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My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design
17

My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)
It has been a very long time since I last was active on Eng-Tips. So long, in fact, that I have misplaced my old password, and my old e-mail has changed. I had used the handle, "Aton". Thus now "Aton2"

But to my question (I am hoping that other engineers who have had my experience can comment and help me resolve my dilemma):

I have designed a foundation for a client in the high Arctic. [I have had much experience designing and living in permafrost regions, and have designed other buildings and foundation systems in the North successfully. I am not a geotechnical engineer, and have worked with geotechs in the past to obtain optimum foundation systems.] So my question is not a technical one - rather, it is how to manage my client's expectations and inject some reality ...

The situation: My foundation is (was supposed to be) for a minimally-heated storage garage (pre-manufactured steel moment-frame) on relatively flat tundra (composed of post-glacial till and raised beaches). The active layer is approx. 2 m. An airport terminal building is very close to my site, and it has an RC slab, underlain by a system of thermosyphons. It has stood the test of time for at least 20 years.

However, a minimally-heated storage building does not call for the expense of thermosyphons. Originally, I had a long discussion with my client regarding the advantages of thermosyphons, but the expense had been an issue, understandably. Instead, I have designed a series of RC grade beams resting on 1 m thick well-compacted gravel, supporting a 150 mm (6") RC slab. 4" (100 mm) of extruded polystyrene insulation Type VII (for high compressive strength) will be placed under the grade beams, and 4" of Type IV under the RC slab. This is equivalent to (Imperial) R-20. This should take care of any residual heat being conducted down from a low-heat building.

The general approach to building on permafrost is to remove (isolate) the source of heat from conducting into the ground by elevating the building on ad-freeze (or ideally, rock-socketed) steel piles - or, in the case of a small building, to place it on wood cribs or adjustable steel jacks so the air can wash underneath. An insulated RC slab-on-grade supported by such piles would work in my case too, but it is expensive and not called for in a building with a very low heating regime. I have known simple warehouses to be placed directly on the ground on some gravel, but I will not take the chance that the permafrost will not melt and the building subside - even with minimal heat. For "unheated" warehouses, a thick pad of compacted gravel, as I have designed, is normally recommended, as I have designed in the past.

This design is complete and is due to go to the AHJs for permits. HOWEVER, I now have learned that:

1. my client is ignoring his initial written assurance that the building will have minimal heat, and is now planning on creating offices in one portion of the building, going ahead with oil-burning boilers and forced-hot air throughout.

2. Has also asked me to remove the 1 m gravel pad so access is at grade level.

Yikes!

I cannot allow my design as completed to be built (not with my seal on it!).

My intention is to immediately write a letter to my client, (re)explaining the technical problems of heating the permafrost, and the advantages of thermosyphons or ad-freeze piles (rock-socketing is not an option at my site). Either system would require me to engage a qualified geotech at my client's expense. I have also previously laboriously explained to my client that insulation only SLOWS or delays heat flow, but cannot entirely stop it...

My letter would also explain that I cannot affix my seal to a heated building unless the issues are properly dealt with in an appropriate design. The first step would be to engage a geotech to provide me with, as a first step, a desk-top study which hopefully I may be able to use to design a less conservative foundation. Even if my client agrees that he will take full responsibility for any subsidence issues should he opt to go ahead with his intentions. Ethically, I do not want my foundation to fail and some other owner (or, by default the government) have to bear the cost of remediation (huge or impractical) - or demolition - should the building become untenable.

The alternative is that I explain that I must remove myself as the EOR (a situation that my contract provides for).

I do not want to lose my client (who clearly does not comprehend the concerns, and is convinced that such measures as I have recommended are not necessary).

Any thoughts would be much appreciated. I have searched Eng-Tips, but cannot find any posts that seem to address this issue.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

I agree that heating some of the building or removal of gravel pad is asking for foundation problems (permafrost melting), let alone both.
You could design (specify) a shallow flat-loop thermoprobe system without having detailed knowledge of the soil conditions, similar to you've done with your gravel pad/insulation design.
These guys could provide design and products:
https://arcticfoundations.com/flat-loop-thermoprob...

