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Special inspection abuses, was (structural observation -history?)

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ben Yousefi [mailto:Ben-Yousefi(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 9:01 AM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Special inspection abuses, was (structural observation -
> history?)
> Or, as we are getting ready to implement here, the 
> jurisdiction could get involved in administrating the special 
> inspection program.
> We all have seen much abuse and inadequate enforcement in 
> special inspection practice. So, Santa Monica is getting 
> geared up for taking control of the special inspection 
> program. We will hire the special inspectors ourselves, 
> assign them to projects, and oversee the quality control of 
> their working practices. The owner will deposit a certain 
> percentage of the construction cost at the beginning of the 
> project and we will deduct the actual cost of the inspection 
> from it as construction progresses. 
> Ben Yousefi, SE
> Santa Monica, CA

With all due respect, are you sure that's a good idea?  I've seen state
DOT inspectors who got on county bridge jobs by "bidding" out their
services with artificially lowered overhead rates.  We in the private
sector felt our tax dollars were particularly well spent costing us work
inspecting bridges we had designed.

>From an economic point of view, the workload for these people will be
pretty unsteady. If all they're hired for is inspections, their
utilization will be low enough that the private sector would never
justify it.  How can you?  That's why governmwent agencies hire
consultants.  Even with our astonomical 15 percent profit margins, we
cost about the same when we're working for you, and when we're not we
don't cost you anything.

Perhaps more germaine to this conversation, will they be engineers?  If
not, I don't think they're qualified to do some of the work.  If they
are engineers, they still aren't as qualified as the person who designed
(and sealed) the building.  That design engineer will still be held
responsible if anything goes wrong.  Now you've made it effectively
impossible for him or her to inspect it.  I don't even want to start on
the stories of some of the municipal inspectors I've seen.  These guys
don't grow on trees.  They're usually hired from contractors and brought
up through the residential flatwork inspection arena.  Now suddenly
you're going to use these guys to replace the design engineer.

Good luck. I'm glad I'm not paying taxes in your area.

Mike Hemstad, P.E., S.E.
St. Paul, Minnesota

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