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EOR and Special Inspections and contracts

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Hello Fellow Engineers,

It has been my practice to avoid performing Special Inspections except for 
those construction administration tasks that can also be categorized as 
Structural Observations.  For instance, I have no issues wearing the Special 
 Inspection hat for light frame residential construction when I observe rebar 
 placement, footing excavations, shear wall nailing, etc.  All other Special 
 Inspection tasks are to be performed by an outside agency.  My problem is 
that I have not clearly state that in my proposals/contracts; something I 
am in the process of updating and correcting.

So that led me to read the "Guide to Special Inspections and Quality Assurance" 
 prepared by CASE (Council of American Structural Engineers), and found some 
 interesting things.  Under the Roles and Responsibilities section, the 
Structural Engineer of Record's (SER) "Special Inspections services should 
generally be performed under a separate contract directly with the building 
 Owner."  I have never done this.  Not only that, but it makes the case for 
 SER to perform Special Inspections whenever they are able to.  Furthermore, 
 it stresses that Special Inspectors be hired by the Owner or SER, and not 
the contractor.  YIKES!  These are just a sampling of stuff found in this 
document.  This is a good read and recommend you taking some time to read 
for yourself.

Don't get me wrong.  I look forward to going to site visits and observing 
work performed.  I was under the impression that my site visit should be 
done in accordance with Structural Observation requirements.  That seems to 
 give me some more leeway.

Anyways, just want to hear from you on your role as the Special Inspector/Structural 
 Observer.  Do you have separate contracts when you wear the Special Inspector's 
 hat?  How do you handle assignment of the Special Inspector with Owners? 
How does that get conveyed in your contracts?

Cheers,

Ricardo G. Gonzalez, P.E.
C S W | S T 2
CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group, Inc.
45 Leveroni Court, Novato, CA  94949
Civil Engineering ∙ Structural Engineering
Planning ∙ Land Surveying & Mapping

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