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When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/11/2012 5:31 PM

I am wondering if anyone else has some advice on how to know when someone has not done their homework, or when it's time to hire a new contractor.

I am sure many have stories to tell.

Here's what happened today...

Today I attended a meeting with the owner, general contractor, building committee, architect, structural engineer, steel contractor, HVAC, MEP engineer, electrical contractor, and probably some more parties I'm forgetting. The meeting was to review the Sound System Contractor's proposed solution for raising the speaker arrays so they would no longer block sight lines to the video screens.

Speaker Array Weight - 3600 pounds

Hoist Self-Weight - 200 pounds with chain

Rigging Frame for Speakers - 280 pounds

Open Web Bar Joists over the location where the contractor intended to hang the speakers - 24LH09.

Sound Specified Chain Hoist Capacity - 2200 pounds (metric ton)

SE - "Have you done an analysis of the roof in this area to know its capacities, and have you submitted the intended loads to anyone for inclusion in calculating the loads on the roof?

Sound - "No."

SE- "how do you use the 2200 pound hoist to move the 4000 pound load"

Sound - "that 2200 pounds is at 100% duty cycle, and we only need to move the speakers for about 10 seconds at a time."

Arch - "do you have drawings of where you plan to place the speakers?"

Sound - "well, we know they are going to be 'about right here', but we have not really nailed that down because of the screen sight lines."

Owner - "Then how do you know they block the sight lines?"

SE - "How do you plan to attach the hoist chain hook to the joists?"

Sound - "3/8 eye bolt on unistrut between this joist and the next one" - four feet from joist on a ten foot span of B22 strut.

SE - "What is the speed of travel for the hoist and your live load calculation when the hoist moves the array"

Sound - "I think it is 8 feet per minute but it might be 32 feet per minute. But there is NO LIVE LOAD. Yes, the speakers do have built-in amplifiers, and they are powered by electricity, but they will be unplugged when moving so there is no live load, only the dead load".

GC - " I can see the day is getting away from us, perhaps we should take a break for lunch and move on to some other topics when we get back".

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#1

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/11/2012 5:51 PM

Good grief! Whose indemnity insurance is covering this bally lot, Matey?

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#2

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/11/2012 6:04 PM

Regardless of what anybody tells you sound system and loudspeaker design is a lot of black magic.

I've worked with some acoustical geniuses who have very little mechanical ability.

Tell the sound guy he'll need to have a registered engineer sign off on his design. Otherwise, when it falls your insurance will be null and void.

Moosie???

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/11/2012 6:49 PM

Hi Lyn.

Yeah, Moosie knows a bunch about my part of the project... he's amazing.

I just posted this to see if others had more horror stories for fun over the weekend.

CaptMoosie's been 'educating' me on lots of topics and I am learning a lot from reading the forum posts and discussions.

I have nothing to do with the sound system other than I will be sure to never sit under it if I am ever in the building.

I just think it is ridiculous that I am asked to re-quote "grade 5 vs grade 8 bolts" on my contract just to get hired, after at least 500 hours of planning and drawing and engineering... while these guys have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and have no drawings or idea of what they are doing - but they are the "Sound Guys" and they "do such a good job we don't want anyone else but them."

Worse, they think they DO know what they are doing. They never answered "We don't know but we are having that studied".

I'm sure this drives lots of people beyond the gates of the Maker's Mark Distillery.

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#16
In reply to #3

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 10:41 AM

I'd like to thank you both for the "vote of confidence"! Made my day guys!

In all honesty, it's is time for the SE to step up to bat and educate this so-called expert with the sound system. He obviously doesn't know much about properly hanging such large pieces of equipment for open web steel roof (?) joists! No live load? ROTFLMAO And he doesn't even know what the exact hoist speed is??????? MORE LMAO

Did this guy submit a "qualifications statement" and a Performance Bond in conformance to the Contract Documents (if there is a Project Manual). I'm assuming that the Architect had the project bidded.

