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Re: Now I am in a REAL jamb!!

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I believe that we only have an obligation to report a deficient building,
to others than your client,   where the danger is real and significant.  

When it is necessary to bypass your client to report a problem the engineer
can only loose.  First your client will likely not pay for your time in
reporting the problem, second he is not likely to hire you again, and third
you run the risk of being sued by one party or another.  This is a no win
situation and as a result most will do this only when absolutely necessary.

I once had a situation where a client had a unreinforced brick parapet that
was leaning over the playground of a private school and he did not want to
do anything about it.  I consulted with my attorney and the advise I got
was to report the problem in writing to the building official and then drop
it.   Do not discuss the problem with anybody else.

If you report the problem to other parties you might find yourself at legal
risk, while reporting hazards to the building official is relatively safe. 
 Communication (non malicious in nature) with a public official is
considered a form of protected speach that you can engage in with little if
any risk.

Note there are some legal opinions that suggest that if you are hired by an
attorney, acting in a professional capacity, you cannot report hazardous
conditions without his/her permission.

If you ever feel the need to report a hazardous building, to anyone but
your client, call a lawyer before you bypass your client.

Mark Gilligan

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