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RE: underground house [gettin' pretty OT now]

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One thing that I have learned in this business is that when there is a problem with a building, everyone involved with it gets hit.  And then we are at the mercy of the lawyers.  Wouldn't it be better to attempt to get more control over the process in the first place?  There is nothing wrong with bringing a "specialist" or someone who knows more about it than we do.  In fact that is a very smart thing to do if you don't feel confident about doing the detailing yourself.  However to look the other way and pretend that proper detailing of the structural envelope has nothing to do with us is, in my opinion, not right.  I figure that I have a responsibility to the client to produce a structure that will stand up to the environment.  Water, ice, wind and fire can do as much damage to a building as an earthquake; so are we supposed to pick what we want to design for and ignore the rest?
The next point you will bring up is that we are not paid enough to do all the detailing that is necessary.  Then why take the work?  Is it because too many engineers find it easier to work for peanuts doing the minimum rather than learning how to get the respect that we are always saying we deserve as professionals?
This is not meant to criticize anyone since I know all who are involved on this list are concerned about doing good engineering for our clients. My purpose is to open up the discussion as to why we do not have more control over the design and construction process and how we can improve.  I think some fresh ideas will help.
Richard Hess

-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Utzman [mailto:chuckuc(--nospam--at)pacbell.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 3:38 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: underground house [gettin' pretty OT now]


I spent almost 7 years doing forensic work. 95% of the litigations began 
with waterproofing problems.  Even if you think you know how to design a 
waterproof system, the only way to be sure it gets constructed properly 
is to stand there and watch it being done.  Water is relentless & almost 
perfect isn't good enough. IMHO waterproofing should be designed, 
inspected, & warranted by someone who specializes in it.  Believe me, 
you do not want the liability.
Chuck Utzman, PE

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