The SE (I assume this is a new one, right) is correct in his assertions that the acoustics contractor had better demonstrate that those roof joists are fully capable of safely supporting the design loads of the roof as well as the speakers when they're being lifted and also when they're operating at full rated volume. Somehow I do not think that the roof joist would be able to support this setup, even if the load is spread out and not concentrated. Open Web Steel Joists, if most cases, aren't designed for large concentrated loads unless those loads are specifically dictated on the plans and in the specs prior letting the Contract and prior to fabrication. They have to be specifically designed for loads like this, just any other truss member......it's not a pull it off the pile sort of thing. I do have big problems with this setup, as IMPO that localized bottom chord buckling will occur.

IMPO, this proposed sound system should be supported by an independent free standing rigid frame that is only laterally supported by attachment to the existing roof joists to prevent sidesway. I believe that the project SE may be in agreement with this.

Sounds to me that the GC is not up to speed about this either, and possibly took the job too low hence "leaving too much on the table"......he's trying to do this on the cheap is my best guess.

If no performs to the RA's and Owner's expectation, it's high time that some Bonds were excised and the no-performing participants (ie, clueless) are canned. It depends on how "air-tight" the Contract Documents are. My opin is that standard AIA (if this was used?) boiler plate language kinda sux in terms of conditionals and enforcement of the CD. Just my opinion based on what's been provided so far.....I don't have the total picture from my vantage point some 1,800 miles away.

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#4

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/11/2012 9:15 PM

SE- "how do you use the 2200 pound hoist to move the 4000 pound load"

Sound - "that 2200 pounds is at 100% duty cycle, and we only need to move the speakers for about 10 seconds at a time."

Uh, okaaaaayyyy . . .

SE - "How do you plan to attach the hoist chain hook to the joists?"

Sound - "3/8 eye bolt on unistrut between this joist and the next one" - four feet from joist on a ten foot span of B22 strut.

Uh, wait a minute . . .

SE - "What is the speed of travel for the hoist and your live load calculation when the hoist moves the array"

Sound - "I think it is 8 feet per minute but it might be 32 feet per minute. But there is NO LIVE LOAD. Yes, the speakers do have built-in amplifiers, and they are powered by electricity, but they will be unplugged when moving so there is no live load, only the dead load".

Oh, HELL NO!!

I know this must have been from an actual meeting, because nobody would make up such ridiculous nonsense!

I really doubt I could have kept my mouth shut at that meeting. Please tell me they were replaced with a competent crew?!

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/11/2012 9:37 PM

Yes, real meeting. I would have paid $thousands to have someone get it on video for youtube.

It was perfectly fair for the HVAC and Electric and even the architect to ask how inverting the hoist could take the hoist weight off the lifted load. People who don't do that all the time deserve an explanation.

My patience ran out when Sound said "we looked at that but you can't invert the hoist, the chain won't run in the bag". This means three things -

1) They don't know chain hoists. Of course they can be inverted. Anyone who's ever been to a modern day concert has seen tens or hundreds of C/M hoists specifically designed to be motor down, which IS INVERTED from typical use. The Sound Contractor had specified exactly this, and put the motor down. The question asked was why not use the non-inverted version, put the hoist at the top and take that load off the traveling hook. Never-mind that if, if, if the strut could somehow magically hold the load the joists would either disintegrate, or rupture an instant skylight into the pan deck.

2) they planned to use chain bags for the excess chain - which is NEVER allowed or proper on permanent installs.

3) they knew about the load problem ahead of time, and ignored it.

Oh, the looks around the table were priceless. When asked about the subwoofers, they assured everyone "oh yeah, it's gonna thump your brains out"

So at least we have that to look forward to, if the building still has a roof. Maybe the first service can be a memorial for those who gave their lives in the installation of the system...

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/11/2012 11:41 PM

HA!!

Thump your brains out, literally if you are sitting under them. I think the one that threw (well one of the ones) me out of the chair laughing was "no live load, they will be un plugged"

ROFLMAO

Sorry I guess I should be more serious (as ther is risk to life if these yahoos follow through) but at that point I would have stood up in the meeting and asked "Do you all hear your selfs?"

