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RE: Test and Inspection Reports Catch 22

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Jay,

Good to see you name again.  Been a few years.

$7 is about right for the orginal for Word Processing etc.

After that it's about $0.75 max.

I can even give you the break down if you want.

Arvel

-----Original Message-----
From: Jay Shilstone [mailto:j.s(--nospam--at)shilstone.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2005 12:57 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Test and Inspection Reports Catch 22


Bill,

I work with a lot of concrete suppliers and, believe it or not, they have
the same problem. Often they don't get the test results of their own
material. This happens despite a provision a provision in ASTM C-94, Ready
Mixed Concrete, and in their contract with the purchaser that the
information will be provided. Part of the problem is the enormous expense
involved in sending out reports. We have heard estimates that each copy of
each report sent out costs about $7. Multiply this times the number of
copies and the number of reports, and you have a multi-million $ cost
around the U.S.

Of course, most of this can be eliminated by a good electronic web-based
system. Even though there are a few out there, there is nothing that fits
the bill for everyone. We are working on something, but it will be a year
or so before it is ready.

Good luck in your quest, Sr. Quixote!

Jay Shilstone
The Shilstone Companies, Inc.

At 04:34 PM 4/5/2005, you wrote:
>I am having a hard time getting test and inspection reports sent to me in a
>timely fashion. I need to improve my QA procedures, but I'm not sure what
to
>attack first.
>
>First of all, I must state that the following examples represent my own
>experiences with firms and individuals located here in Southern California
>in addition to information provided to me during the course of my search
for
>Better ways of doing things.
>
>According to two testing labs I have interviewed, both say they only give
>reports to their client, the building official and anyone on a distribution
>list provided by their client.
>
>Usually, the client is the contractor. I know. It's not supposed to work
>this way, but it does (quite often). The contractor is not usually my
client
>nor is the owner for that matter. Usually, I am hired by the architect. I
>usually have very little contact with the owner or the contractor unless of
>course something goes wrong and s/he needs a fix or if s/he has a cheaper
>way of executing a portion of the approved design, but I digress.
>
>Sure, I can put a note on my drawing. FWIW, I have plenty of notes on my
>drawings already. I can put a note on my drawing with a box around it,
>implying that it's an important note. My problem with that approach is that
>it might imply that the other notes are not important.
>
>Heretofore, I have not put a list of "approved" inspectors and testing labs
>on my drawings. I am considering that approach now. But, if the entity
>hiring the testing lab and/or the inspector hires someone else who may be
>well qualified, what recourse do I have?
>
>Of course, none of my problems have occurred on DSA projects or projects in
>L.A. City where the control of the testing labs and deputy inspectors are
>apparently tighter than in the outlying areas.
>
>My quest is general in nature, but it is true I am just finishing up a
>project that has gone really, really bad. The project consists of three
>small (5,000 SF each) masonry commercial buildings. My client is the
>architect who recently relocated out of state. The owner decided to do this
>project "owner/builder" (the plans were approved that way and the building
>official says that state law dictates that they cannot force a contractor
on
>an owner). The "project superintendent" is (very) part time. He's so part
>time in fact that he's given the keys to the jobsite gate to the mason. The
>job required high strength block (slender wall design) and high strength
>grout. One of the preliminary sets of drawings did not have the required
>block strength on the plans, but had the required strength of the grout
>(fortunately). The mason bid (and built) from the preliminary sets. The
>approved set had the block strength on the drawings. The "project
>superintendent" claims that the approved drawings were delivered to the
>jobsite before construction and was even printed on a different color of
>paper so that they would stand out. He also claims that he gave specific
>instruction to the mason that high strength block was required. Of course,
>the mason disputes this and there is nothing in writing (that I'm aware of)
>which reinforces the "project superintendent". Everyone probably knows how
>the story goes. Two and a half buildings are built with 1,800 psi block
>(instead of 3,750 psi block).
>
>I'm sent pictures from the architect (who happened to be in town for a
>weekend) who asked "what do you think?" when he sent the pictures to me. I
>told him that it looked like "practice" if the tests and inspections aren't
>satisfactory. Anyway, to make a much longer story shorter, we did prism
>tests and they were satisfactory (thanks to the grout averaging 5,500 psi!)
>and pretty good workmanship by the mason. It was like pulling teeth to get
>reports. I finally sent a structural observation report to the building
>official who, after reading it, shut the project down within two hours. Of
>course the owner was mad at me and accused me of holding up construction
>just so I could "get my paperwork in order". Sure, the inspector could have
>/should have spotted the wrong block if he were checking for that. I could
>have caught it earlier if I had received material specs early on. Heck,
none
>of this would have happened if I had been invited to a (non-existent)
>pre-construction meeting. Still, I felt like I had little authority to make
>sure the inspections were being done and that the materials used were
>consistent with the design.
>
>I'm now trying to go back and apply hindsight to my QA program, but I'm
>still not certain what I could do that will change anything. Apparently
>there is a big discrepancy in the quality of inspectors and I can't find
the
>right "gun" to put to someone's head to make sure I get the tests and
>reports as they are created.
>
>Any suggestions would be appreciated.
>
>Regards,
>
>T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)
>ALLEN DESIGNS
>Consulting Structural Engineers
>http://www.AllenDesigns.com
>V (949) 248-8588  .  F (949) 209-2509
>
>
>
>
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