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Re: Now I am in a REAL jamb!!

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I came back to this late, so I will respond primarily to your latest post.

> 1.  We did contact the Engineer first about many of
> the issues we had problems with.  There response
> was, yeah we already took care of that, or, yeah we
> know about that and are in the process of taking
> care of that, or, yeah that looks like it could be a
> problem we will get to that.  So they were not
> hostile, and seemed to be designing as the project
> was under construction.  We only brought to their
> attention issues that were directly related to the
> tenant improvements we were doing.  We did not bring
> to their attention issues that were concerns with
> the overall building design.

This is what I refer to as a bullshit situation.  If the building is under
construction, the argument that they are addressing the issues you raise is
pure bullshit.  Designing while under construction is dubious at best.  If
the floor in issue is allready complete and construction has progressed
beyond this point, is the EOR really going to go back and start requiring
retroactive fixes for their design?  The old addage regarding the cost of
extras is still true.  Are they really going to go in independently and
subject themselves to possible back charges far in excess of the design fee?
If they "get to it" after placement of the structure I would be willing to
bet nothing gets done.

If you are only raising issues directly related to your TI, what is being
done about the other issues?

> 2.  The Tenant is the one who threatened to sue us.
> They are afraid that if the building department gets
> a hold of this letter, they will shut the project
> down until all issues are resolved.  This could
> delay their move in date, and by the nature of their
> business, they would be out of business unable to
> make any money for any period they are without
> offices.

The tenant has really no basis for a suit.  You were hired for your
professional services.  There is no warranty implied in professional service
that he will hear results he approves of.  What would be the cost to their
business if the new 1950's era structure suffered damage in a small seismic
event far below current "new" structure performance standards and the
building was un-inhabitable?  Many of our clients with sensitive
manufacturing issues require structures with performance standards far in
excess of current code minimums to ensure the continued operation of
critical systems.

What damages has the client incurred as a result of your action?  So far,
none.  I agree with Roger, the same client will be the first to sue you if
you do not perform due diligence and problems arise that impact their
business or worse, their personnel.

> 3.  The thing that makes this a difficult call is
> that the issues we had with the building are not
> necessarily life-safety issues.  Even if the
> building was completed as shown on the plans, I am
> not sure it would be any more un-safe than a similar
> building constructed in the 1950's.  So  I don't
> think I can fall back on the eminent threat to the
> life or safety of the occupants of the building.
> There could indeed be Code violations, but I am not
> sure it rises to the level that would require me to
> act.

If 1950's construction did not represent life safety issues, we would still
be designing to 1950's standards.  There are specific reasons why the code
has changed over time.  Non-code compliance is non-code compliance.  If the
structure your client has asked you to evaluate is non-code compliant, the
degree of risk that the particular issues immediately represent is not the
overriding issue, you are professionally obligated to advise your client
that the building is non-compliant.

My two cents worth.  If the issues were enough to make you question your
personal involvement, then they are real issues.
I'd love to hear a follow up regarding what your insurance company had to

Paul Feather

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