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/12/2012 11:19 AM

Thats why you need a good definition of terms for each area of expertise thats understood by everyone.

In electrical terms a live load is a device that is still actively powered so by their definition unplugging the units does in fact make them no longer live!

I bet the sound guys are having a similar laugh about how dumb the other people are right now too based on there understandings of terms and how they apply.

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 12:19 AM

T&C's are good but defined scope of the work for each trade is better. If the scope is accurate and precise one would hope that these types of comments/questions would not be heard at a kick off or project progress meetings.

I agree with you!

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#17
In reply to #5

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 11:11 AM

So much for the sound guys taking into consideration the dynamic loads imparted by the speakers, let alone no understanding the basic concepts of loading structural elements, and not even considering obtaining the services of a Registered SE who is highly qualified to conduct a vibration analysis of the existing roof framing + the hoists issues. No way will those joists hold-up to the dynamic response. The entire roof system in that vicinity will most likely be shaken apart by the vibrations alone and come crashing down. Big big liabilities involved here.

If it wasn't so serious I would be laughing about supporting the whole kitten kaboddle with a 3/8" bolt and Uni-strut......these guys ARE DANGEROUS! No way will that work, period!

My 2 Cents worth....

ps: If I only had a Texas PE/SE Registration! Unfortunately I do not. I do know my dynamics and vibrational analysis & design of steel structures through and through, as I've been doing that in several engineering firms in the Capital District of NY (Albany, etc.) for over 25 years since earning my MSCE in Structural Engineering at RPI.

pps: someone had better pipe up and suggest an independent rigid frame to support this monster that is designed correctly from the get-go. It isn't going to be cheap, especially as an "Extra".....Change Orders do not come cheaply in most cases.

ppps: As a last resort, the Owner and the RA can cancel the entire Contract and start anew.....invite to Bid the project with only those sub-contractors that are qualified and have submitted the proper qualifications statements/history. IMPO, I believe that a Re-bid may be in order here.

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#6

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/11/2012 10:30 PM

Ever consider getting everyone involved a construction and engineering dictionary so that everyone is on the same page with what the meanings of terms, abbreviations, and such are in each department involved?

I have been around enough odd professions to know full well what one term or abbreviation means in one profession can mean an entirely different thing in another just like we see here nearly every day.

If you can burn up a few $100k on one item in a job you certainly can afford spending a few $100 on making dam sure everyone knows what each other is talking about before the hammer hits the first screw.

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#12
In reply to #6

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 12:28 AM

Exactly!!

That is called "TRADE SCOPE" and should be written into the RFP or at minimum the bid proposals so that the qualifying individual of the bids is aware of the intent of each of the trades interpretation of the RFP when the bid proposals are presented.

RFP - Request For Proposal - I am sure you all knew that already.

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#18
In reply to #6

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 11:19 AM

The term Live Load is aptly defined in the Texas Building Code "Glossary". The dimwitted sound guys should familiarize themselves with construction terminology. I'm sure the Contract Documents for this project point out specific places for the contractors to familiarize themselves with every aspect of construction and engineering terminology.

As Judges usually state to defendants in standing before them in a Court of Law: "Ignorance is no excuse for not knowing the Law". Same applies here in this case of fact.

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#22
In reply to #18

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 2:22 PM

SHHEEESH. You sound like my wife! Rules regulations, CODE BOOKS? Just like her You'd never get a job with a local company in this town as an architect designing stuff.

Not once did you ever mention paying for full day private meetings at the local country club or give any suggestions that you planned to use the 'Good Ol boys' system to make 100% sure everyone had each others backs no matter what went wrong and how often.

Code books, defined terms, honest judges... If we used that nothing would ever get built and that which somehow did would never need constant rework and expensive upkeep from the original contractors.

(Sadly there is more truth than sarcasm in this post than you know.)

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 5:54 PM

TCM:

Well, excuse me for existing!

