Structural Engineers Association of Arizona

PO Box 645, Tempe, AZ 85280  Phone: 602-492-6732

Email Us: info@seaoa.org

City of Phoenix is looking for Public Input: NEW Certification Requirements for all Special Inspector

  • 25 Mar 2014 1:40 PM
    Message # 1524724
    Brady Notbohm (Administrator)

    The City of Phoenix is looking for public input regarding the 2012 IBC’s requirements for Special Structural Inspections to be provided by ICC certified inspectors or requires engineers to be registered professionals.  This will disqualify younger engineers with EIT status from providing structural inspections. Some SEAoA members think this requirement as unnecessary. They believe that special inspections are an important step in the training process for young engineers.  It provides a physical connection between the code required analysis and the physical materials being used to actually build the structure. 

    SEAoA Code Committee will review this requirement and provide the State Board a position statement  that can be issued to the City of Phoenix for this consideration.

    The SSI Flyer from the City of Phoenix can be found at Special Inspector Flyer.pdf

  • 25 Mar 2014 1:43 PM
    Reply # 1524728 on 1524724
    Brady Notbohm (Administrator)

    I believe EIT’s are capable of doing structural special inspection, as long as they are being mentored by a registered engineer.

    I have a structural special inspection guide I have written out and provided for my company’s special inspectors. I suspect other local engineers have done the same. And of course, I make myself available for field questions from my inspectors in the field.

    As long as EIT special inspectors are not thrown into the field without guidance, and with hands on guidance in the field at any particularly sensitive or new type of inspection, provided by the registered engineer, they are certainly capable of being structural special inspectors.

    Eric Keller, S.E. Structural|Architectural Resource Team

    architecture| master planning| interiors| sustainable design| construction management | structural

    99 e. virginia ave, ste 120 phoenix, az 85004 | 602.307.5399  | 602.509.9415

    www.art-team.com
  • 25 Mar 2014 1:45 PM
    Reply # 1524731 on 1524724
    Brady Notbohm (Administrator)

    Paul,

    Thanks for time and effort you are putting into the SEAOA code committee issues. The changes within SSI requiring registered structural engineers or ICC certification to carry out the SSI program is limiting to the structural engineering profession by omitting the EIT community. Just as residents perform Dr. duties with oversight out of school, we have EIT’s perform and learn by performing tasks associated with our field (while out of school). Structural special inspections is one such task that is important for young EIT’s to have the chance to perform with proper oversight by the registered professional. Please let me and my firm know what we can do to help SEAoA make their case for a variance.

    Warmest regards,

    Tony Polusny

    Tony Polusny | MEYER BORGMAN JOHNSON | 1438 West Broadway Road | Tempe AZ 85282 | o 480 747 6737 | SEE STRUCTURE.

    www.mbjeng.com

  • 25 Mar 2014 2:05 PM
    Reply # 1524752 on 1524724
    Brady Notbohm (Administrator)

    I have RSVP’d to the Phoenix Open House and plan to be there to speak to the issue of their new policy regarding special inspectors.  My hope is that you can be there too as well as others I am trying to rally that have also expressed their displeasure with this poorly thought out policy change.  This appears to me to be a solution looking for a problem.  The issues as I see them are as follows:

     

    1)  As Engineers, we are qualified to design the project, inspect the project, take responsibility for the project inspections, but we are not qualified to select who are our inspectors, our eyes in the field?  Really?  We are being forced to use somebody we may not wish to?

     

    2)  I see the issue of excluding EIT’s as them being able to sit at a desk designing these projects, under supervision, but are not able to be taken out in the field initially by the supervising PE to be trained as to what/how to inspect their own work to the satisfaction of the supervising Engineer, then to follow up with subsequent inspections of the very same items on their own denying them much needed field experience and making the hiring of the inexperienced much less attractive.  By implication, the schooling and training of an EIT is inferior to the continuing education units training of an ICC certified inspector?

     

    3)  As Professional Engineers we are not capable of training our own personnel to perform inspections as we want them to be done?  My case, my inspector has been with me thirteen years, was Navy trained as a welder to include exotic metals, was part of the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant construction & start up QC department inspecting many items including welds.  He is 66 years old and is willing to work part time.  He will not be pursuing ICC certification due to his age and the expense.  They are forcing him out of a much needed job when he has been performing his duties satisfactorily for these many years. 

     

    4)  This policy puts small consulting firms at an economic disadvantage if they wish to be involved in special inspections as they are not able to maintain all the special inspectors required for a project on payroll and will be forced to release control of this portion of their very own projects.  While I understand that some Engineers believe inspections are nothing but liability traps, others have actually built businesses out of it and the City of Phoenix still requires some Engineer to take final responsibility for the inspections in the end anyway, not an ICC certified inspector.  As I am understanding it, a simple steel carport design will now require three specialized ICC inspectors, one Geo to look at the hole in the ground, one AWS/ICC inspector to look at the low strength, single pass field welds, and one ICC certified commercial building inspector to look at steel other that structural. 

