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RE: Pre-Engineered Metal Building Foundation - Ballpark Design

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There has been a discussion by SEAU to require submittals like this before
you can even apply for a building permit.  Too many of our members have the
same problem.

There are two approaches I have seen used in the past with a fair amount of
success:

1) Dictate requirements to the metal building guys.  Tell them that your
frames will be here, and only here.  With that you can typically estimate
reactions.  You can even make it impossible to build, this will get the
attention of the metal building guys and might get you some feedback.

2) Tell the contractor that you can do anything "for the right price."  You
can guess at frame locations and provide foundations. But because you don't
know the reactions or frame locations, you will oversize the foundations to
account for the frame forces.  You can even provide the same extremely large
foundations everywhere so the metal building guys can put their frame
anywhere.  Contractors are typically very sensitive to cost.  When they
recognize that the metal building guys are costing them money, the
contractor will find a way to get you your answers.

In a more realistic sense, you can dictate pinned bases to eliminate the
overturning variable.  This should help a lot in estimating reactions.  If
the metal building team comes back and says they can do it cheaper with
fixed/fixed frames, tell the contractor its a change order because they
didn't conform to your drawings.

As a last resort (although it is really the best), tell the contractor to
sign the contract with the metal building guys.  What difference does it
make if they sign before or after there is a building permit?  If the
project is real, get the contractor to take the same risk you are.

Jake Watson, P.E.
Salt Lake City, UT

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc]
Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2002 11:14 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Pre-Engineered Metal Building Foundation - Ballpark Design


Greetings.

I'm running into these kinds of jobs from time to time where a developer or
owner wants to proceed with a building which is all or part a metal
building, and needs as much engineering done as possible to get the building
permit, expedite the schedule, and sometimes even for financing.

So, we have an architect's plan, and it has been sent to the metal building
vendor(s) for a quote. We have a geotechnical report. And it's enough for me
to get about 80% done with the foundation, but what I'm finding is the metal
building guy doesn't want to bother with any sort of preliminary design,
understandably, because he doesn't even know if he's getting the contract.
So of course I have no reactions, no base plate dimensions, etc.

I have to explain to the contractor/owner/developer/whatever that I can get
"almost there" but not all the way, and they are puzzled because, of course,
they think all this stuff is just cook-book and only needed because they
can't get a permit without a sealed drawing. Most of the time they're
patient (with the subtext "man, these engineers are a hard bunch to deal
with"), although a few times they've been downright hostile ("I've never had
this problem before. Are you SURE you know what you're doing?")

Anyway, I wonder if anyone else sees this from time to time, and how you
deal with it?



William L. Polhemus, Jr. P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company
Katy, TX, USA
Phone (281) 492-2251
FAX (281) 492-8203
email bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc



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