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RE: strange bldg dept request

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I deal with these kinds of inane requests from building officials up here in the northeast all of the time.


I have found that the best way to resolve things and arrive at a happy solution for everyone is to first get permission from your client to talk directly to the building official, then call him/her up on the phone and in the nicest way possible walk them through your concerns and try to arrive at a reasonable compromise. I’ve also found that cursing them profoundly after I hang up the phone helps to release the stress of dealing with these type of public officials.


D. Matthew Stuart, P.E., S.E., F.ASCE, SECB

Senior Project Manager

Structural Department



200 Route 9

Manalapan, NJ 07726

732-577-9000 (Ext. 1285)

908-309-8657 (Cell)

732-298-9441 (Fax)



-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Kester, P.E. [mailto:akester(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 9:32 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: strange bldg dept request


 I have been asked by a building dept in SW Florida in a little town I have never worked in to "certify my design and drawings meet requirements x, y, and z." The project is a two-story custom house on concrete piles and beams a block off a bay that is in a storm surge flood zone. The structure is almost complete. This has to be a signed and sealed letter, and they have these specific requirements. Now this has me heated for several reasons. First, the very reason we sign and seal our drawings, as well as have all types of Code and Design Load info on our drawings, is that we are "certifying" that our design meets these code requirements to the best of our knowledge. Second, I don't like some of the language in these Articles, and some of the things I am being asked to state do not apply to our situation.


So I wrote a letter stating what our design assumptions were, and reiterated as much of their Article language as I possibly could truthfully say. They told the GC that this letter was too lengthy (too many words for their brains to get wrapped around I guess) and that they did not need "all that", they just need me to quote word for word their Articles and that the requirements have all been met. But I cannot do that because that would be making a false statement, I have to qualify my statements with an explanation as their Articles do not all apply as they are written.


Any thoughts as to what I can do here? I don't want to hold up this project but I also am not putting my license out there by making a false statement. The GC understands me and is not pressuring me, but we need a solution. We don't want to involve courts and lawyers and the GC has to work in this town again (I probably will never again)....??


Finally, how about this bldg dept wackiness.... My sister just put in a pool, and you have to have a child safety fence around the pool and then another fence around the yard with gates. They failed her inspection because the fence gate swung INWARD, which they said is prohibited because it could knock someone in the pool. The gate is no less than 35ft away from the pool. That would take one hell of a hard door opening... The latch to open the gate now has to be on the outside of the fence where any kid could figure out how to open it, but that is allowed....  These things make me want to act out violently, or at least get in somebody's face with some nice words.


Please email me directly on this subject!


Andrew Kester, P.E.
Principal/Project Manager
ADK Structural Engineering, PLLC
1510 E. Colonial Ave., Suite 301
Orlando, FL 32803