     

    5)  If there has been past issues with substandard special inspections, there already exists an avenue to deal with this short coming, it is called the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration of whom the responsible Engineer is subject to regardless of this poorly thought out policy change.  Engineers should not be inspecting items that are outside of their areas of expertise, but should be allowed to take full responsibility for all inspections of items that are apart of their own jobs that are within their areas of expertise.

     

    I would wish to know of whom the City of Phoenix consulted for affirmation as to this policy change and what was the motivation; this is a good deal for the valley’s inspection firms.  As far as I know, there has been no public comment period or request for input from those whom this policy would affect.  That is why it is my intent to speak at this open forum and request those of like mind to also participate as there is strength in numbers while a lone voice can easily be ignored.

     

    Thank you.

     

    Bruce E Demaree, PE
    Arizona Structural Group
    706 E Bell Rd, Suite 105
    Phoenix, Arizona 85022


  • 26 Mar 2014 8:19 AM
    Reply # 1525350 on 1524724
    Brady Notbohm (Administrator)

    Mr Scott,

    I am writing in regards to the flyer I received at a job site about a week ago and by the email sent by SEA of Arizona (info@seaoa.org) concerning the City of Phoenix Special Inspection requirements. Please excuse the typo’s and grammar. I have had a long day, ironically, doing a special inspection that will be criminalized on July 1. So I will keep it short and focused to practical and professional issues, as I could spend all day on this.

     

    Practical:

    1) They are proposing 75$/3Years for the City of Phoenix. MAG consists of 28 different jurisdiction plus 3 Indian Reservations, for 31 total. Conceivably 25X31=$775 per year just to do business in Maricopa County. You say it will never happen. I will bet you that Scottsdale will follow if this is allowed.

     

    2)As a designer I am required to be proficient with Wood,CMU, Steel, Welding, epoxy etc. So when the Municipality says that I need to take A test. This is not true. I will need to take ALL THE TESTS.

     

    3)There are instances when I have gone into the field. Just to make sure that the Contractor has done what I told him to do. If I go out to the field to do so now, am a criminal for practicing without a license?

     

    Professional:

    4)Isn't the EIT a test administered by the NCEES? Why is it ignored by the City of Phoenix for certification purposes?

     

    5)Most EIT's have gone to college. Why is that not considered for Certification purposes?

     

    6)The flyer mentions "Experience and Certification requirements" yet mentions nothing about "Experience" and only mentions certification standards. Experience doesn't matter to Phoenix?

     

    7)Erosion of the profession. So now I am no better than a hair stylist or a stripper. I checked the web site http://phoenix.gov/cityclerk/services/licenseservices/index.html. You can't make this stuff up.

     

    I could go on but it is clear that I need to stop venting for the moment.

     

    If you would like further suggestions or comments feel free to contact me.

     

    William Heuisler

  • 26 Mar 2014 8:22 AM
    Reply # 1525351 on 1524724
    Brady Notbohm (Administrator)

    I am aware that there is a proposal by the City of Phoenix  to require that all  Inspections be performed by someone who has been certified by the City of Phoenix. I have some questions and concerns regarding this issue. I am under the understanding that there will be a test or some sort of training as a part of this certification.  This said a onetime $75 fee is understandable.  I am unaware however whether or not this training is repeated at the same 3 year intervals as the $75 fee.  If it is not it might be better to eliminate the recurring fee. 

    My next concern is that I believe we already have a good system by which a registered professional is made responsible for all special inspections performed.  Only a registered professional may sign and seal the completed SSI Certificate and by so doing takes responsibility for all inspections on the project.  This means that it is up to the signing professional to ensure he has confidence in those who perform the inspections.  I know here at my company we make sure that someone has received instruction and training for specific items before they are sent to the field.  If an EIT is capable of designing a building under the supervision of a professional why is he then not qualified to inspect the very building he designed under the instruction of a professional.  Also I believe that the Design professional is more qualified to decide who is able to perform the building inspections for two reasons.  First he is has qualifications which in many instances supersede those of the building officials working for the city (it is my understanding that city plans reviewers and building official are not required to be registered engineers) and second he has liability for the project whereas the city does not.  It is up to the registered professional to decide how he will mitigate the risks of that liability.

    I also agree that being in the field and performing inspections is an essential part of becoming a qualified professional.  Can we suppose that someone who has never taken responsibility for a single inspection will upon registering as a design professional be either ethically or technically prepared to take responsibility for all the inspections that take place during a project?  I know personally that my visits to the field have taught me a lot.  I think it would be very unfortunate if young engineers became so totally disconnected from what really goes on during the construction of a project.  It has also been for me a great chance to meet the contractors and hear their point of view on many of the challenges we face on any construction project, thus helping me see how I can be a better team player.

    It is my opinion that the proposal by the City of Phoenix requiring that all inspectors be certified is unnecessary and may even have a negative effect on the industry.

    Sincerely,

    Robert C. Godfrey, EIT

    Structural Designer

    480.774.1760 Direct | RGodfrey@ctsaz.com

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