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Violation of any ethics or TBPE rule?

Violation of any ethics or TBPE rule?

Violation of any ethics or TBPE rule?

Dear All,

Time to time we run into station like this:

1. Owner hired contractor to build his house but General Contractor took the responsibility to prepare plans and city approval. He prepared and got approval and starts building the house.
However owner paid the money directly to the Architects/Engineers. He is also paying directly to the consultants for all the inspections done, when GC gave him invoices from the consultants.
The inspection were done passed got green tags by the city.

2. Relationships went sour ( as usual !!). Owner fired GC at the the stage when work is 80% done. Law suit has been filed.

3. There were no lien on the property, so owner hired another contractor and making progress.

4. Suddenly City inspector asked for a engineer letter ( like they always do, I don't know why it's required once the gave green tag!!!!!) for the total work

5. Owner called EOR but he refuses to give any letter because he thinks the GC is the owner of the documents because he is the one hire them and has contract with them. EOR acknowledges that they have done the inspections and it passed, he also knows the owner paid them directly but won't give ant letter of inspection to the owner but GC!

My Question:

If the owner wants to hire us (Engineer) to observe the framing and letter. If we agree do that, are we violating any professional ethics or TBPE rule of practice?
We are trying to help the owner out because he can't move with the letter city asking for.

we will really appreciate your comments!

RE: Violation of any ethics or TBPE rule?

You are a different consultant than the EOR correct?

If yes, you would be obligated to notify the other consultant I would think.

Then you would need to double check the entire design, likely be obligated to create your own drawings of the structure, and then you would own the building design. How can you confirm what rebar has been placed where, etc?

This is a tricky endeavor, is there no recourse to talk to the contractor to at least allow the original EOR to provide the reports to the owner?

RE: Violation of any ethics or TBPE rule?


Thank you for your prompt input. As a matter of fact we, city inspector and owner contacted the EOR individually. EOR were initially cooperative but something went wrong when they found about law suit.
EOR acknowledged that they have done the inspection, city also knows about it. But the inspections reports are holding by the contractor. EOR won't release the copy because he things GC is the owner of the documents because the have signed contract with them.

We won't sign off anything we don't see. We informed the EOR. We are just wondering if there any rule or ethics violation to be involved in it. Regards!

RE: Violation of any ethics or TBPE rule?

I'm just one guy on the internet so my word is by no means gospel. It also may depend on what location you are practicing in.

I don't see any specific ethical violation provided everyone, Client, EOR, City, Contractor, is aware of the situation. But your local engineering board would be able to advise on any ethical issue they may see.

The actual rules to what is required from your firm to be able to take responsibility for the design may be a different issue altogether.

RE: Violation of any ethics or TBPE rule?

I don't see that you can have an ethics violation, particularly if you inform the EOR of what you're doing.

The EOR, on the other hand, does not have a legal foot to stand on, particularly since he was, in fact, paid by the owner, and the GC, who the EOR is apparently beholden to, was under contract to the owner, which can be trivially proven, and the GC's contract should show that contract includes the work done by the EOR. So how can the GC possibly own anything?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Violation of any ethics or TBPE rule?

Not knowledgeable about the ethics and applicable codes of conduct in this situation. So just out of curiosity.
What if it turns out from the lawsuit that the firing of the GC by the Owner was (really) unfair...
Any ethical "discomfort" looking backward then... ?

RE: Violation of any ethics or TBPE rule?

I agree there's no ethical violation provided the EOR has been contacted. The issue comes in that you are accepting the work of the EOR and attesting to the construction compliance as well. If you limit your scope to only observing for compliance with the plans and you further limit your work to only what you can see at this point, you will significantly limit your liability.

In my opinion, the EOR was wrong to give up ownership of his documents. We NEVER do that!

RE: Violation of any ethics or TBPE rule?

As a matter of fact, the law suit is not for the noncompliance of the work. Its for , not finishing the project or not making progress on time. As per our knowledge, all the framing were done according to contract documents. Inspections were done by EOR (their firm) and it all passed by the city. City has the record of inspection but not in paper but in computer. Unfortunately owner never collected those green tags from GC. Whatever the reason is city always ask for a so called " engineer letter" at the end of the project (especially for residential projects). To provide a CO city needs a letter !!!!!! That's causing the bottleneck. poor owner is helpless!

In my opinion this " engineer letter" has no meaning to me.When periodical inspection is done and green tag is being issued by the city. Why again they need a letter!!!!! It's not only this project. We face this almost every project from all the cities.

Thank you all for valuable thoughts and inputs!

RE: Violation of any ethics or TBPE rule?

When all work is completed, the International Building Code requires a written statement from the engineer responsible for structural observation. See 2015 IBC section 1704.6.

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