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RE: Now I am in a REAL jamb!!

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I wrote Lynn privately, but let me make one comment that I learned
recently from expert witness work. Lynn is required to disclose his
finding when there is a potential threat to the safety of the tenants of
the building.
The disclosure law only protects an engineer whose work becomes part of
an attorneys work product (at least this is the case in California).
Lynn could also be sued by tenants of the building if a failure occurs
and Lynn's findings were not disclosed. If you are in the middle of a
mess like this, I think it is better to protect the people who enter the
building than the owner who wants to keep it private. It is, IMO, the
ethical thing to do and Lynn has been right on top of it from the start.

The only potential liability that I see here is if Lynn's findings are
wrong. If not, he has acted as our code of ethics expects us to act.
You can't stop anyone from suing if they have it in their minds to
progress. I think John is right - Lynn will be exonerated but only after
being stressed out.

Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
The Structuralist.Net Information Infrastructure

Website:
http://www.structuralist.net

."The truly educated never graduate"

-----Original Message-----
From: John S [mailto:johns(--nospam--at)alliedengineering.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2002 2:53 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Now I am in a REAL jamb!!

Your right, you are in a real jamb. It's too late now, but I would have
contacted first the Architect and Owner, and see how they choose to
respond, before contacting the Building Department.   What's done is
done.  If there is deficiencies and this thing blows up, you will
eventually be exhonerated, IMHO.

-----Original Message-----
From: Lynn [mailto:lhoward(--nospam--at)silcom.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2002 3:29 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Now I am in a REAL jamb!!


I posted a letter the other day that some of you
responded to me both on the list and privately.  I
really appreciated the input I received and decided to
contact the Owner, Building Department and Architect
about potential problems I had found with the building.

Now my client has threatened to sue me if he suffers
any losses due to our reporting these issues to the
building department.  He say we were hired as a
consultant, and as such we had no right to inform
anyone else of our findings, unless there was an
eminent danger to the life or safety of the occupants.
Since the building is only now under construction, they
claim there was no such threat.

Does anyone have any comments on this?  Is this true?
Do we only have the right to report errors we find to
the building official if they are of an immediate life
safety type.  If our client suffers losses because I
reported this, am I to be held liable?

Below is the text of my original text for those of you
that do not remember my issue.

Lynn







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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