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Re: Structural Observation

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Designing to avoid "special inspection" is done all the time. We use half
stresses to avoid a deputy inspector being required.
With regard to structural observation reports, we are required to note
any "observed deficiencies" and to note "none" if none are observed.

Stan Scholl, P.E.
Laguna Beach, CA

On Fri, 11 Oct 2002 12:04:46 -0400 Peter Griem <griem(--nospam--at)>
> Observation and inspection are two totally different things.  
> If I were to perform an observation, I'd walk the site and write a 
> field
> report saying something like "Foundation walls were 50% 
> complete....Steel
> erection has begun..." and only point out problems that were obvious 
> during
> a quick walk through.
> If I were performing an inspection, I'd monitor the laborers putting 
> up
> forms, I'd check the rebar size, spacing, surface conditions, etc. 
> and write
> something like "Rebar size, spacing, clear cover etc. etc. etc. at 
> column
> H-7 were inspected prior to concrete placement, no exceptions were 
> taken."
> I'd find out what they expect you to do.  One obviously carries a 
> lot more
> liability.  We expect to make a couple of Observation trips as part 
> of our
> basic services.  Inspections are another contract.
> In Connecticut Special Inspections programs are almost routinely
> administered by the Engineer of Record.  It's nothing more than a 
> quality
> assurance program that is specified - and in the best cases 
> administered by
> - the structural engineer. Testing labs work as an agent for the
> administrator of the program - namely THE Special Inspector.  The 
> whole
> program is based on the code requirements of Chapter 17 of any of 
> the model
> building codes. (At least BOCA, IBC, or UBC - I think Southern 
> Building Code
> has something similar, but not nearly as sophisticated.)
> It's mind boggling how different this is practiced across the U.S.  
> We once
> hired someone who said his office in Kentucky intentionally designed 
> to
> avoid Special Inspections.  (I'm not sure how you do that.)
> Peter Griem, P.E. 
> Glastonbury, CT  
>  -----Original Message-----
> From: George Richards P.E. [mailto:george(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 11:32 AM
> To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
> Subject: RE: Structural Observation
> Verne,
> Make the call yourself and put in on the plans that way.  The city 
> is only
> saying "We believe it prudent for the EOR to walk the project."  At 
> that
> point your professional judgment comes into play.   We consider 
> three visits
> appropriate for a house.  Prepour, framing prior to roof being 
> papered, and
> a final peek just before insulation.  By the way we offer Site 
> Observation
> to our clients for ALL projects and price it for them BEFORE we do 
> the work.
> That way there is no argument latter.  Also not offering Site 
> Observation is
> like going to the doctors for an operation and and the doctor not 
> wanting
> you to come back two weeks later for a follow-up exam.  Bad 
> profession
> practice.
> George Richards, P. E.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: VerneK(--nospam--at) [mailto:VerneK(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 6:17 AM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Structural Observation
> This has happened to me on numerous occasions.  In residencial 
> projects,
> structural site observations is generally not required by the UBC 
> unless it
> falls under the requirements of Chapter 16 (Na>1, etc... can't 
> remember the
> exact section).  It
> has however been a requirement by some citiy's building official 
> that a site
> observation be made (i.e.  City of Dublin, CA) regardless if it is 
> required
> by the
> UBC or not...  That doesn't bother me too much, however... they have 
> always 
> come back with a questionaire that asks...what structural items do 
> you need 
> to look at?  It seems to me that if they are the one requiring the
> structural observations,  shouldn't they be the ones telling us what 
> to look
> at?
> Verne 

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