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Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package
14

Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

(OP)
The company I work at we designed a steel building, and we are the EOR. We got the shop drawings for the steel building, but no calculation package. In our general notes we have the language of the details being standard details, and they need to have an engineer to design the connections. We also state to send over stamped calcs for us to do a quick verification. Contractors and clients want to move the project forward without worrying about us checking the calcs/connections. Just make sure the steel beams/columns and E sheets are representative of the structural drawings.
One of the engineers here is saying we perhaps can add a big Note stating that we did not check the calculations nor the connections they provided, and we only checked the configuration of the steel members and exact sizes and are not responsible for connections and they must provide calculation package for record.

In addition, we would stamp it as “approved as noted.”

When it comes to liability, how liable are we if the connections are not sufficient and a failure occurs since we are the EOR? Is there any other recommended language or additional note to add?

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

I don't know how the liability would work out on that.

I can tell you from the other end, several of my connection design projects have come about after the drawings were submitted for approval. The EOR said "hey, you need calcs too" and the fabricator called me.

In other words, I get the impression EORs aren't shy about sending it back C&R for this.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

PEMB manufacturers are reluctant to provide design calculations... normally reserved for reactions only. You may be attracting added liability by having the calculations.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

(OP)

Quote (271828)

In other words, I get the impression EORs aren't shy about sending it back C&R for this.

We usually wait till fabricators send the calc package to us or require them to resubmit them with the revised markups. But in this case, the project is on an extremely tight deadline, that they want us to stamp it "reviewed as noted" and are okay with us adding whatever language to the shops to release liability from us. However, some of us think we cannot relinquish liability since we are the EOR. Other half think we clarify it and note it somehow and liability is relinquished from us.

Quote (dik)

PEMB manufacturers are reluctant to provide design calculations

It's not a PEMB, just typical steel building that we designed.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

Sorry... just regular shop drawings from a metal fabricator...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

2
This sounds like a bit of a mess. Questions and thoughts below:

Q1: Did the fabricator's engineer stamp the shop drawings or provide a letter saying they have designed the connections?
Q2: Is the framing regular and standard? That is: is this mainly simple shear connections and gusset plates?
Q3: Did your drawings illustrate the connection details and leave the specifics (weld size, bolt size, gusset size) to the fabricator?

T1: If you put the note on your drawings, somebody doesn't follow the note, and then you're considering ignoring your own note requirements and using another Big Note stating that you ignored the first note and tight schedule dictates...I think that's a bit of bad look on the EOR.
T2: Fabricator and EOR playing a game of chicken to see if stamped calculations are actually required. This may set a precedent in the future that would be hard to reverse.
T3: I would play one of two hands: (A) Deadline can suck it. Follow the requirements on the drawings to proceed. (B) Review the shop drawings and general connection styles. Are they what you would expect? Can you find at least one thing incorrect or curiously designed (ie. an under/oversized weld). Try to find a reason for having the calculations. I realize (B) is not in the scope of the EOR, but ultimately it's your building.

People get caught playing this dumb game of "who liable" with delegated design elements and it's frustrating, annoying, and irresponsible. Everyone's liable. You're an engineer. Building fall down, everyone will get their chance to be on the hook.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

I think the "real" question is whether you think the calculations need to be sealed and approved for the sake of safety.

I wonder if you could let them get going, with calcs and drawings to follow, knowing that you will check them. If you find problems, they'll have to revise the drawings or refabricate some parts. Make sure the GC understands the arrangement because they would be getting the change order bills. The risk of this nonstandard arrangement would be on the fabricator and GC. It should be, considering they're the ones who missed the note. These notes are usually pretty obvious. Like someone else typed, they might be playing chicken.

The bottom line is the connections must be OK. What are you supposed to do if you find something that's very wrong? Just say "we said 'approved as noted' so I guess the occupants will just get a less safe building"? Of course not.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

2
Ok, I’m not a civil engineer, but this makes no sense to me.
EOR designs a building. Then expects someone else to design the steel connections?? Huh? Aren’t the connections one of the more important design items? Why would the EOR building designer not do the connection design?

It would be like me designing an airplane, but expecting some supplier to design the wing to fuselage joint.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

Quote (SWComposites)

Ok, I’m not a civil engineer, but this makes no sense to me.
EOR designs a building. Then expects someone else to design the steel connections?? Huh? Aren’t the connections one of the more important design items? Why would the EOR building designer not do the connection design?

