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RE: Is this a Structural Observation or an Inspection?

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Even though structural observation visits seem like structural inspections, they are not.  Inspection [except for those provided by the building department] implies that the inspector watched everything go together.  Construction Observation is performed after the assembly is completed and is unable to verify all aspects of the assembly.  Be careful not to imply that you have conducted an inspection – you can’t see it all.


Nels Roselund, SE

South San Gabriel, CA


From: Mark Pemberton [mailto:markpemberton(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, April 15, 2005 10:44 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Is this a Structural Observation or an Inspection?



My structural observations are becoming more and more like structural inspections.  In some counties if there is any issues with the structure during my visit, I'm asked by the building department to make a follow up "structural observation".  Placer County seems to have four minimum required; retaining wall foundation, foundation, shear, and final framing.  Everything has to be perfect prior to the inspector's visit or you get bonus visits requested.  Maybe I'm being a pushover for doing all the extra visits, but I'm not sure where the line between due diligence and exploitation of services (O.K. a bit harsh) is drawn.  (I've had waaaay too much coffee today!)


Mark Pemberton, S.E.

Pemberton Engineering

Davis, CA

"Bill Allen, S.E." <T.W.Allen(--nospam--at)> wrote:

I'm working on a project in Yorba Linda, California which is now under
construction. I'm trying to schedule a structural observation. I wanted this
to occur after the city inspector has been there. The contractor has
informed my client (the architect) that the city requires a letter from the
architect or engineer that "stating that they are accepting of the work"
(words from architect, not city - I'm trying to get clarification now)
before the inspection by the City.

Isn't this problematic? Two things bother me. The first one is the word
"approve" (rather than "no exceptions taken" or "did not observe any
conditions contrary to the design" or something to that effect). The other
thing is writing this letter prior to inspection. Is this to get the
inspector off the hook?

Anyone have any experience with this?


T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)
Consulting Structural Engineers
V (949) 248-8588 . F (949) 209-2509

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