×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

(OP)
Well reviewing as many plans as I do it was bound to happen.
Now normally a NICET will fix all the mistakes made by a 20 something yr old plumbing scrub with a mechanical degree.   The NICETs are my heroes, the ones I rely on for their expertise and highly skilled knowledge.

I really feel for this NICET I dealt with recently though because he picked the wrong project to play PE on.   Submitted working plans as part of a regular arch eng plans set.  There was never any engineered plans created.   According to what I gathered, apparently he must have made all design decisions himself.  Designed to OH1, but it is confirmed that EH2 is required for the misc storage which shows up on the arch floor plans.     Water supply can't handle it.

Not sure what this guy is going to do, or what kind of arrangement or contract he had and i dont have time to care.  Learn from his mistake!

I sent him an email saying if he submits any more plans to me not based on an engineers design I'll turn in a complaint to NICET for rules violation.   To be fair maybe I should post how many PEs have had their bacon saved by a NICET; that is infinitely more common, but this is a good example of the difference between the professions.   The engineer should coordinate and ask questions, decide occupancy hazard class etc, and be liable for what the jurisdiction deems as the practice of engineering requiring a PE.   In this case the NICET would have come out scott free if there had been eng plans saying OH2.

Something like this every couple of days around here..  This just seemed very relevant to the lively discussions there have been lately on this subject, so thought I'd share.

Real world knowledge doesn't fall out of the sky on a parachute, but rather is gained in small increments during moments of panic or curiosity.  

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

I am curious, why EH2?

How did you find out EH2 was the appropriate design standard but the NICET didn't?

Was it marked on architectural drawings?

 

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

(OP)

Yes, storage was shown on the arch plans as I said above. And I called the architect to be sure plastics was what was being stored.   Misc storage of Group A plastics exposed unexpanded to 8 ft.

A solution I suggested as feasible would be to change the storage to 5 ft max if possible, design to OH2, and use 8.0 heads.  Guess the building occupant will just have to order/ship their plastics more often..


 

Real world knowledge doesn't fall out of the sky on a parachute, but rather is gained in small increments during moments of panic or curiosity.  

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

First, I'm glad to see an architect ask the client about high-challenge commodities. That's fairly uncommon.

The engineer created this mess, and it was determined the design was inappropriate. Why not let the engineer make the necessary correction, including a tank and pump if its required. Or provide some control to ensure the plastics are not stored > 5 feet AFF?

I guess I'm wondering why the sprinkler designer (the NICET certified person) is being penalized? Or is this another goofy state licensing issue?

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

(OP)

Stookey, there was no engineer for plans related to fire protection.  That was my point.  The NICET was in effect the engineer of record, creating his drawings off the architectural plans instead of a PE's performance plans/specs.  There is no engineer to correct their engineering mistakes.






 

Real world knowledge doesn't fall out of the sky on a parachute, but rather is gained in small increments during moments of panic or curiosity.  

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

Thanks for the clarification. I see the problem.

Your doing good work Pipesnpumps. I pity the designer and hopefully the problem can be resolved with lower ceiling heights and the customer respecting the conclusion. Unfortunately, the seconc condition (the customer) won't comply.

I called it "I'll comply and die." It's an answer I hear weekly.

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

(OP)
.  The owner who has probably been storing plastics like this for years will not buy in to the requirements and just see me as an annoyance delaying getting into their facility.     

 And its not just the building 'owners' who argue.I've had an FPE who did all major sites for a very critical and ultra expensive national defense system argue with me over requiring a check valve on the upstream side of a  multiple system riser supply header..  I finally had to draw him a picture of the pumper truck drawing water out of the underground and pumping it right back to itself (since there was no check valve).   Everyone is an expert, has done this for 35 years, never had anyone comment on this before, just built 20 buildings just like this and did it this way, or perhaps my favorite is "I know that's what the code/standard says, but I don't think that is really the intent", or the king daddy, "the chances of that happening are so remote.."

Ah well preaching to the choir..

Real world knowledge doesn't fall out of the sky on a parachute, but rather is gained in small increments during moments of panic or curiosity.  

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

Quote:

just built 20 buildings just like this and did it this way

This is my favorite.  I always answer it; "Well, I guess you have 20 more buildings that are done wrong!"

I hope everyone has a safe and happy July 4th weekend.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com
 

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

From the perspective of a small contractor that about 75% (maybe more) of our work are projects less than 30k sq. ft. or so:

There aren't nearly enough projects that are pre-engineered by FPEs.  The few jobs that do have "FP" drawings don't give any helpful information and are likely drawn up by non-FPEs.  The standard is always to design-build so the liability goes to the contractor.

The bigger problem is that the economy is so tight that there isn't any extra budget to add to projects to get outside consulting.  A contractor that accounts for that will likely lose the job.  For any "tougher" jobs (IE anything with storage), we give the owner/GC base requirements and a whole bunch of disclaimers in case they go nuts down the road.  We had one that said they would only store metal machinery parts and later in the same conversation we coaxed out that they'd also have pallets of combustible liquids...kind of scary to design-build with an owner like that.

It would be so much better if all original architectural submittals were required to include substantial FP drawings that include occupancy/commodity classes.

