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Re:Design ground accelerations

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The geotech report is not always available prior to the structural
engineer submitting the fees to the client for a project.  In my neck of
the woods, it is common for the structural engineer to at a minimum
prepare the RFP for the geotech report and even potentially even pay
the geotech as a sub-consultant (grant most of my experience is working
for an A/E firm, so "we" the architect too).

Thus, it is entirely likely that the structural engineer's contract is
based upon the presumption that the project will strictly be at a minimum
designed for code level loading and that the owner has not elected to have
the design done for some higher level (thus, willing to pay more both in
design time AND contruction materials).

If this is the case, then the building official would likely be
techinically out of bounds to require anything above and beyond code level
provisions.  Actually, even _IF_ the owner wanted (and paid for) something
beyond colde level provisions and included such in the contract with the
SE (and the geotech), it is STILL not really the role of the building
official to enforce that.  The role of the building official (at least as
I understand it) is to enforce the minimum life safety requirements, which
happen to be the adopted building code requirements, and NOT the
contractual requirements.  It is the client's lawyer who is responsible to
"enforce" the contractual requirements.

So, it seems to me, unless this code official/plan reviewer can site a
code provision that would give the requirements in the geotech report some
legal bite, it is likely that the code official/plan checker is out of
bounds.  The exception to this would be if the plan checker was actually a
peer reviewer hired strictly by the owner to review the project from the
owner's interests (this is unlikely from the tenor of Lynn's original
post, but it was not completely clear that this was a plan checker for
code level review, so it is theoretically possible) and NOT the plan
checker for the code complaince review for the code official.

HTH,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI


On Fri, 13 Sep 2002, G Manandhar wrote:

>
>
> The code is the minimum requirement.   Additional requirements per the geotechnical report would have to be considered if they are more stringent than the minimum code requirements.  I agree with Mark that the geotechnical engineer should not require performance based design unilaterally; however once it is documented, I believe the plan checker is within bounds when he asks for performance based design.  After all, the geotech report is part of the project document.
>
> Also, should the engineer be sued at a later date, can he defend himself as to why he did not follow the geotech report.  After all, the client paid for the geotech report and handed the report to you before you quoted your fees.   What would your defense be if the client insisted that he gave you the geotech report and expected you to follow the geotech?s recommendation (and since you did not raise the issue of performance based design, he believed your fees included performance based design)?
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Mark Gilligan <MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)compuserve.com>
> Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2002 11:48:07 -0400
> To: "seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org" <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
> Subject: Subject: Re:Design ground accelerations
>
>
> > While it is the geotech's responsibility to characterize the ground motion
> > he should do this in the context of the requirements of the building code.
> > The need to perform a performance based design is not something that is
> > within the providance of the geotechnical engineer to unilaterally require.
> >  Baring a requirement for special analysis in the building code, the
> > structural engineer is only required to undertake  special design
> > procedures if his/her contract with the Owner so requires.
> >
> > It is likely that the geotechnical engineer in this instance has only
> > reported the expected ground motion.
> >
> > The structural engineer should challange the geotechnical engineer if he
> > sees something that does not make sense.  The geotech is just another
> > consultant and does not exist in a vacum.
> >
> > Occasionally some plan reviewers will interpret code provisions in ways
> > never intended by the authors of the code.  It is possible that this is
> > what has happened.  When this happens it is totally appropriate to
> > challange the reviewer.  While the building official has wide lattitude he
> > should use restraint when going beyond the intent of the code and the
> > standard of practice in the profession.
> >
> >
> > Mark
> >
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > -----
> > Lynn,
> >
> > As I have worked as a plan reviewer, I can tell you that your reviewer is
> > correct from his point of view. You as a structural designer should conform
> > with code and input data. The geotech report is exactly input data for you
> > and it is your problem to show compliance with both code and input data. It
> > is beyond structural designer's power to judge why the geothech engineer
> > has included such a requirement.
> >     From your point of view you are trying to avoid time consumption for
> > the PBD, as far as you have a design project ready. If you can't get along
> > with the reviewer you should ask the building official for clarification
> > whether compliance to UBC is enough or evidence that the building can
> > withstand prescribed accelerations should be provided. When you receive his
> > answer -apply it in design documentation and act accordingly.
> >
> > HTH
> > Georgi Stoyanov
> >
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