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Re: Need help on issue that has been discussed before

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Lynn,

If you have the calcs and the design drawings, and it is "obvious" that the
design does not conform to code, I am unclear on why you feel you do not
have "proof".

That aside,  I personally believe you have a professional obligation to
report your findings to the building official for further review.  I would
provide a letter to the building official outlining the areas of observed
deficiency and perceived code violations requesting that they investigate
further.  If indeed there are gravity framing errors you feel may represent
a failure situation than I could not in clear conscience walk away from the
issue.  If the building official then concurs with your findings they will
hopefully be in a position to act.  If the building official is not
qualified to judge, then recommend that the building official involve an
independent third party to review your objections and report to the building
official for action.

Additionally the PE Act states that "an act considered substantially related
to the qualifications, functions, and duties of a professional engineer
that, to a substantial degree, evidences present or potential unfitness of a
professional engineer to perform the functions authorized by his/her
registration in a manner consistent with the public health, safety or
welfare, is in violation of the Professional Engineers Act."  The board
should be notified of professional violations.

Personal feelings noted, there is then the opposite side where if you delay
a project and incur costs for the owner, and are subsequently shown to be in
error, you could open yourself up to possible legal issues.  The CA PE Act
provides for Good Samaritan immunity from fiscal liability in the event of a
natural disaster, but is silent regarding non-disaster circumstances.  If
however, an independent third party is involved in either form proposed
above and the building official takes action (i.e. shutting down the job
until the errors are rectified) I do not believe you would be subject to any
real liability.  For the record, I am NOT an attorney.

As professionals, I believe we are under obligation to take action against
potential threats to public safety.  If you feel strongly enough about the
violations to walk away from the job I don't see how you can walk away from
the situation.  But then, I am not an impartial reviewer, my family lives in
your area.

Paul Feather






----- Original Message -----
From: "Lynn" <lhoward(--nospam--at)silcom.com>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 5:11 PM
Subject: Need help on issue that has been discussed before


> I need help on an issue I know has been addressed
> before, but to be honest I did not pay much attention
> to it because it did not directly effect me at the
> time.
>
> There is a new three story office building being
> constructed, it totals about 50,000 square feet.  The
> first floor, first floor walls, and second floor slab
> is all concrete and concrete block.  The second floor
> concrete slab is about to be placed.  The upper floors
> are wood and steel.
>
> Our office did not do the design for the building, but
> we have been asked by a tenant that is going to occupy
> some of the building to provide structural design for
> their T.I. work.  They have some heavy equipment going
> in, so there is some significant structural work that
> will have to be done in order to accommodate this
> equipment.
>
> The Architect of the building provided us with a
> complete set of plans and structural calculations so we
> could do our work.  Once we got into the plans and
> calculations, it became obvious to us that the Engineer
> of Record for this building did not provide a design
> that conforms to Code.  Many of the Code violations are
> in the area of seismic design.  But some are simply of
> a gravity load type error also.  We did not do a
> detailed review of the plans and specifications, but we
> saw enough to know that we want nothing to do with this
> project.  We have told the tenant that we are not going
> to provide the structural design they have requested,
> and we have told the tenant exactly why.
>
> My question is if we bow out of this project, am I done
> with my professional responsibilities under my capacity
> as a licensed structural engineer in the State of
> California?  I would like to just walk away from this
> whole thing and not get involved any further.  But I
> also want to make sure  I am not walking away from and
> responsibilities that I may have as a licensed
> engineer.
>
> Am I obligated to tell the building owner that I have
> doubts (but not proof) about the adequacy of the
> structural design?  Am I obligated to tell the Building
> department that I have doubts (but not proof) about the
> structural design?
>
> Any thoughts on this issue would be appreciated.
>
> Lynn
>
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