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RE:Steel column tolerances

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First I agree with Charlie that stopping the columns for the beams is
unusual.  I would expect this approach to be more expensive to fabricate
and errect.

The real issue is that you are being drawn into a battle between two subs. 
Assuming that this is a conventional situation where there is a General who
is in responsible for the  completed structure, then your responsibility is
limited to stating what is accepted technically.  You need to make sure
that what you require is feasible to construct  but as long as you allow
shims I do not see a problem.  Beyond this point the General Contractor
should sort it out.  These issues seem to be less of a problem if the
fabricator also handles the errection.

For a low rise building I would be inclined to accept a 1/8" variation per
floor but I would bring it to the General Contractors attention that it may
be necessary to accomodate this variation in other non structural systems. 
Talk with the Architect.  The bottom line is that you do not want to get
drawn into means and methods issues.  You do need to understand the issues
in order to understand any hidden problems but otherwise ask that it be
built according to the constructin documents.

A key question is what tolerances did you specify.  If the tolerances
addressed the elevation of the beam at the column then it is the
Contractors problem to make it  work.  If you did not specify tolerances to
deal with this issue your choices are to either accept what they give you
or to expect a claim for additional costs.

Mark Gilligan

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