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RE: Plan Check Corrections - Engineers responsibility

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<<  Can the architect contact BORPELS to file a complaint against the EOR if a permit can not be pulled until the corrections are complete? Can the architect hire another engineer to supply the calculations needed and have the architect wet-stamp the details and calculations provided to him?  >>
I believe the answer is "YES" to both accounts.  I've read instances where the Board has taken action against an engineer that did not fulfill his contractual agreements with the Client.  HOWEVER, if the engineer did not specifically state whether or not he was going to address plan corrections, the architect is in a tough position.  The architect is perfectly allowed by the California BPC to stamp and sign structural details, so it would be an easy "out" for the engineer to say that addressing plan correction issues was not part of their agreement since the architect can take responsibility for the whole thing, including corrections.
This opens the whole can-of-worms related to the word "responsibility":  The Architect's Practice Act allows an architect to be in responsible charge of a wide variety of structural projects (schools and hospitals are the only exemptions I am aware of), so I believe it would be within an architect's scope of work to hire an alternate structural engineer to design some element for him, then he would stamp that calculation and detail(s).  If that architect stamps/signs the calcs and detail, he is now accepting responsibility for that work -- a smart engineer will come up with some verbiage to clearly explain his scope of work, recognizing the fact that the architect can legally assume responsibility for the whole project.  I think the architect could even hire several structurals to design different parts -- as long as the architect is stamping all parts of the submittal package, he can assume responsibility for the whole shebang.  If the plan checkers are asking for something to be done, and it is agreed that this does in fact need to be done (sounds like it needs to be addressed), the architect needs to make sure it gets done regardless of which engineer he hires.
I'd be very hesitant on the whole "report the guy" scene, since there are likely a lot of "contractual" things going on behind the scenes and it seems like a resolution can be found somewhat painlessly.  Lesson learned by the architect:  Don't use that engineer anymore.
Dave Adams, S.E.
Lane Engineers, Inc.
Tulare, CA
-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis Wish [mailto:dennis.wish(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2003 8:36 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Plan Check Corrections - Engineers responsibility

An architect I have known for over ten years contacted me a few days ago to help him solve a problem on a custom home that he designed. The engineer that he used has worked with him for over 15 years. The home uses Trus-Joist TJI floor joists that cantilever out to form the balcony at the second floor. He has attached a rim joist and showed the detail for the sheathing and finish on his plan.
The plan check agency wants a detail to show how the manufactured glass railing is attached to the end of the balcony. The Architect showed a conventional lumber balcony framing and at the end a 4x rim joist. The mullion for the railing was shown to be bolted down through the center of the beam at some uniform spacing. The connection is a threaded rod with a plate washer and nut that is recessed into the rim beam. The balcony framing (whether TJI or 2x) is cantilevered out from the floor framing. The framing is covered with plywood nailed to the top of the rim beam and joists. The sheathing is topped with lightweight concrete. 
The plan checker asked to show that the beam won't fail when a 200 pound lateral load is applied at the railing 42" above the deck.
I reviewed his problem and gave him my opinions;
1. There needs to be a step down (1 or 1-1/2 inch) from the 2nd floor level to the balcony to prevent water from flowing back into the house if there is no slope to the balcony joists (the TJI's are not sloped). This does not seem to be an issue in the TJI catalogs as it was a few years ago when they had step down joists or cantilevers designed by extending Microlam's; sawn lumber or Timberstrand joists extended in the web of the TJI's.
2. I believe that the sheathing nailed to the top of the beam will prevent rotation in the rim beam, but I see that if you pull on the railing there would be a possibility that the connection of the beam to the end of the joists might fail in pull-out strength of the connection.
3. I suggested he recommend to his engineer that a Simpson LTT strap be used where the failure is likely to occur. For safety reasons, I would use on one each joist alternating between top and bottom so that the rim-beam is tied back to the joists at top and bottom (where the couple is likely to occur).
His engineer is refusing to deal with this issue and the architect asked if I would intervene. If this were conventional construction, I believe I could take care of the non-compliant portions of the home, but in this case there is an Engineer in Responsible Charge who is, in my opinion, required to complete the plan check requirements.
Can the architect contact BORPELS to file a complaint against the EOR if a permit can not be pulled until the corrections are complete? Can the architect hire another engineer to supply the calculations needed and have the architect wet-stamp the details and calculations provided to him?
I don't think this is such a difficult problem and don't understand why the engineer of record will not complete the design. I've reviewed his drawings and details and other than the coordination between the architect, who shows conventional sawn lumber, and the EOR who specifies TJI's, the drawings are light on details, but adequate compared to what I have seen out here.
Your opinions would be appreciated.
Dennis S. Wish, PE
Caught in the Middle