First off, I'm not a bloody Architect, I'm an ENGINEER for Pete's sake. Know the freaking difference, or keep your opins to yourself! And FYI I have had many many clients. You must live in a town that's like an old Frontier Town.....shoot 'em up cowboy where anybody does what they want, including ignoring building codes and permits, let alone disregarding proper design and safety of the general public. Want me to continue?

Second, you're out of touch regarding regulations and building codes etc., and the reason for their existence.

Third, I don't belong to no country club and old boys network, and no, I don't spend oodles of hours and hours in meetings because that's counterproductive and costly for the client and anyone else involved with a project.

Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed again TCM.....ohhh, and a very welcome back to you too for all the help I gave you, and in the end I highly doubt you'll follow any of my recommendations because, let's face it, YOU KNOW MORE THAN THE ENGINEER. Yuppers, good luck with that garage because you're gonna need it pal.

Now I'm pissed, and it takes a whole lot of crappola to get to this point.....turned the cheek one many time.

YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO YOUR WIFE......SHE'S QUITE CORRECT. MAYBE IF YOU RESPECTED HER LIKE YOU OUGHT TO MAYBE YOU'D LEARN SOMETHING NEW IN LIFE. AND HOW ABOUT A LITTLE HUMILITY? A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY.

FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [as loud and long as I can]

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#27
In reply to #23

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 11:57 PM

Uhm, did you miss the end of his little post where he mentions it being sarcasm?

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#34
In reply to #27

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 10:40 AM

Apparently so.

Much sarcasm and some humor.

No skin off my nose either way being misunderstandings tend to happen here a lot.

Although my wife did get turned down for being "overqualified" a few times with some local design companies she applied at and the 'Good Ol Boys Club' has been taking it in the shorts since the oil industry and all the out of state companies moved in that actually do know how to do things legally and up to code. That and now its common to see 20 - 30+ people working on a site at a time and finishing the job in 4 - 6 months opposed to 3 - 4 guys working 12 hours a day 6 days a week for 2+ years!

Not that the rest of us around here mind seeing a little honesty, integrity, and speed along with fair prices for fair work being done for once.

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#46
In reply to #23

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/16/2012 7:03 AM

Moosie. I'm sure Tcm's post was intended to be sarcastic.

He's actually not too far off the mark. I ran the paint and glass on one of several new federal penitentiaries for the bureau of prisons. All of the problems and design flaws were identified on the original. None of the designs and specs were changed to reflect the identified problems.

These identical prisons were built around the country. Each time, the contractors were forced to re-identify the original problems, which resulted in lengthy RFIs, scheduling overruns, cost overruns, fines..............and ultimately, many good companies went bankrupt. A completely unnecessary mess that was repeated over and over.

I left the company I was working for after the prison job. Several years later they took on another one in VA...................it put them out of business.

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#24
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 7:03 PM

Horror of horrors, mistaking structural engineer for an architect, for some of us, there is no greater insult. I'm sure the architects feel the same way about us. The really funny thing about this is that the architects complain that we are hidebound to code books when we refuse to use an eight inch column where a fourteen inch is required. They believe in sky-hooks, just like the OP's sound guys.

What can happen when a structure isn't designed for all the forces

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#25
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 9:09 PM

Absolutely positively correct and right on! It's the ultimate insult!!!

Thanks Passington!

I also very much like your Sky Hook analogy. I've been using that one since around 1978 or 1979 when I first heard my bossman (a long time SE, and my first mentor) utter it in total frustration with a clueless Architect. I nearly died from the resulting laughter!

Another one of his gems that I still use to this day is that "Architects are frustrated artists....."

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#9

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/12/2012 6:39 PM

I work with a 'scientist' (only a masters in physics/optics, no phd) who is a wanna-be engineer. My favorite line from him is, 'I took a couple of EE courses...', just before he tries to tell me about microprocessors or the like.

He's come up with an amazing array of goofy ideas, very few of which have worked. I have to give him credit for being creative, it's just the hands on stuff that he suggests that really frightens me.

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#13
In reply to #9

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 7:46 AM

Did he try scI-fi writing.

