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RE: EOR and Special Inspections and contracts

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		Working for a precast concrete manufacturer, I appreciate that third-party 
 special inspectors, hired by the owner, are trained and point out things 
that aren't quite the way I designed them. However, it is more work for me 
as probably over half the time, the paper to clear the issue says, "Leave 
as is." Most of the rest of the time, there is a way to use what's there and 
 add something else to replace some lost strength. Occasionally, I have to 
tell the foreman, "Take it out and do what is shown." I can speed up field 
work and spend less time writing future paper by showing options on the 
original drawings for common tolerance problems. Some SERs in this area have 
 separate corporations with the same ownership which do special inspections. 
 Usually, if the SER is on a project, the inspector is. I think the inspectors 
 work other projects, too. There are a few big inspections companies, too, 
which do all the quality control - soils, foundations, cast-in-place concrete, 
 steel (hot-rolled, cold-formed, bar joists, etc.), precast concrete, wood, 
 etc. on a project. While I think our own and our subcontract erector 
PCI-certified crews are very good, when I hear of few to zero weld or other 
 deficiencies on a project, I know the inspector is not doing his job. There 
 are just too many possible ways for things not to fit up - some that I could 
 not foresee. I also visit my jobsites and some that I did not design or 
coordinate with a design consultant. That's more like the observations you 
mention. Our foremen will rat on themselves, too, "Jim, we just did...." And 
 once every 5 -10 years or so, I'll hear that the inspector told someone to 
 do more than was on the drawings - not doing his job another way, as Bill 
P. mentioned. So far, I have not had to have any of that ripped out, as 
bigger was not structurally detrimental, just wasteful of time and material. 
 All this is quite a switch from when I came here, when our Project Managers 
 and we engineers were the only inspectors a project had beyond the foreman 
 looking at what his men had installed. If you ever have precast concrete 
on your projects, PCI is just about to offer a precast concrete special 
inspector training program as a series of webinars. My company helped develop 
it. HTH, Jim Getaz Precast Concrete Engineer

-----Original Message-----
From: seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at) [mailto:seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at)] On 
Behalf Of Ricardo Gonzalez Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:33 PM
To: seaint-seaosc(--nospam--at)
Subject: [SEAINT-SEAOSC] EOR and Special Inspections and contracts

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

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