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)
Thanks, CarlB. Yes, I have worked with Arctic Foundations before - they are the "go-to" folks. They are the ones I would recommend for such a system should my client be amenable.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)
Hello, all, I was hoping that other engineers would kindly comment on my dilemma and offer advice or comment. Many thanks in advance.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

I think you've laid it out as best as you can and most of us would agree with your assessment and options.

You aren't comfortable with making the changes the owner wants for valid reasons, therefore either the owner needs to change their mind, or release you as the EOR.

If you are concerned they will take your current drawings to the AHJ with your seal already on them, it wouldn't hurt to notify the AHJ that you've removed yourself as EOR and therefore any drawings with your seal that come in are not applicable.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

I've done a bunch of stuff in permafrost... and it's fun stuff. What you've done is common and necessary. Your client cannot proceed with his intended plans, without modification. If he does you should withdraw from being EOR and notify whatever authority is available... My $.02...

As a bit of a caution with 6' active layer you are in the warmer parts of permafrost... and with climate change this may not be the situation for long. The North is heating up faster than the south... places in Siberia have hit 31C...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)
Many thanks, Jayrod12, for your timely advice! Sometimes it helps to have the input of fellow professionals. I had never run across such a situation before where a client so blatantly ignores my design. Hopefully, my letter will affect a change in attitude...

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)
Thanks, Dik, This, too, is helpful advice. And, yes, Climate Change is indeed upon us - the North is warming twice as fast as the rest of Canada, and "southern" Canada is warming up (as you say) faster than the south. Active layers will increase, definitely. I always have a clause in my contracts to the effect that I cannot be responsible for the onslaught of such unnatural change. Every Geotech I know does the same.

Even our Climate Normals are unreliable now, so we can no longer rely on historical snow, rain, or wind data to guide us for the future. Canadian snow is becoming heavier... High winds are more severe and more frequent. When I design Northern roofs for snow loading, for example, I usually add a climate change coefficient at the front end of our LSD equations (which is now recommended in some of the CSA Northern Standards such as CSA S502-21 - "Managing changing snow load risks for buildings in Canada's North" - which is available for free download). Such added loading costs very little extra - especially considering the number of earlier roofs that are collapsing.

Again, I really appreciate your support!

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Thanks Aton2, I wasn't aware of the publication... will dig it up directly. Could be his building will soon be founded on ???

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Just tried to access the CSA site... most f*kt up site, I think I've seen...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

That was just a futile... government website designed by government employees for use by government employees... thanks for the effort.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

The Client is the most important person for me. He gives me the money. I write “Client”, not “client”
When differences arise I put in the documents everything that he likes, with the note “As suggested by the Client”.
I never had a problem with this.

Regards

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

@r6155...not a good process for liability protection. You could get hung with that approach.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

@Ron: What do you mean, "You could?" That's why I always postpone meetings if one of the parties brings a lawyer... I request the lawyer leave, or reschedule... I should have added, be extra careful, if you are the only technical guy in the room...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

@ Enable
All differences were discussed in a meeting, and a meeting minutes were signed. This with international companies in various projects. Not so stupid.
Maybe you don't have experience.

Regards

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

I believe your original post has a reasonable, sound way to proceed.
Stating in a letter that such and such alterations to your design comes with such and such consequences,
That the proposed alterations require another study to accomodate all concerns, which your client currently does not approve of,
or that you will withdraw from the project and from all future liability.

I would emphasize the alternatives and present a (short) roadmap towards a reasonable outcome, that it has a constructive atmosphere,
to avoid that the letter will be interpreted as "...($$$)... or I will leave the project" .

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

King... I wouldn't include withdrawal at this point. That would be the next letter.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote (Maybe you don't have experience.)


I don't know what Enable's experience is, but I suspect it's pretty good... I also suspect Ron's experience is pretty good, too... I do know my own and I am of the opinion that the three of us being critical of your comment might persuade you to change direction.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)
Hello, all, I am reading every comment and suggestion, and thank you for them. It is a great help and it eases my mind considerably that I am heading in the right direction -

Though there was never any doubt in my head that I would not ultimately withdraw from the project if it continued down the road my client wants. However, your help has made me refine my approach to my client. So:

Thanks, kingnero, I will incorporate your moderate approach, and "...emphasize the alternatives and present a (short) roadmap towards a reasonable outcome, that it has a constructive atmosphere, to avoid that the letter will be interpreted as "...($$$)..." I like this, as it adds some positive and hopeful tone.

