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Re: "Code Approval" (was big dig structural failure - epoxy anchors overhead supporting gravity)

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Chuck:

I don't disagree with you that this is what should happen and in reality
many times does happen (i.e. the EOR reviewing the ER and having to
satisfy himself/herself), but it does not change the fact that in the
code's eyes the buidling official approval is the ONLY one that officially
matters from a technical point of view.  Yes, from a practical and real
point of view, a building official will typically approve such alternative
materials after learning that there is an ER and that the EOR has reviewed
and "approved" (but not in the official code view/sense) it.  The fact
that hte building official may have little to no training, education,
expertise in structural engineering matters not one bit.  They are the
final and offical approval, per the code...like it or not.

Now, this does not change the fact that EOR (who is presumably licensed)
has both an ethical and legal responsibility to review and approve/decide
to use such alternative materials.  This derives from the EOR being
licensed and the ethical & legal responsibilities that come with being
licensed.  So, you can damn well be sure that if an EOR does not notice
something stupid in an ER and elects to suggest/require the use of that
product and something happens that was construed to be forseeable due to
the "stupid thing" in the ER, then there is certainly a good possibility
that the EOR will find himself/herself in trouble with the licensing board
and potentially sued in court.

But, also keep in mind that not all projects have an engineer or architect
involved.  And THAT is why the code more than likely places the ultimate,
official approval on a building official, because there are much fewer
situations where a project will not have a building official than where a
project will not have an engineer or architect (and in such situations,
the likely reason that there is not building official is because there is
no code in effect for the area).  Kind of tough for an engineer to approve
the use of some "alternative material" if there is no engineer working on
the project.  Again, from a practical & real point of view, in such a
situation a building official may require the homeowner/contractor to hire
an engineer to review such a proposed alternative material and not approve
the alternative material (from the code's eyes) until the engineer
"approves" it.  Such as situation implies that the engineer approves the
alternative material, but the fact that remains if the building official
does not also approve, it matters not one bit if the engineer approves it
or not.  So, if the building official disagrees with the engineer (for
whatever reason), that alternative material does not get approved for use
on that project.

Regards,

Scott
Adrian, MI


On Tue, 18 Jul 2006, chuck utzman wrote:

