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When is an Architect or Engineer Required?

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I know that I need to research this topic more thoroughly--and I intend to
do so--but I'd like some informed opinions from this list if I might.

I have an ongoing forensic job, where a contractor made an extremely botched
attempt at installing new roofs on the buildings of a condominium complex.
This was a major undertaking, in that the project was valued at about
$650,000.

In doing my investigation, I discovered that the owner's association, who
contracted to have this work done, had received "consulting services" from a
"facility consultant." This consultant provided a pretty decent set of bid
documents--essentially a set of specifications--and at least in theory was
responsible for receiving the contractor bids and advising on the awarding
of the bid.

Without going into too much detail, the winning bid appears to have come
from a contractor who did not even attempt to address the bid document, but
faxed in a three-page "this is what we're going to do" proposal which
ignored the spec. For whatever reason, he was given the job.

Ostensibly the "facility consultant" was also engaged to provide
"construction management," which in reality turned out to be having some
young man standing on the roof watching while the contractor did his thing.

This "facility consultant representative," for lack of a more precise term,
never filed any reports that I can see, nor attempted to hold the contractor
to the specification that the contractor was, at least in theory, supposed
to be using in supplying materials and providing installation of the new
roof.

Things came to a head when one of the condo residents, an outspoken critic
of the project from the beginning, "blew the whistle" and informed the City
of Houston Code Enforcement office that the roofing was being done without a
permit. The city "red-tagged" the job, and shut them down.

Bear in mind that part of this project required removal of the old built-up
roof system down to the original plywood decking, laying down tapered lumber
rafters and new decking, and a multi-ply roof membrane on top of that. So
there was some "structural" work going on, and the City correctly pointed
out that a building permit was needed (the contractor, with apparent
agreement on the part of the "facility consultant," had maintained that no
building permit was needed for "refoofing"--as if all that was being done
was replacement of the membrane).

In the end, the roofer had to get a structural engineer to provide some
sealed "plans" for the "design" of the new roof. I won't even attempt to
describe the ridiculous 8-1/2" x 11" document that constituted the "plans."

These "plans" were in turn based on a sketch included by the "facility
consultant" in their bid documents. That sketch showed the tapered rafters
being connected to the existing roof, etc., in what can only be, in my
opinion, an overt attempt to provide structural engineer services.

While the contractor's "plans" WERE sealed by a P.E.--long after the job had
reached the 40% completion mark--they essentially copied what the "facility
consultant" had done.

Now I find out that no one at the "facility consultant" is a licensed
architect OR engineer. Yet they were putting out this bid specification, and
"managing" the project after the bid was awarded, supposedly in terms of
this spec. The "facility consultant" never made any attempt to make sure a
building permit was obtained--and why? Because, at least my own theory goes,
they knew they were not able to seal the bid document with an architect's or
engineer's seal.

What I would like to know is, based on what you have read here, is this not
an illegal attempt to practice unlicensed engineering or architecture?

Comments, please.



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