And thanks again, Dik: in my letter, I plan to imply that the result of my client's refusal to follow my design will result in my withdrawal from the project, but will not actually or baldly state this until I must (hopefully not) write the "final" letter.

And, also, thank you to Enable and Ron for your forceful stances! I believe I will frame them.

Regards, Aton

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote (And, also, thank you to Enable and Ron for your forceful stances!)


Aton: Being Canadian... I always considered myself being the moderate one...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)
Dik, I hear you. Sometimes it means that we Canucks simply mask our strength in dulcet tones, while leaving our meaning crystal-clear.

Regards, Aton

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

@Enable. Good post. Can't believe an engineer would readily admit to what r6155 just said. Makes me cringe.

As engineers our first and most important obligation is to protect the health and welfare of the public. That comes before a client that gives me money.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote (As engineers our first and most important obligation is to protect the health and welfare of the public.)


They like to think that, but I don't think it's really the case. The Florida profession is strangely silent about the recent collapse... In Winnipeg, our Public Safety Building 'fell apart', likely costing millions of dollars and our profession was strangely silent about this likely building envelope failure... They spout it, but don't really mean it... not a peep out of them on climate change...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)
Dik, that is a sad and disheartening (but too often true, in my experience) statement wrt our fellow engineers - and many other professionals, for that matter.

Way back in early 2002, four of us on the Environment Committee of my Nova Scotia Engineering Association spent a year researching for what we hoped to be a Position Paper on how Engineers should approach climate change in our designs. We wrote articles for our provincial engineering mag "The Engineer", held workshops, and made presentations before Council. It took us a year, but, to our surprise and gratification, Council officially adopted our PP verbatim in '03 - which essentially stated that Engineers should follow the Precautionary Principle and produce designs that would take climate change into consideration. This was when IPCC's Third Assessment Report (TAR) was current. I do not know whether the PP is still "up" on the Association website...

The Position Paper seems rather feeble now - but two decades ago, relatively few folks were alarmed - and too many were skeptical of climate change science. The PP was a start, and sadly, we are still going through the same old nonsense from those who are not knowledgeable.



When we asked other Provincial and Territorial Associations if they had taken (or were considering) similar stands, none had, and one of the largest Associations wrote back to say that their position was that "they had no position." It was too hot a potato for some...

However, encouragingly, Engineers Canada took up the challenge that year, developed a committee (on which one of the four of us served), and began to seriously pursue the concerns regarding climate change.

It baffles and discourages me that there is still controversy regarding the dangers posed by this world-destroying phenomenon. Even when I apply a modest climate change coefficient for snow loads, it has caused a severe negative reaction among many of my colleagues, who do not have an understanding of the dangerously unreliable limitations of the climate loads in Appendix C of our Building Code.

Enough ranting.

Regards, Aton

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Real example: my calculations show 38mm anchor bolts. The Client acknowledges that it is correct but wants 50 mm anchor bolts. This generated an extra cost that they paid and accepted that a clarification be placed in the calculations.

Regards

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

dik, I think the boards are serious about that provision but maybe lack the power/resources to really enact change.

With the Surfside collapse there isn't anyone on the planet that knows what caused that collapse yet. Might have nothing to do with the original structural design. What should our profession be saying about that right now? IMO, anything that could be said right now would really be nothing but empty PR.

I haven't heard anything recently on the FIU bridge collapse but from what I've seen Denny Pate needs to lose his license. FIGG sat in front of the NTSB and said their bridge design was redundant. Not sure how anyone can argue that design was redundant.

