Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: When is an Architect or Engineer Require

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
To add to Roger's comprehensive work, let me add a few things from local

1. Local jurisdictions here do not require an Architect or Engineer if
the roof is to be stripped and replaced with the same weight material.
Ponding may be due to creep that has been set in due to excessive layers
of composition roofing if this is what existed. 

2. Local jurisdictions also do not consider the need to upgrade any
lateral systems as long as the materials used are a replacement
equivalent to the weight of the materials removed.

3. Plans may be prepared by anyone - including the building owner on a
napkin if the building department is willing to accept this. However,
when a roofing contract or is used, most building departments in this
area do not require a designer or professional to prepare plans and it
is usually the roofer who provides the sketches necessary to add new
materials. These generally show only the footprint of the building and a
copy of the ICBO report for the materials placed on the roof. 

4. An engineer is required when the new materials exceed the older
materials. For example if a roof is sheathed with composition roofing at
4.5 psf and a new tile roof is installed at 5.0 psf - most building
departments will require a professional to verify the capability of the
existing materials to support the new load.

5. Specific specifications for work to be done (a scope of work) is used
to insure uniformity in the bidding process. If the homeowners
association chooses to disregard the specifications this becomes their
prerogative although they also assume responsibility for what is
presented and what is omitted from the original specs. The building
department has no liability or responsibility over who the HOA chooses
to accept.
>From your explanation, the HOA hired the Facilities person to develop a
scope of work and documents so as to obtain uniformity between bids and
then deviated from what was provided to them. The Facilities person may
provide a disclaimer relinquishing him of responsibility should the
project go bad because the HOA has chosen to act on their own and
disregard the conformance to the bid documents. These are issues that
are not related to the building department until the actual project is
submitted for roofing permits and then the building department may only
be interested in the description of the materials, crickets for drainage
and appropriate flashing as well as issuance of an ICBO or similar
product specification.

I'm not sure if this adds a perspective to what Roger has stated, but
most building departments take a very loose view on roofing when done by
a licensed contractor.


-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Turk [mailto:73527.1356(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 7:54 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: When is an Architect or Engineer Require


It appears that the first place to look would be Texas' Architectural
Engineering registration laws regarding the definition of "architectural

services," and "engineering services."

The second place to look would be the jurisdiction's building code,
what is exempt from being performed by a registrant.  (Don't look at
what is 
exempt from a building permit, because all work, exempt from a permit or
has to comply with the building code.)

The installation of tapered joists indicates to me that the building had
ponding problem, and a ponding problem means a potential structural
which means that a Structural Engineer should have been involved.

Now, what specifications was the successful(?) bidder supposed to comply

with?  If he/she sent a letter and said, "This is what I propose .... ,"

without reference to the "facility consultant's" specifications, and the

association accepted it, the specifications by the "facility consultant"
out the window.  They are not part of any agreement now.

But, these fine details are in the area that a lawyer needs to address,
an engineer.  The engineering questions would be:

1. Was the work such that an engineer needed to be involved in preparing
plans and specifications?

2. Was the work such that an architect needed to be involved in
preparing the 
plans and specifications?

3. What is the state law regarding architectural and engineering

4. What does the jurisdiction's building code say about having the plans
specifications prepared by a registrant?

5. Was the contractor's proposed work compliant with the building code 
regardless of whether or not it was prepared by a registrant?


A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Aridzona

Bill Polhemus wrote:

. > 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
. > set of bid documents--essentially a set of specifications--and at
. > in theory was responsible for receiving the contractor bids and
. > 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
. > 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
. > 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

. > Bear in mind that part of this project required removal of the old 
. > built-up roof system down to the original plywood decking, laying
. > 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
. > 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
. > had reached the 40% completion mark--they essentially copied what
. > "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
. > and "managing" the project after the bid was awarded, supposedly in
. > of this spec. The "facility consultant" never made any attempt to
. > sure a building permit was obtained--and why? Because, at least my
. > 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
. > not an illegal attempt to practice unlicensed engineering or

. > Comments, please.

******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
*   Read list FAQ at:
*   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers 
*   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To 
*   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
*   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at) Remember, any email you 
*   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted 
*   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web 
*   site at: 
******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ******** 

******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
*   Read list FAQ at:
*   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers 
*   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To 
*   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
*   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at) Remember, any email you 
*   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted 
*   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web 
*   site at: 
******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********