> It is the responsibility of the EOR to review the ER & to satisfy
> himself that the item meets the load/serviceabilty requirements of the
> code.  I have seen some stuff with ERs that I'm not comfortable with,
> but have never had a complaint from a CBO in that regard.
> A drawing typically might spec a dozen different pieces of hardware (or
> epoxy mounted items)--from the Simpson catalog for example.  If there's
> something on the drawing that the Plan Checker/Building Official doesn't
> recognize, there might be a request to see the ER (very rare).  The
> Building Department's stamp on the drawing signifies their "approval".
> The idea that there should/could be individual acceptances (letters?) is
> nonsensical.
> Chuck Utzman, P.E.
>
>
>
> Scott Maxwell wrote:
>
> >Jordan:
> >
> >Don't blame the ICC-ES folks...it is DIRECTLY in the CODE that it is the
> >CODE OFFICIAL that approves such "alternative materials".  See section
> >104.11 of the 2000 IBC (I assume it is similar in the 2003, but the 2000
> >was handy).  To quote that section:
> >
> >"The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the
> >installation of any material or to prohibit any desgin or method of
> >construction not specifically prescribed in this code, provided that any
> >such alternative has been approved.  An alternative material, design, or
> >method of construction shall be approved where the building official
> >finds that the proposed design is satifactory and complies with the
> >intent of the provisions of this code, and that material, method or work
> >offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that
> >prescried by the code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire
> >resistance, durability, and safety."
> >
> >Now, personally, I don't see anywhere in that provision where ICC-ES,
> >engineer, or some such is mentioned as being able to approve the use of an
> >alternative material.  I only see "building official".
> >
> >So, don't "yell" at the ICC-ES folks for following what the code says.
> >The IBC (and UBC if memory serves me correctly) only allow for the
> >building official to approve such stuff.  The point is that by law/code
> >the ICC-ES is not empowered to approve squat (ok, maybe they could approve
> >the way that you cut your hair, but that is between you and them).  They
> >are strictly an evaluation service/organization (see section 104.11.1 to
> >see where they "fit" into the picture).
> >
> >Regards,
> >
> >Scott
> >Adrian, MI
> >
> >
> >On Tue, 18 Jul 2006, Jordan Truesdell, PE wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >>Where I am, ICC-ES reports are considered "code approval," and it's a
> >>darned good thing they are, or else nothing would get built. I know a
> >>couple of building officials who will "approve" the use of materials,
> >>but that's because they live and work in the middle of nowhere, and
> >>almost nobody gets sued. Anywhere close to a  city and that answer is
> >>uniformly, "If it isn't in the code, I won't approve it. If an engineer
> >>approves the use of your widget, have them send me a letter and I'll
> >>okay it." Now, I'm not necessarily beneath wanting to be treated like a
> >>building god, but sometimes it get a bit out of hand.
> >>
> >>It's annoying when the "evaluation service" says it complies with code,
> >>but doesn't approve it's use by the code. OMGWTFBBQ?!?! Look, it
> >>complies with the code and is therefore approved for use subject to the
> >>limitations in the report, or it doesn't comply with code. None of this
> >>"is complies with code, but isn't approved unless the BO, who probably
> >>has no technical training whatsoever in the subject application, says
> >>its okay."  The wording, in my opinion, is just lawyer speak for "if you
> >>use it and it breaks, it's not our fault". Bull. If we can't count on
> >>ICC-ES reports to be accurate and complete, we may as well throw them
> >>away and just go with the marketing literature. If a manufacturer pays
> >>for the ICC-ES report, then the results should be binding.
> >>
> >>The ICC is quickly approaching ACI in my "organizations I love to hate"
> >>list.
> >>
> >>Excuse me...time for my medication ;-)
> >>
> >>Jordan
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>Polhemus, Bill wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>>-----Original Message-----
> >>>From: Tom Skaggs [mailto:tom.skaggs(--nospam--at)apawood.org]
> >>>Sent: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:25 PM
> >>>To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> >>>Subject: "Code Approval" (was big dig structural failure - epoxy anchors
> >>>overhead supporting gravity)
> >>>
> >>>I'm not trying to nit-pick your main point, however it is important to
> >>>note that ICC-ES is NOT an "approving agency".  They have issued a very
> >>>good explanation of their role
> >>>(http://www.icc-es.org/News/code-approval.shtml).
> >>>
> >>>-----/Original Message/-----
> >>>
> >>>Man, I love it when a discussion comes up here that exactly matches a
> >>>situation with which I'm currently dealing.
> >>>
> >>>I went to the page you referenced above and found this sentence:
> >>>
> >>>"Evaluation reports on products have been erroneously construed as
> >>>making the decision for the code official rather than providing an
> >>>independent technical resource from which a decision can be justified."
> >>>
> >>>Now, the great majority of situations where this misconstruing has gone
> >>>on, are faits accompli. That is, the engineer's already specified the
> >>>product's use, the contractor's already installed it, and no one is ever
> >>>going to be one whit the wiser as to whether "proper approval" was given
> >>>or not.
> >>>
> >>>However, in my work I deal with the OTHER side of things: There's
> >>>already been a problem, and now we're digging into the "how" and "why."
> >>>And invariably, I come up with things that were done by my fellow
> >>>structural engineers not quite according to Hoyle (or at least the
> >>>building official).
> >>>
> >>>What I want to know is: Do you ALWAYS have to get approval for "widgets"
> >>>like epoxy adhesive anchors that AREN'T specifically covered in the text
> >>>of the model code? That is the kinds of products that the Evaluation
> >>>Reports deal with.
> >>>
> >>>If so, how maddening--and how unfortunate for the designer who meant
> >>>well all along, but to whom it never occurred to think, "oh, I've got to
> >>>make sure the building official approves of this Hilti anchor..."
> >>>
> >>>Comments please.
> >>>
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