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IBC Chapter 17 Special Inspection - Permitting
July 18, 2007
8:10 am
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lorddreads
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July 16, 2007
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Good points, thanks for the information. I have a copy of the Model Program and have studied it. I was looking for insight on how others handled Owner / RDP / Contractor hiring the SIA during the permit application process.

The reason for my question is that my interpretation of the intent of the code is that allowing the Contractor to hire the SIA should not happen at all. That said, I do recognize under the provisions of 104.10 special application can be made when the letter of the code can not be followed, such as when the Contractor is also the Owner, or the Owner has designated the RDP to act as his agent when it is a Design/Build firm. Even in this case, it should be clear to all parties that the intent of the building code with regard to ensuring building safety will not be compromised, and this transaction is documented and recorded. And in all cases, barring unusual exceptions, the Owner or RDP acting on behalf of the Owner must still hire the SIA, not the Contractor.

Regarding Contractor QC, take for example the AWS D1.1 welding code. Here, the responsibility for QC still rests on the Contractor. The Owner may still hire inspections, and this still does not relieve the Contractor of performing QC. The Owners inspector in this case is QA. There are many examples of various DOT''s that operate with this mindset, including the State of Michigan. We could discuss the difference between QA/QC at great lengths. I brought it up to show that there is a difference in inspection roles that is relevant to why the intent of the building code can be viewed as a QA role that the Owner or RDP must provide. It also makes sense that it should be this way, as the SI is an individual who has to understand more about the details and design intentions prescribed on the approved plans and specifications, as well as workmanship. There needs to be a solid relationship established with the RDP and other Engineers on the design side. What better way for this to happen than for the Owner/RDP to be involved in selecting and hiring the SIA and getting them involved on the project early on.

I do like the Pima County approach to ensure that SI''s are qualified individuals with accountability to an authority beyond that of the firm that hired them. SI''s really are an extension of the Building Department, and more jurisdictions would do well to fulfill their responsibility of a uniform and practical approval process for SI''s. Such a system in place would help deflect some of the ''penalties'' a Contractor could force on an SIA for doing it''s job when they are permitted to hire the testing instead of the Owner/RDP.

Regarding costs, when the Contractor does the hiring, more often than not cost becomes the main focus, rather than quality. Contractors are more likely to not call or forget to schedule an inspection, especially when it?s on their tab. I would much rather see a ''wasted'' trip than a missed one. The cost of corrective work can be multiples of the cost a few inspection visits scheduled inefficiently that ensured the project specifications or a detail on the plans was being followed.

The bottom line: Is building safety more important or cost, especially when Special Inspections are a mere fraction of a percent of the total project costs?

Special Inspections by qualified SI''s who are doing thier jobs actually improve the efficiency of a project, reduce delays, help reduce the need for costly corrective work, and in the end reduce the cost of a project.

July 16, 2007
1:15 pm
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mike winkler
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Section 1704.1 states that the application is to be made by the ?owner OR the RDP?. We require the RDP to sign the application for special inspections as the applicant. Even when the RDP is an employee of the contractor, they are not as likely to cheat when they have to put their license on the line.

And thanks for the seminar last week.

July 18, 2007
6:45 pm
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henri
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sp. inspector D, I agree with the views you have expressed.

I also like the Pima Cty approach with regards to licensing special inspectors as individuals. In So.Calif this is common practice.

With some jurisdictions, attaining the licence can somtimes even be tougher than passing the certification exam. LA City comes to mind.

July 18, 2007
8:10 am
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lorddreads
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Good points, thanks for the information. I have a copy of the Model Program and have studied it. I was looking for insight on how others handled Owner / RDP / Contractor hiring the SIA during the permit application process.

The reason for my question is that my interpretation of the intent of the code is that allowing the Contractor to hire the SIA should not happen at all. That said, I do recognize under the provisions of 104.10 special application can be made when the letter of the code can not be followed, such as when the Contractor is also the Owner, or the Owner has designated the RDP to act as his agent when it is a Design/Build firm. Even in this case, it should be clear to all parties that the intent of the building code with regard to ensuring building safety will not be compromised, and this transaction is documented and recorded. And in all cases, barring unusual exceptions, the Owner or RDP acting on behalf of the Owner must still hire the SIA, not the Contractor.

Regarding Contractor QC, take for example the AWS D1.1 welding code. Here, the responsibility for QC still rests on the Contractor. The Owner may still hire inspections, and this still does not relieve the Contractor of performing QC. The Owners inspector in this case is QA. There are many examples of various DOT''s that operate with this mindset, including the State of Michigan. We could discuss the difference between QA/QC at great lengths. I brought it up to show that there is a difference in inspection roles that is relevant to why the intent of the building code can be viewed as a QA role that the Owner or RDP must provide. It also makes sense that it should be this way, as the SI is an individual who has to understand more about the details and design intentions prescribed on the approved plans and specifications, as well as workmanship. There needs to be a solid relationship established with the RDP and other Engineers on the design side. What better way for this to happen than for the Owner/RDP to be involved in selecting and hiring the SIA and getting them involved on the project early on.