It would be like me designing an airplane, but expecting some supplier to design the wing to fuselage joint.

Delegating the design of steel connections is typical east of the Rockies. It has been done that way forever.

Here's one that's even more surprising: In some buildings, the connections are designed by a detailer instead of an engineer. They pull the strengths from established tables. This isn't just on easy buildings either. I've worked on several industrial jobs with pretty nasty connections that were drawn by the detailer. Then the EOR said to submit calcs and they hired me to (hopefully) show that their connections work. In some cases, a lot of revisions were required.

When you design an airplane is there no part of it that is "performance specified" or delegated?

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

For aircraft structure, there can be design suppliers (they do the design and analysis, as well as fabrication) but everything gets reviewed and approved by the OEM, then submitted to the FAA for certification. Some systems components get certified directly by the component designer, but the OEM is still responsible for the integration of those systems into the aircraft. We wouldn’t conceive of letting someone design structural joints with review of the design and analysis, supported by sufficient test data.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

Listen your client and his contractor may be pushing you to complete this FAST so they can keep going on schedule. But if ANYTHING even remotely related to the building goes to a lawsuit, the very same client will get Lawyers who can easily point to this and say... Why didn't you review the structural calculations in accordance with the requirements of IBC? The very same contractor will say that they have no liability for the engineering and that they followed your guidance the entire time.

The very real possibility is that you have been given a set of fabrications with no calcs behind them at all.

Quote (EngStuff)

When it comes to liability, how liable are we if the connections are not sufficient and a failure occurs since we are the EOR? Is there any other recommended language or additional note to add?

100%. (I'm not a lawyer, but seems like if you assume 100% responsibility then you cover yourself). Pretty sure that no matter how hard you might try to put notes, the EOR has professional liability exposure for the work.

If you go ahead and proceed without seeing the calcs, you might not ever see them. If something goes wrong, you guys will be the only PE's with skin in the game, there wont be a stamped drawing that shows the connections to look at so only your drawing will be available....

*Edit. And notes attempting to relieve your professional liability will be plastered all over the drawings, which is good evidence that you knew something about this process was fishy and kept going anyway!

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

Quote (271828)

I've worked on several industrial jobs with pretty nasty connections that were drawn by the detailer. Then the EOR said to submit calcs and they hired me to (hopefully) show that their connections work. In some cases, a lot of revisions were required.

I am in this boat way too often and it is not fun.

EngStuff, I recommend demanding the calcs. I don't think it is prudent to do otherwise. Some detailers that these steel fabricators hire are just glorified BIM'ers and don't even know what the AISC manual looks like.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

EngStuff, was the shop drawing signed and sealed? Is there information for an engineering company on the shop drawing title block?

If not, I expect the most likely explanation is that the fabricator did not hire an engineer at all. That being the case, you have a traditional shop drawing and not a deferred submittal.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

I agree with most on here that you have everything to lose and nothing to gain... Maybe I should restate that, your client has everything to gain and nothing to lose. I would insist on the sealed calculations or check every connection yourself. If they will not pay you to check them then insist on the calcs. If your client decides to proceed without the calculations it is their risk and should be done explicitly against your wishes.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

Quote:

If your client decides to proceed without the calculations it is their risk and should be done explicitly against your wishes.
What obligation does EOR have to NOT allow the building to move forward? Seems like there is still an issue if EOR knows due diligence hasn't been done and doesn't stop it.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

EOR can petition the B. Official to put a stop on a project. Its not pretty but it is possible.

Duty is to public first then client. EOR must promptly advise client of potential repercussions of not following EOR's advice.

You have the shop drawings, if you dont get calcs its on you to check them and provide comments back not to just accept them as is.

You have all the info you need to determine if the building is going to be safe or not, if it comes out unsafe well... pretty easy to know where to point the finger imho.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

You could put a note along the lines of, sealed drawings and calculations are required to be submitted for the connections; if contractor elects to proceed without said calculations contractor accepts all liability and connections may be required to be fixed at contractors expense. The EOR accepts no liability and recommends sealed drawings and calculations prior to construction per the construction documents.

Try to word it in a way that puts the liability and decision completely on the contractor; however as others have said, if something goes wrong, everyone will get sued and you will most likely have an insurance increase due to their time spent dealing with this.

