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RE: Wind load design for Photovoltaic panel installations

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This is the point when dealing with clients who consider the engineering
requirements as a necessary evil caused by the building official or by the
engineering community who is attempting to create a market rather than
practicing the science for the protection of the public. 
It does get frustrating because it is often very difficult to explain in
basic layperson's language the necessity of what we do. The only thing that
they see is that they have a product to be mounted on a house and they
cannot profit from the sale and installation of their product until the
engineer approves their work. More time than not, the potential client
believes that we need only review what they have done and then seal it with
our stamp. They will suggest that they might stop by the office, bring the
plans and expect you to wet seal it on the spot but your judgment alone.
This is compounded often by the plan technician who will only tell them that
they need the approval of a licensed engineer but will not explain what the
correction list means. Unlike our side of this coin, it is all "Greek" to
them :)

Yes, frustration is putting it mildly. In larger projects, there are more
technical minded people who understand the complexity of the work. But
working for a distributor and installer of a product could care less - they
just want the permit and the profit without the consideration or
understanding of our design processes. The issues compound matters when
there is an engineer who is behind the times and is willing to wet stamp for
a fee. Unless the damage or injury occurs, the unlicensed counter tech will
generally accept the judgment and seal of the engineer is collecting a fee
for plan stamping.

Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: Jordan Truesdell, PE [mailto:seaint2(--nospam--at)truesdellengineering.com] 
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 4:17 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Wind load design for Photovoltaic panel installations

Good point. We generally don't have plan checks of calculations here in 
the mid-atlantic, so I tend to be more at leisure to use a rational 
engineering process. Abandoning the obvious calculation method for a 
shoe-horned procedure that may not really applicable - but will not 
confuse a poorly educated code checker - must be very frustrating.

Jordan



Dennis Wish wrote:
> Jordan,
> While I thank you for the information, I think selling this method to a
> local residential building plan checker is going to raise more questions
> about compliance with what section of the code that is applicable than it
is
> worth. <snip>

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