With the Surfside thing hopefully that brings about some changes to the inspection report process. Currently we as engineers don't have much power to force repairs recommended in reports. Much like Enable was talking about, our reports generally go into the hands of someone that doesn't really understand the severity and in the case of the Surfside building are affected negatively financially if they perform the repairs. That's a recipe for needed maintenance to not happen.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

5
r6155 - consider the context, please. Your example and the apparent intent of your first post are polar opposites. The OP is about a client who want's to do something that will likely cause damage to the structure and could potentially be unsafe. Your response: do what the client says and just say so on the drawing. Based on the context, you're endorsing going along with the client's bad idea. Then in your example, you bring up a situation where the client wanted to (potentially) make your design stronger. Those are not the same thing.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I was taught that engineering assessments were meant to have teeth. If you say 'fix this problem or something could fail', you make sure it happens. If it doesn't, then you report the building to the AHJ. Case in point: I recently inspected a building with 'cracks in the wall'. Turned out the wall buckled and the building is no longer stable. I wrote the letter, and informed them that they were to prevent access to that portion of the building until repaired, and that I was to be notified within a certain time frame of the plan to repair. Failure to do so would result in a call to the building official for consideration of condemnation. Got a call last week to start the shoring design.

I realize this won't work all the time, and it must be wielded carefully. But I was taught that, as a structural engineer, once I've seen it I own it. And I've always taken that charge seriously.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

6
Unfortunately in building consulting, we are hired not because we are wanted, but because our involvement is legally required.

How this relationship works, is you pay me to say no to all your bad ideas, & in turn I will give you some good ideas. You may not like my ideas, because they are likely to be more costly and time consuming than your ideas. Yes, there is room to meet in the middle & by all means I try to accommodate you as much as I can.

I know it can be frustrating to you mr client, that you pay me to make this whole process more difficult. Though don't be confused. Even though you are paying me, my duty is not to serve you. My duty is to stand up for the guy you will be selling this building to. Because he will be buying the place based on the fancy tiles and carpet, not based on how well the building is built. My job is to make sure there is a proper pig beneath all the lipstick!

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote (dik, I think the boards are serious about that provision but maybe lack the power/resources to really enact change.)


contrary to their mission statement, they just don't want to get involved. hypocracy?

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote (we are hired not because we are wanted, but because our involvement is legally required.)


Great comment and more than often, it's true...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

NorthCivil - well put.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

@ phamENG
Increasing the diameter of the anchor bolt from 38 mm to 50 mm is dangerous if the distance between them is maintained as for 38 mm. Also for embedment depth. The Client only decides to change the diameter of the bolt, this is the difference that requires a note in the calculation "As suggested by the Client".

Regards

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

And that's why I said (potentially). If the client wanted larger anchors and you failed to adjust the design to accommodate it, that's on you. What you're suggesting flies in the face of the ethical tenets of this profession. Not sure how things are done in your part of the world, but where I am I would be 100% responsible for approving that regardless of who 'suggested' we do it. Now if I approve the 38mm and the client calls the fabricator and says cut the holes for 50mm, that would be on the owner. But the information on documents bearing my seal belongs to me.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

2

Quote (phamENG)

But the information on documents bearing my seal belongs to me.

Exactly. As the design engineer, everything in my design that has my seal on it is my domain and my responsibility. Nobody changes something in my design. If I'm asked to change something in the design, I check it, and if the design is still adequate with the change, then I'll change the design. If not, the design stays as is. My boss puts his seal on the details taking responsibility that the details are consistent with the design, so it's the same for him; he's in charge of what's in the details

A PE doesn't get off the hook, morally or legally, by adding a note that 'the client, who's not an engineer, told me to change it'.

Rod Smith, P.E., The artist formerly known as HotRod10

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)
Well said, BridgeSmith. Unfortunately, with the

  • proliferation of U-Tube "How-To" shows,
  • increase in corporate engineering mills,
  • creeping populist mistrust in science/technology/medicine/engineering,
  • growth of the internet, where anyone can pose as an expert and expound on some nonsense, and the
  • general reduction of rigour in our education system,
everyone and anyone feels he or she is qualified to over-ride the design advice of those who have spent many years perfecting their crafts. Thus, Qanon, climate change denial, anti-vaxx, and any number of other whacko, uninformed theories.

Regards, Aton

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Not even a nuclear plant can be completed if it is intended to comply with all codes.
That is why the non-conformity report was created, but it is used excessively.

Regards

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote (dik)

Quote (As engineers our first and most important obligation is to protect the health and welfare of the public.)

They like to think that, but I don't think it's really the case. The Florida profession is strangely silent about the recent collapse...
Too many lawyers and too many people covering their own asses. Investigations and reporting about failures or near misses is extremely important especially if they are a serious or novel failure. Learning from mistakes (preferably other peoples) is an excellent way of avoiding repeating them.

