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Metal Building Notes and Other Gripes

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I may be way off base here, and also very hot under the collar.  Please forgive
me if it shows.

On a set of metal building shop drawings there are several notes with which I
have problems.  One of them reads:

"In case of discrepancies between [Metal Building Manufacturer's] structural
steel plans and plans for other trades, [MBM's] shall govern ("Code of Standard
Practice for Steel Buildings and Bridges" in the AISC Manual Section 3.3)."

My reading of this does NOT include metal building drawings, since Design
Drawings are part of the Contracts Documents, which do not include metal
building drawings.

Most of these notes that anger me are clearly directed at the general
contractor, but this standard of practice makes it increasingly difficult to
work with metal building manufacturers.

Also, I appear to be fighting a losing battle insisting Metal Building
Manufacturers design and supply anchor bolts.  It does not seem reasonable to
push design responsibility for building frame anchorage to another engineer who
must then interpret the numerous load combinations and determine those that
govern design.

What I would like, if I am FORCED by an architect or design-build contractor to
incorporate a metal building into a building design, is to work on the
foundations only, and ignore the remainder of the building design.  But when I
begin thinking this through, it occurs to me that the metal building
manufacturer might as well do the foundation, too.  Is this the intention of
various metal building drawing notes and contracts: create an environment that
is hostile to consulting engineers?  For example:

"[MBM] is responsible only for the structural design of the metal building
system it provides.  [MBM] or [MBM's] Engineer is not the Design Professional
or Engineer of Record for the Construction Project.  [MBM] is not responsible
for the design of any components or materials not provided by it or their
interface and connection with the metal building system."

While reasonable on its face, the above note sets up a terrible situation for
general contractors and building owners, not to mention structural engineers. 
Wherease is most projects we can design the building and then follow
construction progress to verify compliance, metal building drawings and design
practice is rapidly moving toward forcing engineers to continue their design
work after construction has begun.  If there are any delays, it becomes the
design engineers fault (even if the blame is eventually assigned elsewhere),
and our reputations are reduced.

So far, I've come away clean, but I'm beginning to shy away from metal
buildings, despite their presumed cost advantages.

I'm eager to hear what others, including engineers employed by metal building
manufacturers, have to say about these and similar issues.

-Keith Fix, PE
-Little Rock, Arkansas


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