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RE: Pre-$%!#&#& metal buildings

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Sounds more like your grip is with the GC.  Yes, the PEMB manufacturer did dig up the standard "we've been doing this for XX years"...but then all contractors/manufacturer's have a little Staples like button that plays that little ditty at will instead of that "That's Easy" Staple jingle.  Other than that little bit (which is SOP for contractors <grin> my buddy will hit me to that one), it seems like all your gripes are really caused by the GC.  Just about everything you cited could happen with a non-PEMB scenario (and has happened to me on various occasions in my sordid past...just not all at once necessarily).
 
Regards,
 
Scott
Adrian, MI
-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Kester, P.E. [mailto:akester(--nospam--at)cfl.rr.com]
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2008 8:55 PM
To: seaint
Subject: Pre-$%!#&#& metal buildings

Sorry, this is a major long PEMB rant. My bad. But this is my therapy. And the "P" should be for post-engineered, because the engineering involved seems to leave something to be desired.
 
So we find ourselves on the crappy end of lots of PEMB projects, not that there is a good end, and not that I have a problem with PEMB in general, but being the EOR is getting to be quite the hassle for not thanks and not enough money. I would like to hear some other gripes because we are constantly frustrated. Everyone second guesses our foundation design, bolt design, etc etc. And we are being asked to calc footings before we have a building design? What? Would you design a building from the foundation up, ever? NO....
 
So on this job we are almost through, the GC is selected during the design process. We are suddenly asked, err, required, to supply preliminary design for permit and bid before they select a PEMB mfr. I am not sure what kind of permit he is getting without a PEMB S and S dwg set but anyway.... I tell the architect, a good client, we traditionally require at least preliminary building dwgs and calcs in order to size our footings, otherwise it does not make sense really and we are not doing a full analysis to determine reaction loads. We could, but our fee would be double, as it is a ton of work. If you want foundation design only, that is what you get. And the building is not a warehouse box, it is a very odd shaped building with many different spans.
 
I run a few quick moment frames and get the foundations within reason (and we ended up being doggone close when compared to the PEMB final calcs). Though the GC is threatening to come back to us with a change order if the foundations are different, we put the biggest CYA box of notes in the middle of the drawings you ever have seen. We also tell the architect there is no way he can do that, and that these are based on a rough, preliminary design, and final design may change the size of any or all footings.
 
Our notes also HIGHLY RECCOMEND a min 8" bolt spacing. Well I think we will require a 6" min. at least in the future. They come back with 1" diam bolts at 4" o.c. because that neatly fits inside their base plates and probably minimizes steel design, but dangit Vern you can hardly keep the washers from hitting each other when they are that close together? Doesn't anything seem counterintuitive to place big ole boy bolts that close?? Then again, I gather from phone conversations the PEMB "designers" are great with the PEMB software and probably not engineers.
 
We mark up all of their base plates after running calcs on every scenario on their shop dwgs (with a 2 day turn around I might add), and end up with very reasonable 5"-8" bolt spacings. We get no fewer than 5 phone calls over the next couple of days asking are you sure? Really? Why? It works for us, why not you? We always do it this way. No other engineer has a problem, yada yada yada.... Now the PEMB is hitting the GC up with a whopping (tongue in cheek) $1200 Ad Serv  and he says by email that the owner will flip and the architect better have a good talking to with his structural engineer.
 
I reply that is too bad, but had the GC shared those top secret drawings of ours he would be $1200 richer. And I am not charging ad serv fees for designing foundations twice and reviewing multiple sets of shop drawings.... So maybe he just broke even? I kept that to myself.
 
I copy and paste the note from our drawing into an email to the Arch. that says the 8" min spacing and had they done that we would not have had any mark ups since nothing ended up over 8". We have been there, done that.... The PEMB designer tells us at one point he had never even seen our drawings! OOPS! Who would need the foundation drawings when designing a building. Talk about putting the cart before the horse, the cart is in the barn and the horse is tied up outside the Saloon....
 
We have also had PEMB jobs run smooth as silk, with second story mezzanines and other tricky elements.
 
I guess make mandatory requirements like the GC shall supply a full set of our drawings to the PEMB mfr for review and coordination, and put a minimum spacing that WE REQUIRE. But what else can we do? I read some articles in Structure and MSC on this very issue, and half of them I laugh, the other half I cry..... 
 
Am I ignorant to assume someone is reading our drawings besides me, until it is way too late??....  :-----(
 
Andrew Kester, P.E.
Principal/Project Manager
ADK Structural Engineering, PLLC
1510 E. Colonial Ave., Suite 301
Orlando, FL 32803