To date, I have rejected shop drawings if they didn't have calculations when required.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

It is not our place to direct or stop construction. That can lead to increase liability based on the way our insurance works. Our work product is our sealed drawings and therefore that is our only means of recourse. In the past I have contacted the AHJ and pulled my stamp from the project in writing. It creates quite a mess for all involved in the project, and no one comes out looking great so it is last resort. At the end of the day, the owner has an LLC that will not exist after substantial completion but your name and stamp will be on the drawings on file with the AHJ long beyond the statute of repose in your state. Your responsibility is to the structure of the building, not the owner, contractor, AHJ, or anyone else who barks orders at you. Your seal is your livelihood so, at the very least, any risk should be balanced by a commensurate reward. In this case, it does not sound like you have anything to gain for this added risk.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

If you required those calcs, stick to that spec. If you didn't design them, then somebody needs to.

DO NOT say "if so and so proceeds without approved shop drawings"...I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds a lot like you saying there's a path there that would be okay. There isn't. I know that. You know that. Everyone on this forum knows that. But the contractor's and owner's lawyers will twist it to sound like you said it's okay "if". They did the if, but oh by the way that liability is not transferable so...oops.

Don't let them bully you. If you have to lose a client, so be it. I wouldn't want to work with somebody who bullies me anyway. (Your boss may have other ideas, of course, so if you have a boss to run this by you might want to let them make the call.)

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

5
Jack Gillum, PE, designed a walkway.
He delegated the connection design to a fabricator.
Fabricator didn't finish the design but transferred the work to another fabricator.
Second fabricator assumed first fabricator did the connection design.
Shops were finished and submitted to Jack.
Jack didn't fully check them but returned them Approved as noted.
Walkway was built.
Walkway fell down.
Over 100 people died.

Judge in the case stated that "you can delegate design but you can't ever delegate responsibility as the EOR."

Anything goes wrong it ultimately falls on the Engineer of Record.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

Can you review the structural beam sizes if you don't know if the connections are moment resisting? Is that something left up to the fabricator or noted on your drawings?

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

“It has been done that way forever” is no excuse. And by the way, that statement is incorrect. Delegated design of connections is a relatively new (and flawed) concept.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

Quote (hokie66)

“It has been done that way forever” is no excuse. And by the way, that statement is incorrect. Delegated design of connections is a relatively new (and flawed) concept.

I'm interested in your perspective on why delegated design of connections is flawed.

As for the history, I can just say it's been that way during my career, but that's less than 30 years. My understanding is detailers used to "design" the connections before that, so the situation might've been worse. When was the phase when it was typical for EORs east of the Rockies to design the connections?

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

If EOR is still responsible for delegated design, what does this mean for general/municipal civils that rely on engineered designs for, say, a precast box culverts, manholes, and junction boxes that get installed on many municipal projects? Is the only correct way to subcontract a structural engineer to design these and cast in place?

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

I'm not sure the connection that failed in hyatt regency was delegated, as far as I understand it is shown on the engineering drawings. Rather, the fabricator changed it to be more erectable. If anything, more delegated design would have helped - had the fabricator had a connection engineer who understood the forces, it could have been arranged more rationally.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

I killed some time at work reading into the case because I was interested.. It was deemed a "special connection" and there were no connection details or intended loads on the structural drawings. The EOR said in the hearings that it was intended for the fabricator to complete the design of the connections. The shop drawings did propose a different connection than what was initially proposed, but the EOR said that the connection in the shop drawings would be fine (without doing any checks).

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

The point about the Hyatt isn't that delegated vs eor designed connections are better or worse. Its that the EOR has the ultimate responsibility for the construction. Regardless of delegated designs, regardless of fabricator error. The EOR is where the buck stops. At the Hyatt there were at least 2 issues leading to failure. 1 The connection was under-designed to begin with by the EOR, 2 The connection was further compromised by a change by the fabricator on the shop drawings, and the EOR approved it!

The EOR is responsible to verify that delegated designs meet the design intent of the construction drawings. We don't just call out delegated designs, then turn the blind eye to them and say 'Well its not my stamp'.

For general/municipal civil I'm not so sure how it works, but there should be a contract document that establishes the required design criteria stamped by the EOR. The eor is responsible to ensure that the deferred engineering work meets or exceeds those requirements and that the design is safe.



RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

271828,
I can only speak to the situation in Virginia before 1983, and we structural engineers designed our own connections, then checked the shop drawings to ensure they followed the design intent.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

For the last three years I've been designing connections for steel fabricators... there is no problem with this. When I did design work on projects we would stipulate the design loading for the metal fabricator's engineer to design and seal. This was taken at face value and was delegated... as the designer, I never required proof that the bolts were really A325s, either... or that the material was as spec'd... this too was delegated... There is nothing wrong with delegated connections; it allows someone that specialises in this work to undertake it in the most economical fashion possible.

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

Quote (driftLimiter)

...Its that the EOR has the ultimate responsibility for the construction. Regardless of delegated designs, regardless of fabricator error. The EOR is where the buck stops.

Yes

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

What's the reason the fabricator isn't responsible for fabrication errors?

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

The fabricator is responsible for his own errors. But in cases of major failures, everyone involved in the project can be at peril of litigation, especially those with deep pockets.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

@stevenh49 I suppose I should qualify my statement a bit better. The EOR is responsible to provide a safe design. Fabrication error after approved shop drawings falls outside of design and now into construction defect, EOR not responsible for that. Hopefully a good QA/QC is in place to catch it.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

The EOR may delegate tasks, that includes responsibility for the extent of his checking of the delegated design. He can not delegate the responsibility for a safe design product, to the design is no longer under his responsible charge.

As discussed above we have evidence that taking shortcuts with responsibility has consequences.

Quote (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyatt_Regency_walkwa...)


Quote (Montgomery, Rick (July 15, 2001). "20 years later: Many are continuing to learn from skywalk collapse". The Kansas City Star. p. A1. Archived from the original on January 8, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2020.)

Edward Pfrang, lead investigator for the National Bureau of Standards, characterized the neglectful corporate culture surrounding the entire Hyatt construction project as "everyone wanting to walk away from responsibility".

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

It's best to explicitly call for Option 1, 2, or 3 as called for in the AISC Code of Standard Practice. This is the closest thing to being "covered" in terms of liability. It also outlines the various parties' responsibilities.

That said, the provisions still induce several pages of commentary, which tells us that connection design is a bit of a sticky wicket, regardless of the option chosen.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

(OP)
Hi all!

A Quick update, essentially what my boss told us to do was to check them, note whatever is obvious in addition to the calcs required. stamp it as reject and resubmit. To paraphrase what he said. Someone messed up and it's either the contractor or fabricator. They had all this time to supply required signed and sealed calculations by an Engineer. They also know they have to provide them majority of the time unless it's a complicated connection. They know they have to hire an engineer to design the calculations. We did our due diligence and provided what we are supposed to as EOR. If they missed the deadline, it's not our problem. They can make up for it another way and not have us be the scapegoat.

I noticed a question about delegated design. I remember one of the engineers here stated that most the times if we provide designed connections. We tend to get bothered to change them to either bolts and/or welds. So, it's easier to provide standard details and give them freewill to detail it how they please (within standard limits) and as long as they have an engineer provide a signed and sealed calculation package for us to review. There are some complex connections that we still provide a design for because of different loadings.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

Where I worked from my graduation from university about 1965, up to about 2017 (I partially retired about 2006; fully retired about 2017), our shop review drawing stamp was changed to remove the word "approved".
This was after we asked a law firm to review our procedures, documents, etc., and they advised us to replace the word "approved" with the word "reviewed" and never to use the word "approved" in any document or correspondence.

The note on the shop drawing review stamp said that some, but not all items had been reviewed for "general conformity" with the design drawings and specifications, etc. ... I cannot remember what the exact wording was, on what then was a "rubber stamp". That was a different era; I imagine that today drawings are CAD and shop drarwing review "stamps" as well as mark-ups, are in CAD.

The lawyer who advisedd us, had graduated as an engineer, and then later graduated in, and practiced law. So he had a good understanding of engineering, and never asked us to do things that were not in accordance with good practice and ethics. He was a unique person. Unfortunately he passed away reltively young.

RE: Shop Drawings, No Calculation Package

ajk1 - despite your attorney's suggestion, I've had other attorneys say that changing the wording on a review stamp doesn't really accomplish anything.

In fact, and unfortunately for the assumption that "approved" is bad, AISC specifically requires EOR's (Owner's designated representative for design) to "approve" submittal documents.
See section 4.4 of the Code of Standard Practice where it states: "Approved approval documents shall be indiidually annotated by the owner's designated representative for design and construction as either approved or approved subject to corrections noted."

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