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#10

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/12/2012 11:54 PM

Every engineering contractor should have engineer(s),or have a Consultant ready 24/7 to solve problems,attend meetings etc.

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#14

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 9:24 AM

Way back in the day...I had a customer specify a data rate that he MUST HAVE to be so many bits/millisecond...after many days of creating a special interface of HW and SW to be able to handle his data rate we went to his site and installed the gear. It almost worked except we were running a little faster than his actual rate...by a factor of about 1000! I asked him how he knew the rate when he specified that he MUST HAVE it...he said he was watching the disk (It was a big old platter type that you could observe the seek arm on) and the seek rate "looked to him like so many bits/millisecond"!!!!

Lesson learned.

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#15

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 10:05 AM

Well, The Sound System Contractor got the "Contract" because he came in with the lowest "Bid". This does not mean that he is the smartest.

Trust me the Owner is looking for a new Contractor. The meeting was adjourned for lunch because the rest of the guys are going to get together and get a new Contractor to cover their ASSETS.

The funny thing is the Sound System Contractor will be the last to know.

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#19
In reply to #15

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 11:23 AM

BINGO!!!!!

(how appropriate, since this project is for a Houston Church!)

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#21
In reply to #19

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 2:10 PM

AAAAAAAA_YYYAA_AAAYAA_AMMMMMEEEENNNNNNNAAAAAHHHHHH!

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#20
In reply to #15

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 2:07 PM

Oh, BG, how I wish that were the case.

More history. Church builds Project One with Sound Contractor 1 (SC1) in 1990's. Sound is horrible. Lighting is horrible. Everything done exactly as specified or better, and under the too-low $300,000 budget. Church declares SC1 incompetent. Obviously, it can't be the design or budget, or refusal to make suggested changes, it has to be the contractor.

Church searches for a cure, and asks Sound Contractor 2 (SC2) to please come help. SC2 spends $200,000 more $$$ and oh sure, now church loves it. Naturally, SC2 is annointed.

Now, remember SC2 bid on package one, and did not point out any of these potential problems in their submittal.

Building Project Two - mid 2000's retrofit of Project One. The whole SC1 + SC2 tech package was unsatisfactory in just 6 years??? - Time for an upgrade!!!!

Of course, SC2 is the only way to go. They're annointed, remember? Nobody else even gets asked. SC2 tosses up some new gear, which is miraculously still hanging, I have no clue how other than the sub cabinets are sitting on top of the HVAC ducting...

Church says "this third system in the same room in ten years is much better." Declares SC2 the hero again.

Brand New Giant Building Project Three - Church insists on SC2. No other bids. Two years into project, church asks media team how they can save some money, budget is getting tight. SC2 is too expensive. Media Team works six months, can't find a penny. SC2 can't either. Hmmmm.

Tilt Walls Up, Roof On, MEP 60% complete, "stuff's getting bolted to stuff" and SC2 has made no drawings other than junction box locations for Electrical Contractor. "They've been busy on other projects."

Last week - in the meeting before the "No Live Load" meeting - I am invited to try to help lower costs, streamline installation schedules, plan ahead for my part of the project. I want to help make sure everyone is getting their part done right, at or under budget, and with as little interference and changes later. That way I can bid my part, and since they are under-funded, maybe $20K and $30k here and there would add up to make it all possible. I offer to help SC2 since we will be doing a lot of rigging - maybe they could save at least the lift rental costs. Hell, I'll just hang it all for them, if they will tell me what they want to hang and if the project timeline will give me a few days to get it engineered. My correct method is 1/3 cost of the proposed incorrect method.

SC2 topics -

1) "you mean the stage is hollow? We have to change all the junction boxes!" They did not know the stage had open crawl space for infrastructure. EC put all the pipe underground. Nice move. Now make a change...

2) "We are hanging the speakers off the catwalk, right at the front edge of the stage" The catwalk is 30 feet from the edge of the stage. "Okay, we'll hang it about here on unistrut...

And "we'll have to look at how that distance effects our lighting plans." Really?

and thus began last week's meeting.

