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Special Inspections and RDPiRC

Special Inspections and RDPiRC

Special Inspections and RDPiRC

I have been laboring under the interpretation of Registered Design Professional in Responsible Charge (RDPiRC) of special inspection as the person who is literally in charge of all aspects of the process (i.e. determining the special inspections required and their required frequencies, performing, or hiring inspectors to act under him/her to perform the special inspections, documenting the special inspections, and providing that documentation to the Building Official (BO). We, as the Engineer of Record often are asked by municipalities to fill out a form stating which special inspections are required and to seal that form and sign as the RDPiRC. I've been told in the past that taking on the responsibility of the RDPiRC is something the EOR should NEVER do. My company (an A/E firm) is arguing that I am mistaken in my understanding and that we (either me as the EOR or the Arch as the AOR) can sign off as the RDPiRC but that doesn't mean anything other than just simply reviewing special inspection reports prepared by the SI's hired by the owner and telling the BO that everything is all dandy. Can someone with a solid understanding and experience regarding this issue weigh in?

Should we as the SEOR even be listing special inspection tables in our general notes? Why not just say that the special inspections required can be found in Ch 17 of the IBC and it is up to the special inspectors to determine the required inspections and their frequencies such to avoid creating an error of omission? Whats the point in making a matrix if you're not going to just copy Ch 17 (and the other code references) verbatim? You will likely be leaving things out as the IBC even references other codes in Ch 17 that you won't copy down into your tables (i.e. the QA/QC specifications chapter of the AISC that you are pointed to by Ch 17).

I was told once by a lawyer that we need to be careful when assuming responsibility of the RDPiRC because its taking on too much liability that we don't intend to take on. I just want to know if I am mistaken and we as the SEOR of the building are also just assumed to the RDPiRC as well, and what being the RDPiRC actually means.

RE: Special Inspections and RDPiRC

I'm surprised this topic didn't get any traction. Bumping this to try again.

RE: Special Inspections and RDPiRC

Until reading this post, I hadn't noticed the subtle difference in the code between "registered design professional" and "registered design professional in responsible charge". On every project I have worked on, this has been the same person. We list the required inspections, editing things that aren't on the project out of the list, and review the inspectors' reports. I believe that owners would generally balk if we excluded this from our scope of work as design engineers. To the best of my knowledge, my company's lawyers and insurance carriers haven't expressed any concerns about this work carrying unusual liability.

RE: Special Inspections and RDPiRC

We have done it both ways, where we copy and paste tables from the IBC and AISC (filling up a couple of sheets) and where we just simply said "per IBC Chapter 17" if we don't have anything to add. I like this latter approach.

Sometimes the AHJ asks us to seal a document saying that the Special Inspections are being performed per the Statement of Special Inspections, but I don't think this adds to our responsibility for the inspections or assumes additional liability. My feeling is that this gives the AHJ some peace of mind regarding the whether or not the Special Inspections are happening without having to read (and file, and track, and react to) the Special Inspection reports himself. It keeps everyone a little more honest.

We did have a case where we informed the Owner that we could not seal such a verification document because we knew the Owner was shortcutting the Special Inspection process and some items were not inspected. Fortunately for the Owner, the AHJ never called him on the carpet.

RE: Special Inspections and RDPiRC

This is one of those issues where no one including the committees have a good handle on and no one has the same interpretation. I will throw another interpretation out there. Based on the quote below, I could say the RDPiRC is only responsible for phased and deferred submittal items and not necessarily special inspection.

IBC 107.3.4: "The registered design professional in responsible charge shall be responsible for reviewing and coordinating submittal documents prepared by others, including phased and deferred submittal items, for compatibility with the design of the building."

RE: Special Inspections and RDPiRC

there is a lot of nuance based on each state and local jurisdiction to code questions.... but in general....

Specifying what construction types and materials NEED to be inspected is the responsibility of both the EOR and the Building Official......

Performing the inspections and/or coordinating/reviewing the reporting from other inspectors to confirm that the inspection program is complete can be done by any design professional working for the Owner.

With regards to your 2nd question .... The standard of care is for the EOR to provide the schedule of SI. Errors & Omissions is about whether or not work is performed to a professional standard of care. Not sure what you mean about referring the inspector to code so i'll throw out a few examples... If the EOR issues a "Statement of SI" that checks the boxes for a few materials, i could see the point in not copy/pasting anything else that could be found in the code and i would think that meets standard of care.... but if the EOR doesn't issue any direction at all on what materials need SI and puts a generic note like "Owner to have all applicable Special Inspections required by Chapter 17 of the IBC performed by others", that on the other hand would not meet a standard of care.

i know insurance reps who say that Structural Egrs SHOULD do Special Inspections and should try to work on projects they've designed, because you get more money for the job which you already have risk for... also having more EOR involvement during construction is a quality-improving and risk-reduction action.

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