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