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Re: Technical Reviews

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Mine in red
Thor A. Tandy P.Eng MIPENZ
Victoria BC
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 6:55 AM
Subject: Technical Reviews

..............The guidelines state that all structural designs must be checked by a qualified engineer other than the preparer, and the regulations require that all designs governed by the building code must additionally undergo a
"conceptual review" by an experienced engineer not directly involved in the design. And they have an auditing procedure to verify that firms are complying with the requirements. This is a very aggressive - and very
impressive - approach to ensure quality in structural designs. I would be interested in hearing from some BC structural engineers on how well this is working - are owners willing to pay the necessary fees to accomplish these goals? Have there been any problems with this approach?
The auditing is a process called "Practice Review", and involves a random selection of engineers for review of their practices with respect to design, checking, general approaches etc. 
Companies have been doing checking and concept reviews for some time now.  They have the staff to do it.  The reviews are usually included in the fees: the client doesn't need to know.
Sole practitioners, however, have a difficult road.  They have to find a reasonable "other" to do the reviews.  The fee impact is sometimes significant if the "other" gouges.  For myself, we have a small peer group that assists with these issues. 
Overall, the procedure is good, since even the best of us will forget to check something or make a bad assumption etc.  That being said, at the residential/commercial level, the quality of engineering is till a function of what may/may not be decided on site!
Problems?  None significant, except, it can sometimes extend the design time, but most engineers continue while the review is being done, and some engineers may still see it as a slight to their professional egos.  But above all, it's in the rules, and if someone gets in trouble with the design, and it is found not to have been reviewed, that's a problem!