One of my hobbies is rock climbing. I might be hanging or occasionally falling when I'm several 100m off the deck. I am continually relying on my own ability to risk assess, assess the strength of temporary rock anchors and most importantly avoid complacency. My point is that I've learnt alot by reading about serious accidents and deaths in climbing. I don't want to be one of them.

Quote (NorthCivil)

Unfortunately in building consulting, we are hired not because we are wanted, but because our involvement is legally required.
Yes that is unfortunate. In that sense I might be lucky because I work as an inhouse structural engineer for a mechanical/process engineering company so I don't have this problem. I initially had the problem WITHIN the company, but now they've realised how essential the work is so it is valued.
(I sorta fell into this company because several years back on paper I wasn't highly employable by your typical structural engineering firm. After a couple years not really doing structural stuff, I'm now neck deep in interesting and diverse stuff.)

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

r6155 - I spent 6 years in naval nuclear power operations before getting my civil engineering degree. I can say both as a Nuclear Operator and now a licensed Professional Engineer (Structural), your attitude sends a chill to my very core. The requirements of the building code do not represent the ideal - they represent the bare minimum structure you can legally design and build. The average engineer produces designs that are better than the building code.

I have to ask - where do you practice engineering? Is that Argentina?

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote:

The average engineer produces designs that are better than the building code.

Fixed this for you...

Quote:

The good engineer produces designs that are better than the building code.

https://engineervsheep.com

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote (Aton2)

everyone and anyone feels he or she is qualified to over-ride the design advice of those who have spent many years perfecting their crafts.

That may be true is some instances, but someone overriding my design makes them liable for the consequences. If I see something that is unsafe, whether it's something different than my design, or completely unrelated to one of my designs, I have an obligation to alert the proper authorities, but but I am not responsible if that warning goes unheeded.

That is a significantly different situation than someone asking or telling me to alter a design that bears my seal. My seal will not go on anything that I am not completely confident is adequate, and once my seal goes on it, I keep a scanned copy secured.

Rod Smith, P.E., The artist formerly known as HotRod10

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)

Quote (Bridgesmith)

That may be true is some instances, but someone overriding my design makes them liable for the consequences.
Good in theory, Bridgesmith, but lawyers tend to take shot-gun approaches to lawsuits, and let the facts surface later - leading to much angst and expense prior to ultimate exoneration. Usually, there is not much we engineers can do to stop a client from altering our design AFTER occupancy - in which case, if failure occurs, the client may easily "forget" that the change was not authorized by the EOR.

This is one of the concerns I am having with my dilemma - that my client may agree with me now, just to keep the project rolling, but will heat the hell out of the space once Occupancy has been granted - and so I need to clip it in the offing by some written agreement that this scenario will not happen. In reality, I have lost enough faith that I am thinking of simply walking away at this stage anyway - but that approach has its own issues. I must handle it carefully.

Update: I have sent my letter to my client explaining (once more) the dangers of a melting permafrost, and outlined the history of our correspondence (wherein my client clearly stated that they would put no more than minimal heat into the building), I said that I wanted to work with them to find a satisfactory and safe solution, and provided some alternative theoretical options that we could pursue (flat-loop thermosyphons being one)...no mention at this time that I would not stamp unsafe designs, but did state that the AHJ would not allow the building to proceed without an engineer's seal. Thanks again, for all your good advice and comments.

I am not too sanguine as to a happy outcome. We shall see....

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Can you suggest an alternative that would allow him to proceed with his approach? More insulation, whatever?

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote:

 so I need to clip it in the offing by some written agreement that this scenario will not happen

This is what a Design Basis Memorandum is for. You set out what you're designing for, and in this case what you aren't because of your specific concerns, and you get the client to agree to this in writing. Then reflect the critical stuff on the first drawing with a reference to the full document.

If you're still worried with that in place, you should walk away. It means the legal environment isn't right for engineering.

The owner has the right to modify the building in future. You shouldn't be seeking to limit them. But they do it knowing it requires a modification.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)
Dik, thanks again. Back in April, I had gone through some conceptual drawing scenarios with my client to try to see what could be done if they wanted to heat the conditioned space, but, after the exercise, I immediately told the him that I was not happy with those options, and discarded them as being unworkable and impractical. That was when they told me that they would not heat the warehouse (or would install only very minimal heat).

