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RE: Texas engineer sued for roof/ stans post

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If I knew I was required to sign this after a project, I would make darn sure that there was sufficient fee in my budget to cover an intensive inspection by an experienced, hard-*ss roofing inspector.  I would also run it by our legal and insurance people.

From: Stan Caldwell [mailto:stancaldwell(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 6:45 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Texas engineer sued for roof/ stans post

Here is a link to the most recent TDI Certification Form (WPI-2-BC-5) that Texas engineers are required to sign.
Would you sign this form?  Would anyone in their right mind?

On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 6:41 PM, Grathwol, Albert <albert.grathwol(--nospam--at)> wrote:
Never tell the Owner verbally or in writing that anything was built per the plans and specs unless you were there watching all the subgrade prep, every bolt tightened, every rebar placed, inspected every weld, etc., etc.

From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 4:19 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Texas engineer sued for roof/ stans post

It will also be highly dependent on what “certify” means.  There are certain things that it could mean where his E&O insurance company would say “tough are on your own as you violated your policy terms”.  If that is the case, then about the only “plus” side is the engineer will get the make the decision as to whether to fight or pay as the insurance company will not be part of the equation anymore.

I want to feel bad for this engineer...but I really do not know enough to really make that decision.  It is entirely possible that this is a situation of the engineer’s own making (i.e. “certifying” or “warranting” something he/she should not other words, taking on too “onerous” terms in order to get a project...or the risk was not worth the pay).


Adrian, MI

On 7/29/09 6:55 PM, "Stan Caldwell" <stancaldwell(--nospam--at)> wrote:

As you probably know, the "pay or fight" decision always lies with the insurer, not with the insured.  They make the decision to minimize business risk, without regard to the reputation or wishes of the defendant engineer.
Neither I nor anyone in my firm have any direct involvement or inside knowledge of this specific matter, beyond what was written in the demand letter.
The lesson that everyone should take to heart is "Never, ever CERTIFY anything that you do not personally know to be absolute FACT."  In other words, if it wasn't done personally by you or under your direct and continuous supervision, don't attest to it.  This should also apply to the use of your PE and/or SE seals.

On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 5:33 PM, Andrew Kester <akester(--nospam--at)> wrote:

Not that you have all the details, but I want to see the forensic engineer or better yet, the attorney, that is able to prove what the wind speed velocity was at the moment of failure at that specific site. Also, even engineers who specialize in roofs really don’t really design anything, rather we specify systems (or in his case inspect) that are designed and/or tested by the manufacturers to building code minimums. I also understand Texas has some difficult for me to grasp free-for-all areas where they may not have such Code standards. In Florida, just about any manufactured product on a building has to pass testing and be on the qualified list and the get a Product Approval Number. If a shingle manufacturer or code says 6 nails per shingle is good for V=120mph, and that is what was done, then it met the minimum requirements and nobody may really be at fault. Plus, how do you prove there were no microbursts, tornadic activity, or other spikes in the average wind pressure. When I did work in MS after Katrina, sometimes the nearest weather data was taken 10+ miles away at a weather tower or military facility, and a lot of those devices failed...


Poor guy is going to have to hire a defense attorney though to get through that, or his E and O insurance will have to, which they will likely then increase his rates whether they pay it or fight it. Needs to get him a good forensic engineer with lots of roof experience, I know some that are licensed out there if this is a friend.


THAT SUCKS!!!!!!!  (no better verbiage I could come up with)


Andrew Kester, PE

Orlando, FL