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

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Paul,

The special inspector, although normally employed by the owner is actually acting on behalf of the building official. The idea was that, since the jurisdictions do not have resources to inspect specialize items on a continuous basis, the jurisdictions would deputize other inspectors as their own to inspect the project. Hence, the tile "Deputy", which is expensively use in LA area became synonymous with "Special".

Their number one responsibility is reporting to the City, although they are required to report to the SEOR also.

Ben Yousefi, SE
Santa Monica, CA

>>> pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net 05/07/04 09:48AM >>>
Ben,

As a point of conversation without digressing in to specific abuses,
inspector qualifications, etc...  A philosophical question:

How do you see the special inspector's role in the overall process?  The
origin of special inspection and the traditional view I hold is that the
special inspector is supposed to be the SEOR's representative on the site to
verify that construction is proceeding in accordance with the SEOR's
drawings and specifications.  They are not supposed to approve, dis-approve,
change, or accept; they are there to observe and report to the SEOR as to
whether the work is or is not in conformance with the SEOR's drawings.  If
the work is not in conformance they are to inform the contractor, and if not
resolved (brought into conformance the only accepted resolution) then they
are to report to the SEOR for resolution.  IF something is unresolved and
deficient it may be necessary to involve the building officials into the
dispute, but this is typically the SEOR's call.  The building officials do
not and never have accepted responsibility for the project, this rests
solely with the SEOR.

How does this fit with the special inspector reporting to and being
accountable to the building department?  Where does the SEOR fit in this?
How does this fit with the real responsibilities and liabilities involved?

Paul Feather PE, SE
pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net 
www.SE-Solutions.net 
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ben Yousefi" <Ben-Yousefi(--nospam--at)ci.santa-monica.ca.us>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Friday, May 07, 2004 9:02 AM
Subject: Re: Special inspection abuses, was (structural
observation-history?)


> Mike
>
> I can see that, not being from our neck of the wood, you don't have clear
picture of how things are done here.
>
> First, the special inspection required by section 1701 of the UBC or 1704
of the IBC is a different animal from the Structural Observation that the
SEOR provides per section 1702 of the UBC or 1709 of IBC. Therefore, it will
never be substitute for the engineer visiting his/her own job site. It's in
addition to that.
>
> Second, Special inspectors are certified in their field by ICC or other
agencies approved by the local jurisdiction. Many of them are quite
knowledgeable about what they do. In fact they may know a lot more about
actual construction practices than a design engineer does. They are required
to be present continuously at the job site while a certain task like
concrete rebar placement, or welding is being performed.
>
> Third, In regard to the cost, we still haven't determined what is the best
way to do this. It's still under consideration. However, the fact of the
matter is whether they will be our own employees or hired consultants, at
the end of the day, they will be accountable to us and will be supervised by
us.
>
> Ben Yousefi, SE
> Santa Monica, CA
>
> >>> hemstad.ml(--nospam--at)tkda.com 05/07/04 07:15AM >>>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Ben Yousefi [mailto:Ben-Yousefi(--nospam--at)ci.santa-monica.ca.us] 
> > Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 9:01 AM
> > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org 
> > 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
>
> Ben,
> 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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