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Re: building codes

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----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2004 9:03 AM
Subject: Re: building codes

Most litigations stem from what are often considered serviceability issues - i.e. was the proper corrosion protection specified,  was the w/cm ratio of the concrete appropriate for the service environment,  etc. 
Cracking is another big issue, particularly in post-tensioned structures.  By and large, however, these issues are related to the "structural detailing",  i.e. how the reinforcement is laid out.  This is really not covered in any code or code reference.
In my experience--admittedly not as extensive as some here, I'm sure, but still not insignificant--most issues for which S.E.s get sued and end up paying for one way or another, are almost exclusively construction errors, in the sense that the "contract documents" were not properly followed, and some aspects of them totally ignored.
Please keep in mind that most of these kinds of suits never go to trial but are settled. In the end, very little "truth" comes out of litigation. Money changes hands, and attorneys (on both sides) wax self-congratulatory about the outcome (why not; from their perspective it's "win-win"), but nothing is really "settled" outside of the amount paid out.
I've personally seen engineers cough up when they had nothin whatsoever to do with any such "errors and omissions" as were alleged in the suit--and in the end they did not admit culpability either. They simply paid.
Until and unless states allow SEORs "police power" for their own projects, requiring construction observation by statute and allowing the SEOR to blow the whistle if something is not satisfactory, this is going to continue to be the case. "Public inspectors" tend to be undertrained and--well, I won't say "incompetent" but I left my thesaurus in my other jacket. If you are going to give me responsibility as SEOR, then you'd bloody well better give me authority as well.