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Re: structural observation - history?

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Paul and DA
In Ontario, the building code requires what we call site
review by a professional engineer for buildings over
600 sq metres or 3 storeys and designated structures
(any structure the building official feel needs review,
so it gets to include glorified outhouses).  You and the
Owner have to sign a "Form of Commitment to Review" before
the building department will issue a permit.  The review
engineer does not have to be the designer.  At the end of
the job, you have to provide a letter to the building
department stating that in your opinion the construction
in general conformed to the design and building code.
It is convenient way of ensuring payment. No pay, no
letter.  It really bugs me when I haven't been paid but
every one wants my letter so they can open up the building.
Gary


On 3 May 2004 at 18:46, Paul Feather wrote:

> 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
> >
> >
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