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Re: Ceiling deflection damage caused by   excessive snow - who  is responsible

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Joe, I empathize with you.  Ain't it great working for the gummint--you don't have to be responsible for your own actions; it's sort of like calling the IRS, you can't trust what they tell you.  (That should get me a lot of heated responses  :)  I know there are a lot of good people working for the government, but I hope they realize that they really aren't held to the same standards as those in private practice.) 

And if you're supposed to get answers only from the Head, why isn't the standard response to a question "Talk to the Head."  Along this line, I called 2 building department plan checkers near me with a very basic design load requirement question a week ago.  I couldn't get through to any live person in either city but my recorded message was answered by one city in 2 days, and not yet by the other city.  Their sense of time is also quite different from mine and that of my clients. 

I look forward to discussing this with my colleagues in government agencies.  Reminds me of long ago when I worked for a government agency as a first engineering job.  At 4:55 the rustling began as a low rumble as people got their belongings ready ... and at 5:00:00 pm you'd better not be standing in the corridors!  My particular little group was chastised many times for arriving a few minutes late in the morning, even though we typically worked a half-hour later than "the herd."  The Rules, not reality, were all that mattered to the managers.

Bottom line, you've just reinforced what I wrote:

Isn't this called incompetence?  What's the use of having a building department if they don't catch something as basic--and serious--as this?

Ralph Hueston Kratz, S.E.
Richmond CA USA


In a message dated 3/5/05 12:32:20 PM, Jnapd(--nospam--at)aol.com writes:
Counties and cities am not responsible for their employees lack of knowledge..........
This county said I was negligent because " I should have known the information given to me by the plan checker was not correct"..... a day in the life for engineers.

I designed a project in the same area as Dennis project. I was given 20 psf snow load by the plan checker, as they were filing out the permit his boss walked by and picked up the calc's and noticed the 20 psf snow load and proceeded to tell client this should be 45 psf your engineer screwed up, this needs to be revised.  (this had passed two plan checks at that point) .....The boss told the client that I should have talked to the head engineer not the plan checker.     
Outcome Client refused to pay for time to revise calcs.   
 Made up some time with site visits  Bad lesson learned
This was 14 years ago.