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Robin E. Treston
Senior Member
Username: robin

Post Number: 20
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 07:02 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Chapter 17 of the IBC is pretty specific about special inspections that the Owner is required to perform. One of the options in Masterspec is to have the "Owner engage an independant testing laboratory..." The specs then proceed to list a number of specific tests under Field Quality Control. In a a recent discussion with a client, the questions arose of why we are specifying these tests if they are outlined in the Code and are the responsibility of the Owner. Can anyone help clarify this for me? Thanks!
Ronald L. Geren, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: specman

Post Number: 154
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 07:34 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I think this is one of those areas where MasterSpec goes a little overboard. You're correct in that there's no need to state the specific test requirements since the contractor is not obligated to perform the tests or inspections. But, I think it is important to retain the paragraph stating that the owner is engaging the inspector just to make sure the contractor is aware of it, as indicated in the following paragraph from the structural steel section:

A. Testing Agency: Owner will engage a qualified independent testing and inspecting agency to inspect [field welds][and][high-strength bolted connections].

I've seen the structural engineer place special inspection requirements on the general structural notes of his drawings, so repeating it in the specifications is unnecessary (since trying to get the SE to remove them from his drawings will be very unlikely).

Sometimes, it may be necessary to specify specific requirements since the AHJ may have amendments requiring special inspections beyond those in the code (i.e. City of Phoenix) that the contractor may not be familiar with.

It may also be necessary to indicate the frequency of the inspections and tests, or the conditions in which an inspection or test is necessary, to ensure timely calls into the special inspector.
Anne Whitacre, CCS CSI
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 208
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 08:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

the section for testing is in the project manual because the Contractor is required to provide access to the materials and project -- and not ask for a change order for interrupted site access; and sometimes the contractor is required to provide patching or other materials for the testing agency. When we used to do more destructive testing, it was the contractor's responsibility to provide patching materials and labor. We include the testing section because labor, site access, and specific access for the thing to be tested ARE dollar items that must be included in the contractor's bid. Note also that we typically say that if the system fails the test, the Contractor is required to revise said system at his cost until it passes the test. So.. in short, it is the coordination and access that the GC provides that is really being specified in that section.
Richard L. Hird P.E. CCS
Senior Member
Username: dick_hird

Post Number: 28
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 10:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Even though the IBC mandates that the Owner provides certain testing services, I do not believe it can mandate contractual relationships. It makes no difference whether the Owner contracts directly with an independent party, or contracts through the Contractor for such services. It must be defined in the contract/specifications which method the Owner chooses.

Aside - There have been times in my professional life where I came to trust Contractors I did not know, more than the Owner I did know. I did not leave anything to the Owner.
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: markgilligan

Post Number: 7
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 02:18 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

As a Structural Engineer I deal with these issues all the time. The cleanest way is to place the technical requirements for testing and inspections in the technical specification sections. This would include frequency of tests and inspections. The administrative provisions should be placed in Division 1 and be coordinated with the consultants. Note that special inspections are not limited to the structural work.

The reasons for placing these provisions in the specs include:
--They need to be defined in order to get a building permit.
--The Contractor needs to be aware of the testing and inspection requirements.
--This facilitates the coordination of the testing and inspection provisions with the submittals as well as material and workmanship requirements.

You are right that the tests and inspections provided by the Owner could be removed from the Contract Documents but I fear that this would cause other problems. You would still have to share the technical provisions with the Contractor and it would be harder to coordinate the separate provisions. One option that is very doable would be to extract the provisions dealing with the qualifications of the Owners Testing Laboratory and administrative provisions dealing with their services. These provisions could be placed in a separate document which would be a permit document but not a part of the Project Manual.

Attempts to list specific tests and inspections in Division 1 are practically guaranteed to fail. The Architects specification writer will typically not understand the nuances and the engineering consultants are typically not consulted. Division 1 should be limited to addressing issues such as notification of the laboratory, the contractors need to provide access, and who pays for re-tests.

The reason that the code requires the Owner or his agent (Architect or Engineer) to hire certain testing services directly is to prevent conflicts of interest. Contractors can influence the Testing laboratory to overlook certain problems if they pay for the testing and inspections. As long as the Testing laboratory and the inspectors meet the qualifications the Owner can hire whoever he wants.

Not all Structural Engineers list special inspections on the drawings and when they do they often provide only a summary list leaving the detail provisions in the technical specification sections. Be aware that the ICC has adopted changes to the Quality Assurance Plan required in Chapter 17, that will probably require that some of the QA Plan be on the drawings.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 368
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 08:40 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

As pointed out, physical access to the points needing inspection is a definite cost that must be borne by the contractor--providing the specs require them to. Getting the inspector to each weld may require personnel lifts and the like, which the inspector would not typically provide.

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