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Re: Metal Building Notes and Other Gripes

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Keith

Although I cannot take credit for these specific notes you referenced, I can tell you I frequently add similar notes to my plans. Reason being is simple. A note is a way of documenting who is the responsible party for a given aspect of the building. Metal buildings have become so diverse in application and construction materials and what the metal building manufacture will provide has virtually remained the same, the skeleton primary and secondary steel. So what then happens is someone like yourself is hired lets say to design the tilt-up-shear walls, foundation, and act as the EOR. Since It is not in my scope to  design the shear walls or foundation, I must make clear by the way of some note that I and my company, are in no way responsible for ANY item that has not been designed by me, and is being handled by an outside party that I have no control over. These notes are designed as an "eye opener" lets say, so one is aware of what I and the company did and provided, to what somebody else does after they get the building or incorporation to my design. If God forbid something happens to this building, I need to have clear documentation in the court of law, for an average citizen, a jury lets say, of what I am responsible for and what you are responsible for. Also, there are many items, which need special attention that I will try to document in a note form for the EOR to recognize a potential problem. For instance, if we have a non-load bearing, non shear tilt-wall attaching to a sidewall of my building, there could be a problem with attachment of the two systems. Or if we go next to an existing building, I know what seismic separation is required from my building deflection, but who is responsible for determining the deflection of this existing building I know nothing about, and ultimately the total seismic separation required for both buildings. Point is, I can only take the ball so far, meaning there is a lot going on Im not made fully aware of and I have to disclaim the responsibility of these items. Ultimately the EOR is the one observing construction and use of all designed parts from all the engineering firms involved with the project, and it is he who is responsible for the comparability of all these items for correct combined usage. These notes are not meant to make someones life hell, but to provide a clear understanding of what everyones responsibility is and what my scope of work included.

The anchor bolt issue. I can tell you that I am designing the anchor bolts for shear and tension, but since we do not provide foundation services, we do not supply ABolts nor design foundations to handle the reactions. For most cases, the foundation is long been poured before my pieces of the puzzle are sent to the site.

Hope I helped 

Ryan Lawton
Modesto, CA




>>> kefix(--nospam--at)yahoo.com 11/26/02 07:44AM >>>
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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