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re: real life seismic test

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Don,
My comments were rooted in the residential market, based on posts on seaint and private discussions with engineers on this list from all over the country, and my own experience in Central FL (ableit this is a very limited geograhpic exposure).
 
There is plenty of blame to go around in the lack of quality in residential construction. What bothers me it is not due to an overall lack of knowledge or technical ability. It is due to a series of problems- poor design, poor plan review, poor construction, poor inspection.... It just really bothers me 50+ years after we launched rockets into space an hour from my house, we still have problems getting a two-story house DESIGNED and built correctly.
 
I have seen some really bad drawings done by engineers and architects that are to blame for many of the problems. I also have been called by my contractor clients to help clean up other people's messes and bail them out of a permitting and inspection nightmares. Often I find the root of the problem is in the dwgs, then compounded by field errors.
 
Personally, I WANT contractors to call me ASAP with any problems with my drawings or any difficulties in interpretation, or conflicts with arch dwgs... Hopefull before the problem is in a BUILT condition. My goal is that the structure gets built as close as possible to the design intent of my dwgs, and I will help interpret that in any way I need to. I feel I am very proactive and will fix any issues to keep projects moving. I don't know if I messed something up or designed something difficult to build unless someone tells me or lets me do some CA and look at my design being built.
 
My main irritation is that many GCs blatantly do not follow a detail or aspect in our dwgs, or mess up and try to fix it themselves, then call after they fail inspection needing a letter or fix detail, basically, "bless my mess".  Just last week on a small commercial office we get a call and the framer is asking where our post embed call outs are. I am driving so I say we usually put those on the foundation plan next to our post and foundation call outs. He claims they are not there and I swear from memory they are. After looking at the dwgs we see they are clearly called out, he missed them, they placed the slab/ftg without the embed, and what they meant to ask is, "We missed the embeds, can you spec another connection for us?" But instead of just coming out with it they were beating around the bush, wasting everyone's time because all we have to do is spec another epoxy bolt base connection....
 
Like Jordan was implying, especially in residential, either nobody wants to pay for us to do CA or they have had too many bad experiences with calling engineers for help in the past. I can only change one mind and one project at a time. We are all human and make mistakes on both sides of the fence. I think that builders have a very tough job and I am always impressed seeing how they put things up from lines on a paper...
 
Now with commercial projects, this still happens, but if there is an RFI process that is closely followed, this tends to make things flow much more smoothly.
 
But I reserve the right to be skeptical and pessimistic :)
 
Andrew Kester, PE
ADK Structural Engineering, PLLC
Lake Mary, FL
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