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Re: Is this a Structural Observation or an Inspection?

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The city's plan checkers, building inspectors, etc. all enjoy "sovereign immunity". You can't sue the King (dates back to the Magna Carta IIRC).  The building inspector is never "hanging out there" (unless he's taken a bribe). If you've ever done much forensic work you would realize how little quality control you get from the city inspections.

 IMO the best way to get the structure you want is to do structural observation. Here in Marin Co. most jurisdictions are pretty good about requiring it. (The county inspectors typically won't schedule their "inspections" until they receive a FAX from the EOR notifying them that he is satisfied--usually for rebar & hardware, epoxy mounted hardware. diaphragm nailing, LFRS, & structural framing.. Plus special inspections for welding, high strength concrete, etc.)

My contract & G/N both require (& explain) it, & now most plan checkers are asking for another separate set of  notes on the face of the drawing restating the requirements. (And it still doesn't always happen.)
Chuck Utzman, P.E.

Bill Allen, S.E. wrote:

Bill –


If I had a situation as described by Gary, I would immediately issue an amended Structural Observation report which would include the actions of the building inspector.


T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)


Consulting Structural Engineers

V (949) 248-8588

F (949) 209-2509


-----Original Message-----
From: BCainse(--nospam--at) [mailto:BCainse(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Saturday, April 16, 2005 4:42 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Is this a Structural Observation or an Inspection?


In a message dated 4/16/2005 10:29:30 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, T.W.Allen(--nospam--at) writes:

Gary -

My first paragraph in my structural observation reports states in detail
that the SO is not an inspection and does NOT replace any mandated

So....IMO, his ass would still be hanging out there in my case for whatever
liability there might be which I believe is probably fairly minimal.

This is the exact wording of my first paragraph:

In accordance with project requirements, I visited the site on xxx, 200x for
the purposes of performing a structural observation. This event does not
replace the need or the requirement for inspections by representatives of
the building department or inspections required for items specified on the
construction documents identified as "special inspection required".


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


I would concur that he's still "hanging out there" but I bet he doesn't realize it!


Bill Cain, SE

Berkeley CA