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City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

(OP)
Our firm has a long-time high school client that had their shop classes construct an "Outdoor Learning Environment" (which is basically a wood shelter house) as part of their curriculum. The shelter has already been built, I believe that they had filed permits, but the city has now told them that they need to have drawings stamped by an engineer.

I am willing to review what is built and provide a letter with any recommendations for improvements/changes (if needed) with caveats/assumptions on assumed bearing pressure and that I did not witness reinforcing and/or concrete construction, etc, but don't feel comfortable stamping this.

I'm just looking for any other recommendations or suggestions on how to handle this. Is it odd that the city is basically asking for someone to post-stamp this knowing that they didn't design it originally? Am I being too conservative here?

RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

Is this a temporary structure they rebuild every year for the class?

RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

(OP)
It will be a permanent structure.

RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

I would (standard response here) check with your engineering board to get their opinion. Most state boards are usually happy to provide perspective and appreciate with engineers care enough to call.

That said, you can only stamp/sign that which you can either originally design, or confidently check.

"Confidently" in this context means that you can only check what you know for sure so if there are aspects to the structure that are unseen, then you have to qualify your "check" to specific items and directly state what you did not check.

For example, "I did not check or verify the structural adequacy or code compliance of the footings for this structure as they were not visible for review and I was given no evidence (photos, drawings, etc.) indicating how the foundation was actually constructed"

If the building department says that's not good enough, then further exploration may be necessary such as partial digs to reveal footing widths, etc.

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RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

Seems a bit odd; my city would require plans before issuing a permit, and then the construction would be built around the different inspections required to finish it off.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

First activity is to dig up that permit and whatever documentation was associated with it.

My inclination would be towards not getting involved, so get them to supply that documentation. Then use that documentation to assess whether you want to get involved with this.

I don't like cleaning up messes that other people created. There's all sorts of foreseeable ways that this could end badly.

RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

Well, I'm sure it is difficult for them to simply walk away from a "long time high school client".

An engineer definitely CAN review, check, etc. and write a letter outlining what they DO KNOW as well as what they DON'T KNOW and can't respond to.

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RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

(OP)
Thanks all for your responses. JAE, what you described is exactly what I was thinking. BrianPeterson, if this had been a contractor, then yes, I would agree.

IR, I also thought it was weird, and it's always good to double check, because as it turns out, it hasn't been constructed...

So I can provide drawings/calcs. I've proposed to visit the class and help them create the drawings and do the calculations so they have more involvement and then provide the stamp on those calculations/drawings which I've had direct supervision.

Thanks again for all the replies.

RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

But get all documents associated with the permit first!

RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

Careful for "plan stamping", though. Unless you actually design or supervise the design work, you're not allowed to stamp in many if not most states.

I design aqueducts in a parallel universe.

RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

Quote:

Unless you actually design or supervise the design work, you're not allowed to stamp...

I don't think that is fully accurate. Most states do make that positive statement that you have to have direct control, etc.
But there are situations like this one where you simply can't claim direct control or supervision and most boards I'm licensed in do allow for a careful and complete design review of a project.

The question isn't whether or not you can review and stamp a design - the question is in the definition of "review"...which is probably the wrong word for what is required.
You would have to replicate the entire design yourself, assuring yourself that the design was correct. This is more than sitting down and glancing through the plans.
It involves very similar effort and calculations to that required in the original design effort.

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RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

Generally, the state boards have fairly specific rules about how it should have been done in the first place, but don't have any rules to address how it should be fixed after the fact. I think I've seen cases discussed where the engineer and owner simply worked with the state engineering boards to see how it should be handled in that case, and exactly what needed to be sealed and by who. It wouldn't be any problem to review and stamp after the fact IF the state board indicated that that was the appropriate action for the situation at hand.

You could potentially generate new drawings and design to reflect what has been built, and seal those instead of whatever it was built by.

RE: City requiring school to provide stamped drawings for shelter house

As other users have noted - running this up the flag pole with the state board is by far your safest bet.

My opinion would be - “reviewing and stamping” the original plans is not the correct approach. I would see if the city will allow you to perform an independent structural review and inspection and provide a letter stating that this and this meets code and appears adequate. Of course, once you do this - it is “your baby”. I believe that there would be no ethical issues with this - and the city will likely accept based upon the circumstances. Whether you are paid by the high school for this or not is irrelevant and a discussion that you can have with them at your own discretion.

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