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Re: When is an Architect or Engineer Required?

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Bill,

First of all...welcome back!  It has been a while since we have heard from
you.

As to you question, I don't really have much to add beyond what Dennis and
Roger stated.  To me, the "fishy" thing is the inclusion of the new
tapered rafters.  Without out that, it would sound like a basic, good ol'
re-roofin' job, which around here does not typically involve any engineers
or architect for residential jobs.  No architects or engineers or sealed
plans were required either time I had my roof stripped and re-roofed.  Of
course, all that was done was removal of the old roofing materials and
replacement with nominally the same thing.  To my knowledge, a permit is
still required for such a job, but not the involvedment of a licensed
professional.

Now, my question is were the tapered beams something that the roofing
contractor "inserted" into the work or were they included in the original
"specs" from the "facility consultant"?  In otherwords, was the original
scope in the original spec just to "re-roof"?  If so, then it could be
that the "facilities consultant" was just acting as a "manager" for the
HOA to solicit bids for the re-roofing and did not really do any
"engineering".  If on the otherhand, the original spec included something
like the tapered rafters then maybe something engineering wise was in fact
needed, and the "facility consultant" crossed the line and in effect did
engineering.

You also would need to look at what limits apply to the requirement to
have a professional involved by way of the PE/Arch law.  In Michigan,
anything residental structure under 3500 sq ft does not require a PE or
Arch to seal anyting.  Now, I honestly don't know if that applies to
multi-family residences or not.  Also, the odds are that the buildings in
question were much larger than 3500 sq ft, so it maybe a moot issue.

HTH,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI


On Tue, 15 Jul 2003, 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 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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