I do like the Pima County approach to ensure that SI''s are qualified individuals with accountability to an authority beyond that of the firm that hired them. SI''s really are an extension of the Building Department, and more jurisdictions would do well to fulfill their responsibility of a uniform and practical approval process for SI''s. Such a system in place would help deflect some of the ''penalties'' a Contractor could force on an SIA for doing it''s job when they are permitted to hire the testing instead of the Owner/RDP.

Regarding costs, when the Contractor does the hiring, more often than not cost becomes the main focus, rather than quality. Contractors are more likely to not call or forget to schedule an inspection, especially when it?s on their tab. I would much rather see a ''wasted'' trip than a missed one. The cost of corrective work can be multiples of the cost a few inspection visits scheduled inefficiently that ensured the project specifications or a detail on the plans was being followed.

The bottom line: Is building safety more important or cost, especially when Special Inspections are a mere fraction of a percent of the total project costs?

Special Inspections by qualified SI''s who are doing thier jobs actually improve the efficiency of a project, reduce delays, help reduce the need for costly corrective work, and in the end reduce the cost of a project.

July 17, 2007
12:07 pm
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henri
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Here''s what ICC''s Model Program for Special Inspection recommends in Section II.C.

"C. Duties and Responsibilities of the Project Owner.

The project owner, the registered design professional in responsible charge, or an agent of the owner is responsible for funding special inspection services. The special inspector/heating-oil-tank-hot-exam-oregon gency shall not be in the employ of the contractor, subcontractor or materials supplier. In the case of an owner/contractor, the special inspector/heating-oil-tank-hot-exam-oregon gency shall be employed as specified by the Building Official".

A free download of the Model Program for Special Inspection may be downloaded from this link
http://www.ecodes.biz/product_.....=mpsi_free check pdf page 14 of 47

Refer to pages 23-25 of 47 of the document for a sample Special Inspection and Testing Agreement. CASE also has a similar document which many east coast building departments utilize as a basis for developing their own.

Getting the RDP to sign as suggested by daddydog is a good idea. Another good idea is to require that the special inspection agency have a PE playing a supervisory role as suggested by Walt...and that the SIA be accredited (see page 3 of 47).

Still, the reality is, in many cases, perhaps even a majority, contractors pay the special inspection agency. In these situations, the building department''s division which monitor''s the special inspection program can still play an effective role by providing effective oversight of SIA inspectors. Let''s not forget, that for a lot of civil construction (highways, etc), contractors provide CQC (contractor quality control) in lieu of third party inspection and testing. Has that created problems related to public works construction quality?

July 17, 2007
10:10 am
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fredk
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Similiar to Walt. However that is changing snce our new form requires everyone to sign off on the special inspector.

Got a lot of the information from this book. http://www.iccsafe.org/e/prods.....449|3

Of course if you need some kind of guide try this from Pima County. http://www.pimaxpress.com/Buil.....ctions.pdf

And they have gone thru and listed approved special inspectors here. http://www.pimaxpress.com/Buil.....p_Insp.pdf

But then you may not have as many to choose from.

July 17, 2007
6:26 am
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walt
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We allow the special inspectors, all approved third parties under the supervision of a PE, to work under the contract for construction.

The intent of the wording in the code that those services are to be provided by the owner does not prohibit such a relationship. It is the intent of that code language to clearly state theat the Bldg. Dept. will not provide those inspections.

In administering these programs for over 15 years, we have never had a problem. (Large commercial projects.)The PE licenses does mean something.

As an architect (and BO) I like the idea of the special inspector working through the construction contractor. It saves me the arguments with him about the SI being called out on the owner''s tab only to find out the concrete forms aren''t ready and there is no pour. The contractor is a lot more careful when he''s paying fot it, and it costs less.

July 17, 2007
6:09 am
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timny
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The special inspection agency is subject to your review and approval.

If you think an inspection agency would compromise their inspections for any reason, reject&resubmit.

Tim

July 16, 2007
3:17 pm
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lorddreads
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I was glad to do it. It was very nice to see so many in attendance and the active participation and discussion was tremendous.

July 16, 2007
1:15 pm
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mike winkler
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January 22, 2007
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sp_Print Print Post Post #10

Section 1704.1 states that the application is to be made by the ?owner OR the RDP?. We require the RDP to sign the application for special inspections as the applicant. Even when the RDP is an employee of the contractor, they are not as likely to cheat when they have to put their license on the line.

And thanks for the seminar last week.

July 16, 2007
12:42 pm
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constructionarbitrator
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sp_Print Print Post Post #11

This is a common problem, I don''t know how the jurisdictions handle it, but as a contractor I had so many problems with owners not wanting to pay that I put a Special Inspection Line Item in my cost breakdowns, and explained to my customers that they had to pay directly, that it would be a conflict for me to pay, then backed the cost out with a notation that "owner to pay". At least they were made aware in advance that they had to pay, and I had it on paper that I informed them in advance as to what I estimated the costs to be.