3) Their bid price follows this calculation:

(Desired Project Cost) x 2.7 = bid price = 2.7(DPC)

After six months of "cutting everything but the microphones" the media team and SC2 finally get to 1.8(DPC) - but declare "this will not do what you want". Red Flag - how do they know? They don't even know the room.

4) Church, and SC2, and media team, insist the only speaker cabinet made in the world that will work right in this room is

(Lyn are you still reading along with us here???)

- of course - the F12 Berlinetta of the sound world. Did they test or model others? "Yes but those all cost more and don't perform as well". More than Ferrari?

5) Four other Houston-Based Sound Contractors, some with a bit of experience, on little projects like the Houston Rodeo, Wortham Theater, Hobby Center, Reliant Stadium, Minute Maid Park, Lakewood Church, etc... have all suggested the project could be done for budget = .9(DPC)

So, that's what started my comments on the thread. My purpose was not to destroy SC2. They may be good guys. They may be Awesome sound engineers. They may have good intentions. They may be struggling just as hard against other parts of the project as I am. They might make it sound really good. I don't know.

My reason for starting the thread was to ask "How do you react when this happens?" Many posts here reiterate that communication is key to project success.

I'm wondering - more from your project experiences, at what point do you write a letter the Bank that's financing the project, and the Insurance Carrier, or what do you do to cover your...???

Clearly, if I were to do that, I would never work on this project again. And, my reputation would be 'that's the #*&^#$ who comes in and causes problems and delays progress on parts of the project that he's got nothing to do with'.

Yes, I do have something to do with it, because I have to hang my part of the project (which is stamped and approved and in the design) on the same roof. And their stuff gets in the way of my stuff and who is going to pay to move it. And does Mr. GC wanna know now that the EC is running pipe for SC2 right through the space where my stuff has to be, and can't move? Better to move the conduit four inches than cut the slab? Wanna know now or later? Or that SC2 has junction boxes for audio connections which, if placed according to drawings, will be installed 4 feet underground, and if relocated as SC2 suggested, will be occupying the same XYZ space as an elevator shaft?

So I am sitting here thinking, do I politely decline to contract, (they called me to replace another guy who walked away) and also walk away, and if the GC or Architect ask why, then explain?

Or do I put on my blinders, double my price, and perform my scope, and install my proper parts - figuratively speaking approximately ten feet from the "smoke deck balcony" which overlooks the nicely landscaped "non-ventilated, wood framed, gasoline (golf carts) propane (burger grills), chlorine (fountains and water features), and battery charger (forklift) storage shed" ???

Everybody has been on a project where this kind of thing happens. I'm just wondering at what point does the judge look at me, when I'm called to testify on behalf of the dead kid's family, and ask "you knew this, talked about it, and walked away?" Who did you tell? What did you do?

Obviously there's a moral and ethical responsibility. I've expressed my concerns to the GC. I can only hope they take those concerns to the SEOR and get it straight.

Is it enough to speak up and say "this is how people get killed, and if you don't want to listen to me, you might consider Googling August 13 2011, Sugarland, and 2011 Indiana State Fair."???

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#35
In reply to #20

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 11:22 AM

Hey txmedic!

The more I learn about the problems, errr "perils", of this project the more I'm advising you to notify (in writing) the local Code Enforcement Officer of such so you can CYA, only if the RA doesn't do so first.....submit such a letter to the RA first as well, thus you're doing your duty under the auspices of the Contract Documents, and most likely your insurance carrier and Bonding Agent requirements. Maybe you should discuss this matter with your attorney as well (strongly suggested).

It's obvious to me that the Owner and the RA have not been listening, and in due process should have canned the Sound guys long ago.

[Also, if you can, run away very fast, as nothing but failures upon failures will result as this project leaps forth. Allegiance to the Owner only goes so far. If you do not CYA you will get burned. And in more ways then one. You must remember that you owe it to yourself to maintain a high degree of credibility w/ your insurance company and the Bonding Agent, both of which are your lifelines to conduct business in a legal manner. Loose them and you're doomed or worse, placed on a high risk pool plateau....it'll cost you bigtime.]

