Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

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

Re: structural observation - history?

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Structural Observation is still required on many projects, see Chapter 17 of
the UBC.  It is not "enforced" by the building departments the way Special
Inspection is.  There was a period of time where the general feeling was
that the engineer exposed himself to increased liability by walking the job.
I do not agree with this, and I believe the insurance industry is coming
around, if not already encouraging observation.

Special Inspection is a panacea for the building departments.  I could fill
a page with horror stories of inadequate special inspection, special
inspectors who think they are the engineer and start directing or approving
modifications, abuses of inspection for fee (hours), and so on.

The short version is simple.  The Special Inspector is not an engineer, and
is not as familiar with the design as the engineer.  There is no substitute
for having the design engineer "walk the site".  It is in the best interest
of all parties concerned that the job be correctly constructed and perform
as expected.  I prefer to accept the liability of being present on the site.
Also, the design engineer should be the person who walks the site.
Additionally, I think site walks are one of the greatest opportunities to
educate our younger engineers when they are accompanied by the design
engineer.  There is no substitute for seeing things in the real world.  We
are supposed to be mentors for young professionals, and sometimes you have
to do what is right rather than what makes the most sense strictly on the
bottom line.

Yes, it does mean you have to charge more.  On a large project we are not
discussing a significant percentage of the overall fee.  You have to charge
for proper shop drawing review also, but hopefully you would not consider
excluding this service.

If the cost of observation is the difference when we are selected for a
project, we probably didn't want it anyway.  We all profess to want larger
fees and greater respect, but continue to allow ourselves to be treated like
a commodity.  If the client cannot be educated to see the value proper
engineering services bring to the overall bottom line, they will certainly
find an alternative.  The question is, do you want to be that alternative?

Paul Feather PE, SE
pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net
www.SE-Solutions.net
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "da" <dadie(--nospam--at)sbcglobal.net>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Monday, May 03, 2004 5:15 PM
Subject: structural observation - history?


> i'm working in 97 ubc country.  i thought structural observation and
special
> inspections were just part and parcel for every structural engineers
regime.
> i recently went to a meeting and a certain longstanding member of the
> structural community (with his own firm) stated that his firm specifies
> special inspection but does not do structural observation.  the main
support
> for this is the associated liability and his insurance company's
> perspective.  when talking with a local building official after the
meeting,
> i got the idea that it is pretty much each engineer's prerogative whether
to
> provide structural observation or not.
>
> question:  if this happens in your community and you DO provide structural
> observation - how do you compete?  it seems like you have to "throw in
some
> money" for this but that would make you pricier than your competition.  i
> understand that quality clients would know / realize the benefit of having
> the EOR provide this but it seems like most clients are "all about the
> bottom line" and interested just enough to get the project signed off.
>
> tia
> da
>
>
> ******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
> *   Read list FAQ at: http://www.seaint.org/list_FAQ.asp
> *
> *   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers
> *   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To
> *   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
> *
> *   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
> *
> *   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. 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: http://www.seaint.org
> ******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********
>


******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
*   Read list FAQ at: http://www.seaint.org/list_FAQ.asp
* 
*   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers 
*   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To 
*   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
*
*   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
*
*   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. 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: http://www.seaint.org 
******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********