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

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Ben,

I am not sure I entirely agree with this.  It may be that the City of Los
Angeles transformed Deputy Inspection into being synonymous with Special
Inspection, but I do not believe this was the origin or original intent of
Special Inspection.

Special Inspection was developed as a way to have full time continuous
presence at the job site for specialty or critical items.  The Special
Inspector is historically working primarily for the OWNER'S INTERESTS, not
the building department.  It is the Special Inspectors role to safeguard the
quality of a project for the owner.  The required Special Inspections were
not determined by the building authority, they were developed by the SEOR.
It is the SEOR's quality assurance plan that dictates when and to what
extent Special Inspection is required.  Historically, it has always been the
SEOR requirements that are the basis for Special Inspection.  Welding
Inspections required under AWS are entirely dependent on what the Engineer
deems necessary.  The same is historically true for Concrete and Masonry.
Inspection authority does not include direction of the work or the authority
to make revisions.  Inspection is solely to verify compliance with the SEOR
design drawings.  Historically the planning and detailing of a quality
acceptance inspection program has been vested entirely in the Engineer.  The
required areas of quality control are determined by the engineer in the
interest of protecting not only the public but also the owner, and
indirectly the engineer.  The required level of inspection in many cases
surpasses that required by the building authority.  Special Inspection was
never intended as a means of supplementing building department inspection,
and they are not a substitute for building department inspection.  I agree
that in many instances the additional inspection requirements have become
codified by the building authorities, Masonry for example is unique under
the UBC, however there are still many levels of quality assurance inspection
that are not code requirements and are only necessary when mandated by the
SEOR.

The number one responsibility of the Inspector is to report issues to the
SEOR for resolution.  The governing authority is traditionally copied on the
field reports and correspondence, but it is the SEOR that has ultimate
responsibility for the project and problem resolution, not the building
authority.  Most early practice guidelines on the development of a quality
assurance plan caution against being too highly restrictive and detailed in
case the contractor begins to rely on the acceptance inspection in-lieu of
their own quality control measures.  It is easy to see where the building
authorities would begin to perceive Special Inspection as an extension of
their own requirements.

In either case, you have given me a wonderful historical research topic.  If
anyone has further information on the origination of Special Inspection I
would be interested.



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: Monday, May 10, 2004 8:02 AM
Subject: Re: Special inspection abuses, was (structuralobservation-history?)


> 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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