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Re: Connections

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North Carolina has something similar in their law as far as buildings owned by the state or by a local government. I'm going from memory here, but I saw a comment once from the state office that reviews construction documents for school construction where they objected to some light gage trusses where we called for the actual design to be done by the truss supplier, similar to the way prefabricated wood trusses are done. The reviewer included a copy of a statute that said something to the effect that contractors are prohibited from writing specifications or designing parts of projects where the state, a city, a county, etc. was the owner. So their law prohibited the contractor from engineering anything, as opposed to "exempting" them as in the Alaska law you describe. Instead of being part of licensing law, I imagine the NC law was probably intended to keep contractors from writing the specifications so that they had an unfair advantage.

I wasn't directly involved with that project, so I didn't get to dig into it and fully investigate. It raised tons of questions in my mind though, such as how you could ever use prefabricated wood trusses, precast concrete, or metal buildings on a government-owned project in NC, since these items are designed by the contractor based on a performance specification.

So let me ask you, in Alaska does the law prevent even a metal building from being designed by the supplier's engineer? Are they prohibited from stamping the metal building drawings? I know that if I had to design metal buildings or prefabricated wood trusses myself and show the details on my drawings, it would be a rare occasion when I would ever use them.

Rick Burch
Columbia, SC

Haan, Scott M. wrote:

Alaska state licensing law exempts specialty contractors from the
practice of engineering when creating shop drawings. Do other states
have similar provisions?
Under this Alaska's scenario the engineer is responsible for showing
design intent on the plans and the intent of the law is that a specialty
contractor can come up with the shop drawings or placing drawings based
on the engineers design intent.
Typical details for simple connections on plans show design intent.  If
the connections are not detailed on the plans by the engineer then it
leaves the design intent to the fabricator who is exempt from the
practice of engineering.  If the engineer does not do some typical
details showing design intent then the fabricator is left to come up
with the design.  This violates the intent of my state's licensing law.
In Alaska if the engineer is not going to design the connections then
the engineer should make sure that the connections still get engineered
by someone else.
1997 UBC 1633.2.3 said it best.  2000 IBC 1603.1.8 has fuzzier language.
Seismic resisting connections should at least have typical details on
the plans to show design intent.

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