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RE: Special Inspection

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The special inspection seismic requirements were born out of the BSSC QA Technical Subcommittee in the NEHRP process.  The complexity of the design and construction for seismic systems was seen to necessitate special inspection for particular systems.  I think that it is a good idea for many gravity systems as well.  What is in the code is a minimum.  As the designer, you can require it elsewhere.  I have done so many times on many projects. 


Special inspection has become a "California" thing over the years, but has its roots further back to the Hyatt walkway failures.  The city inspectors were accused of not doing their job.  Many people involved in the performance studies saw that inspection was a problem.  It would not have saved the Hyatt, but it was a big issue.


Some areas have good inspection programs, others do not.  Again as a result of the Hyatt, Kansas City's program is pretty good.  Their definitions are a little different than what is used in California.


Check it out the following web sites:


Where I have the control, I like to approve the qualifications of the special inspectors.  There are many who are not qualified.  The term Deputy Inspector is a local governmental entity.  Kansas City has similar titles and the people are defined in their manual. 

Harold O. Sprague

-----Original Message-----
From: GSKWY(--nospam--at) [mailto:GSKWY(--nospam--at)]
Friday, October 31, 2003 10:04 AM
Subject: Special Inspection


Although this is probably discussed in something I should have read,  I thought I'd ask anyways ...


What is the rational behind requiring special inspection based on Seismic Performance Category?  I understand the definition of "special inspection" to be inspection paid for by the owner, as opposed to inspection by the building department.


This seems to imply that if you are in an area with a low risk of earthquakes,  it doesn't matter that your concrete is cr*p and you have left out half of the reinforcing steel.


Also, insurance companies advise engineers never to use the word "inspect" in their reports.  How can you not do that, when the Code sections on special inspection uses the word about two dozen times?


Finally, the term "Deputy Inspector" seems to be a California thing.  How is it defined?  Did it come out of SEAOC literature?


Gail Kelley