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

Hello,
As a NICET, I do alot of design build. In these cases, the owners certificate from NFPA 13 is helpful and then spelling out what the system is designed for makes everyone aware. An errors and ommisions claim would fall to the Architect that included the drawing in his set of documents. Working for an FPE, many times I won't get a full set from the architect, just a floor plan and maybe a section. The architects don't like to pay the FPE for more than bare minimum. In this case it sounds like the NICET made a mistake but I have done designs where 3-4 months later the Arch will add a reflected ceiling plan with soffits to the set that will make my layout look bad.

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

(OP)
Guys here is the take away from this thread.   In every state design of a sprinkler system is the complete responsibility of registered PE.   In some states modifications to existing systems less than a certain sq ft can be done without a PE.    In TN this is 3000 sq ft.   For DoD work the threshold is 0 sq ft.   You can replace an existing head without piping mods and that's it.

If you are a nicet designing a sprinkler system that is above your state's threshold, without a PE,  then the state engineering board can levy a civil fine against you for practicing engineering without a license, and this has ethics implications for your NICET and sprinkler contractor license.    If that isn't bad enough you are taking on 100% of the design liability for engineering, but you are not engineers so that is really setting yourselves up for a lawsuit.    The architect is Scott free since they won't mention sprinklers in their design package.

Even if the engineers plan is crap, that is still way better for you.   You must have a drawing that is sealed by a PE.   You must have specifications from a PE.   Even if it only says, light hazard per NFPA 13.    It is the engineers responsibility to identify the occupancy and storage commodity etc.    If they don't do that, but you go back and fix it, and something goes wrong years later the engineer is still the responsible one.

BTW there are many requirements for engineers to give complete design info.  They are only enforced in some states.   See the TN standard of care for sprinkler design.   It requires prelim hydraulic calcs incl sizing the riser etc.   

Real world knowledge doesn't fall out of the sky on a parachute, but rather is gained in small increments during moments of panic or curiosity.  

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

Plus, when the engineer classifies something wrong, you can get a change order to make it right (we did it per drawings and specs) when the AHJ fails your plans.

I'm not a fan of eating costs because an engineer made a mistake. Let the engineer take the hit; that's not my job.

RE: NICET doing working plans without an engineers input

Quote:

NewtonFP (Automotive)     
15 Jul 11 9:46
Plus, when the engineer classifies something wrong, you can get a change order to make it right (we did it per drawings and specs) when the AHJ fails your plans.

I'm not a fan of eating costs because an engineer made a mistake. Let the engineer take the hit; that's not my job.

In Georgia taking the hit because an engineer made a mistake won't happen near as often as it once did.

We have all seen it, "Do it exactly my way in strict accordance with my plans and specifications except where I am wrong and then it is your responsibility to fix it." is all to often in the specifications.  Drives me nuts.

In Georgia they are about to change the old rules and I like this a lot.  Wish every state would adopt similar requirements.

Found on the updated draft of:

Quote:

The Rules and Regulations of the Safety Fire Commissioner are hereby amended by repealing Chapter 120-3-19 entitled, "Fire Protection Sprinkler Contractors" in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new Chapter 120-3-19 entitled, "Rules and Regulations for Enforcement of the Georgia Fire Sprinkler Act," to read as follows:
CHAPTER 120-3-19
RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR ENFORCEMENT OF THE "GEORGIA FIRE SPRINKLER ACT"

On page 11:

Quote:

(3) Non-code compliance dictated by bid documents shall be reported in the following manner: Non-code compliant shop drawings dictated by bid documents plans and or specifications shall list deficiencies printed or typed, item by item, along with codes and/or standards violated on a departmental form. In addition, the following information shall be provided as set forth in the following order:
(a) The name of the facility and project;
(b) The complete physical address of the project including the city and county;
(c) The owner's name;
(d) The responsible architect's or engineer's name responsible for producing the non-code compliant bid documents including their Georgia registration number, business name, business address and business telephone number; and,
(e)The Sprinkler Contractor's name, Certificate of Competency holder's name, and Certificate of Competency number and signature. The foregoing items shall be provided and outlined on a departmental form by the Certificate of Competency holder, as stated above and shall be submitted with the shop drawings.

The NICET is to follow the specifications but alert the state fire marshals office when he feels specifications may be non-compliant.

So I bid a job to OH2 when I know there's Class A exposed plastics to 12' high.  Fine, I can do that, have the state argue with the design professional of record and most likely get a change order for more money.  

The way it is right now if I bid it to what I know is needed I will not get the job so no sense in wasting my time.  If I bid OH2 I could very well get the job and all to often the way specs are written it is still my problem.  The engineer of record will tell everyone it is my problem because it was in the specs that it was my problem.

With the new law the engineer of record can explain to the licensing boards why his mistake on design criteria is really the problem of an unlicensed sprinkler guy.  

I see lots of unhappy, not to mention surprised because they didn't know that was there, engineers in the future.  Arguing with his licensing board is a whole different matter than arguing with the sprinkler designer.

That said owners certificates can cover much of the problem if the designer takes time to have one filled out.

Sprinkler designers need to have a better understanding when to ask for outside professional assistance, not a PE but a FPE, not so much in laying out the system but classifying storage materials and appropriate design standards.   

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Resources

Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding With 3D Printed Molds
Learn methods and guidelines for using stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed molds in the injection molding process to lower costs and lead time. Discover how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mold fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts. Download Now
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Examine how the principles of DfAM upend many of the long-standing rules around manufacturability - allowing engineers and designers to place a part’s function at the center of their design considerations. Download Now
Taking Control of Engineering Documents
This ebook covers tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close