we face here in Texas,
. > where the state has adopted no building code, the counties are prohibited
. > by statute from adopting a building code, and contractors are not
. > required to be licensed and simply do whatever they feel they can get
. > away with.

. > Comments?

. > William L. Polhemus, Jr. P.E.

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