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RE: Wood Grading Stamp

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This is always an interesting dilemma.


Engineer specifies a grade and species of lumber. Contractor supplies an alternate (less costly??) solution without asking first. Engineer is asked to “approve” the change on the fly. Owner may or may not know what s/he’s getting. (But usually no credit is give back) Engineer bills for time spent. Owner may or may not pay invoice.


An effective argument to the contractor (if you are confident in your recommendation) is to ask for what’s on the drawings or to formally request a change order such that the owner can evaluate whether the change is equitable and worthy. It’s slows everything down and allows everyone to see who’s on first.


Barry H. Welliver



From: Jordan Truesdell, PE [mailto:seaint1(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005 9:26 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Wood Grading Stamp


That argument is, excuse my language, bullsh!t. I wouldn't sign off on it unless the timbers were massively overdesigned and I knew that I could make the job work with absolutely lousy wood. 

The best thing to do is to make him get the timbers graded and accept a letter of grading from a properly trained expert.  Let him know that if the grade is weaker, he'll have to pay for a re-analysis and may still need to get stronger timbers based on your new analysis and the timeber grade he has.

joraljim(--nospam--at) wrote:

I designed a small wood dock structure supported on 8"x8" timber elements. In the contract documents, I specified that the each piece of lumber shall have a grade stamp of grading agency.

The contractor provides timber elements without any stamp, arguing that the timber are "rustic" elements.

Is that argument acceptable?

Jorge Jimenez, EIT

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