First, in a way I blame the RA for not properly advising the Owner (the Church). He/she is not performing their duties and due diligence in their professional capacity. Acting this way they are not doing their client any favors. Additionally, the RA should have had a tight rein on the entire project from day one. It appears to me that the Owner has too much influence on how the project proceeds at every turn without letting the Architect do his/her job. This appears to be a out and out failure to properly communicate between the RA and the Owner.

Second, since the SC2 has not performed up to snuff and hasn't a clue about the particulars of this project, it may be high time for them to go bye bye....that's IF there's an "Iron-clad" Contract Documents package that allows the RA to remove them from the project and invoke the Performance Bond. This is where the RA should be advising the Owner to remove the SC2. At the very least the RA should be dictating to General Contractor (hence going through the chain of command since it appears that the SC2 is a Subcontractor for the GC) that the SC2 SHALL submit by a certain date all of the required Shop Drawings and a Certified Structural Capacity letter (with accompanying calculations) performed by a State of Texas QUALIFIED & REGISTERED SE, all in accordance with the Contract Documents. I'd even ask for the SE to submit a qualifications statement and related supporting documentation. Demonstration of hired SE's Performance quals here is paramount. you don't want Joe Blow who just received their PE License & Registration recently. Instead, you want someone that has a lot of experience in these matters and who knows how to analyze structural vibrations as well as design/analyze the impacts of chain hoists etc etc. Now, IF the SC2 fails to meet the submission deadline then he's in default and is delaying the progress of the project, as well as delaying the GC and other subs. Also, it is paramount that the GC due his duties here to fulfill his responsibilities and performance under the CD. Anyhow, both reasons are very valid reasons to remove a contractor, or in this case, the subcontractor from a project. This is where the RA has to grow a set of big brass ones and have a heart-to-heart talk to the Owner (who so far appears to have their own mindset and whims and interferring with the RA decisions), thus actually shooting themselves in the foot, so to speak. IMPO, nothing good is going to result from inaction, as it appears that the SC2 hasn't a clue about what is required of them.

Was there a Project Information for Bidders meeting performed prior to Bidding? Were all of the project guidelines specifically spelled out then as well as in the Project Manual, specifically with regard to Submittals? Ditto about a Project Kick-off Meeting?

BTW, what is the spacing of those rood joists in the area of interest, as well as their span?

Maybe we should be discussing this on the telephone Txmedic, instead of this forum?

Have a great day!

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#26

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/13/2012 10:52 PM

Remember the Coldenham school wall? 'There are reasons for the basic practice of engineering. Since I joined my church, there seems to be a need to avoild having parishoners (whether technically trained or otherwise) comment on basics, and a need to listen only to the hired help; Three heating systems and an expensive fire later, our building plans are mudh smaller. Just basic communication is a good place to start before anything hits the fan.

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#28

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 4:28 AM

Team,

Am a Fire Protection Engineer and would only think " ho my god - if this guy does not know what he is installing and how he is going to install, how would I be able to see that it does not affect my sprinkler system discharge?".....

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#29

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 9:27 AM

I may be too simplistic, but at least in my state (Pennsylvania) it is part of the Code of Ethics for a Registered Professional Engineer who has knowledge of such a potentially dangerous situation (and it most certainly is potentially dangerous....the possibility of fatalities is high) is supposed to bring it to the attention of an Authority Having Jurisdiction. Just ask the engineers who a few years ago inspected a concrete pier on the Philadelphia waterfront, that collapsed a few days later and killed a bunch of people in a night club. They noted serious conditions, brought it to the attention of the owners who essentially said "don't worry aboudit', kept quiet and several dozen people died as a result. The engineers were found guilty in criminal court (along with the owners).

If it were me.....I would document as much as you can, notarize it and be prepared to CYA if you don't walk away and let someone in authority know why. Better to lose some business than your peace of mind if someone dies while you might have prevented it. INstead of being the #$#$#^%#% who causes project delays, you might be the hero who saved some lives.

