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Re: OSHA 4-bolt column anchorage

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            Harold Sprague wrote, “Frankly, those of involved in EPC construction can't avoid the liability (as a company), so I have no problem in developing erection plans. But the general consulting industry may have some barriers.”


            Funny thing you should say that just now. I have been involved with two erection stability plans this week. One I did myself after our consultant did it and sent us plans, but then his boss, in another office in another state, refused to seal it because it was not in their scope (our scope language with them will be clear next time). Further, when I requested their calculations so I could review them carefully and seal them myself, they refused saying I could not do that either.

            The other building was designed by another consultant and we (the precaster) were always going to do the erection stability plan. An unlicensed colleague was watching the consultant throughout the project then he did a careful job of stating just what the erector had to do when and backed it up with calculations.

            Despite the first consultant’s behavior, we are finding that the consultant community is beginning to realize that if we determine with our erector just how he wants to work and convey that to the consultant, he can analyze the partial building just as he already analyzed the completed building helping us find the important situations. So the consultant does no means and methods directly: we define those. The consultant just applies those to a partially completed structure, just as he would apply the shear wall or braced frame stability analysis to a completed structure. The main result is more work for the consultant.

If the design engineer _helps_ with the erection stability plan and there is an accident he will be sued. If the design engineer _does not help_ with the erection stability plan and there is an accident he will be sued. I’m not sure why the insurance carriers are so myopic. More work for the consultant is more revenue for the consultant thus more revenue for the insurer, as most policies are a fraction of revenue, right? And the risk of an accident during construction is lower if the engineer who knows the building most intimately is involved, so the exposure to a suit should decrease. Finally, the exposure is of limited duration, not the building lifetime.

Just like Harold, I know many of the people on our erection crews and some of them on our subcontract crews. An accident would affect me personally.

I’m not very good with insurance regulations, though: my bank’s drive-through window has a sign saying they cannot serve walking customers due to insurance regulations. Just beyond the drive-through is the ATM. So I may not walk up to the drive-through, but could be knocked over by a car leaving the drive-through while standing at the ATM.

Jim Getaz

Precast Concrete Engineer