Now, you have got me thinking once more, and I will re-visit the issue with more insulation under the concrete pads and grade beams - and no thick gravel pad. I plan to run a few back-of-envelope heat transfer scenarios and see... I doubt it will produce any great results, but it is worth the exercise on my part - if nothing else to ease my mind. Appreciate your continuing input!

Regards, Aton

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)

Quote (This is what a Design Basis Memorandum is for. You set out what you're designing for, and in this case what you aren't because of your specific concerns, and you get the client to agree to this in writing. Then reflect the critical stuff on the first drawing with a reference to the full document.)

steveh49, thanks. Your advice is good. While I agree that what the owner does after the building is constructed is beyond my control, I feel that my responsibility is to make very clear that, as I designed it, the structure will probably not be stable if it is heated to human comfort levels by present or future owners. Maybe I am worried excessively, but...

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Insulation sometimes only delays a process... I was thinking that it may be time to talk to a lawyer to see how you can be insulated, yourself...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

(OP)
Dik, yes, I have explained this to the client - insulation only slows heat. I just want to go through the maths to demonstrate the model. If I decide to remove myself from the project, I think I am insulated legally by my contract and by the multitude of meeting minutes and e-mails throughout.

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote:

there is not much we engineers can do to stop a client from altering our design AFTER occupancy

How a building is constructed or used does not alter the design.

I understand that in the case of a catastrophic failure, the lawyers do tend to try to nail everybody, but if the engineer has done their due diligence and acted responsibly, things will get straightened out, eventually.

Rod Smith, P.E., The artist formerly known as HotRod10

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote (How a building is constructed or used does not alter the design.)


Maybe not in Florida, but in permafrost, how a building is used can definitely affect how it is designed.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

BridgeSmith,
I do not question your intent, but I also have my doubts on the way you put it into writing.
Different uses will for example give different live loads. If your client asks you to design a bridge on a rural road, and afterwards he changes the road in a highway (or allow much hiogher axle roads), I'm sure you'll agree that a change is use alters the design criteria.

Here, the OP foresees changes in use afterwards, and tries to anticipate on them. He (she/it*) is clearly aware of the problems that can arise if the client doesn not follow his advice. No reaction from the OP's side will certainly come back to bite him in the rear end.

* I'm trying to be inclusive, but I don't know how in English...

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote:

 Maybe I am worried excessively, but...

Maybe, maybe not. You can only protect yourself as best you can. Walking away doesn't feed the family though.

One thing I'd also do, in addition to the agreed design basis, is advise (in writing) that alterations in future to withstand heating are likely to be more expensive than doing it initially. I sat through a legal training course once where the lesson was that clients may be given the privilege of being considered ignorant even if they're experienced developers. Engineer lost out for not advising that column-free space makes the roof structure pricy. (Duh)

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote (Hesheit)


almost a new word... had an elderly neighbour in Oshawa that had a cat she called..."Heshe" because she didn't know if it was male or female.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: My client is changing and/or ignoring my advice and design

Quote (dik)

...in permafrost, how a building is used can definitely affect how it is designed.

Quote (kingnero)

Different uses will for example give different live loads. If your client asks you to design a bridge on a rural road, and afterwards he changes the road in a highway (or allow much higher axle roads), I'm sure you'll agree that a change is use alters the design criteria.

No, a change in use at a later time does not alter the design criteria. The design loads are to be clearly documented in the design, and a change of use does not alter that, or make me responsible if it falls down because someone drove a truck over it that it was not designed to carry.

I get it, guys. Yes, buildings should be designed by the engineer to meet the design criteria, and for the conditions of use, which are given to the engineer, and then documented in the design. What I'm saying is that if something I designed is later on used for a purpose or in a way it was not designed for, that is not a change to the design criteria, and it is not my responsibility.

However, if I know, or find out, that it is to be used in a way that it was not designed to be used, I have a responsibility to alert the client/owner. If they ignore me, and it could pose a danger to people's safety, then I have a responsibility to report it the AHJ.

Rod Smith, P.E., The artist formerly known as HotRod10

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