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#30
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 9:48 AM

pdef is absolutely correct with his statements regarding the PA Professional Engineer's "Code of Ethics" and "Code of Professional Conduct". We have it here in New York State as well.

Additionally, many Professional societies have the same covenants in their Code of Ethics. I do know that both National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) have it as well. I am a member of both.

There is a long list of Architects, Engineers, and Contractors of all types nationwide having been convicted in court of law not bringing deficiencies to the attention of authorities. I am well cognisant of this because I have provided Forensic Engineering Expert Witness testimony several times in the past......also, I take the time out every few months to reread the state, NSPE, and ASCE "Code of Ethics" just to remind myself of "what ifs".

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#31

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 9:52 AM

I guess these guys have not heard about the Indiana State Fair rigging collapse. This industry will never learn!

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#32

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 10:19 AM

C'mon guys, you all know it should be done with green timber and baling twine.
Del
<Scampers off>

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#33
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 10:30 AM

Such a wise cat.......run away real fast, as fast as your little paws can take you!

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#36
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 12:05 PM
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In reply to #36

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/17/2012 1:12 PM
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#37

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 12:19 PM

We build ships for the US Navy. All design and engineering is done on paper and computers before a single piece of steel is cut and welded. The shipbuilders put it all together and it all fits and works right out of the box. Why can't the building trades accomplish the same thing?

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#39
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 12:35 PM

All design and engineering is done on paper and computers before a single piece of steel is cut and welded. The shipbuilders put it all together and it all fits and works right out of the box.

What shipyard did you work for.

It been a while, but we had it on CAD also. The managers usually showed up when the photographers were around, but other than to get the whole thing moving, it was the highly skilled lead men that could interpret the drawings correctly.

"The drawings are calling out for this, what they really mean is that."

That was the Avenger Class Minesweepers for one. Even though that has been years ago, things remain the same.

Such as Littoral Class Ships (LCS), I would say a lot has to do with logistics. Electrical running wires where HVAC is going, and piping is having issues because ventilation is in the way.

It is my opinion that your statement would be different if you were out in the yard constructed the ship trying to interpret the drawings.

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#40
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 1:00 PM

On the Avenger class, I believe a transition was taking place. Drawings were initially done on the board.

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#44
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 8:29 PM

I completely agree with your statement. I worked in design, but spent much time down in the shops unraveling problems that came up and there were a lot. My point was the final product was delivered to the satisfaction of the Navy. There may be a few kinks, but nothing that would spell disaster or a fatal casuality. Most of the problems we faced during my 50 year career in shipbuilding were caused at the transition period between overdesign and material conservation. Naval ship design has undergone a lot of thinking over the years. I have to admit to the 1940's concept of overdesign, like very heavy armor plate. The new ships no longer have to rely on heavy armor as their defense. Counter-measure systems, electronics, computers, new weapon systems can now defend ships without heavy armor. The transition period was fraught with new thinking and technologies. Mistakes were bound to be part of the learning process, but the ships we produced are still the best any nation can produce. You asked what shipyard I worked at; mostly Naval shipyards, but my last job was with Ingalls aka Northrop Grumman, aka Ingalls Huntington. I worked with nuclear subs, aircraft carriers and battleships. It was the constant problems encountered in the shipyard environment that made my job difficult and also very challenging. I was a work experience I am thankful to have been a part of.

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#45
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 10:14 PM

The yard has been my best experience. The challenge is what I remember best. And I also am thankful.

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#48
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/17/2012 1:16 PM

Because there are 3 kinds of engineers; those that can count and those that can't.

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#38

Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 12:22 PM

I think there's an overdue lesson to be learned here.

The sound guy probably does a great job with matching the equipment to the specific venue, black magic as I said earlier.

The actual installation of the equipment perhaps should be a part of a larger project. Lights, sound, special effects, so on. Sound guys think about sound. Structural engineers think about structure., etc.

I have the same problem with sculptors. They never put any holes for straps or lifting rings on any of their work. (We have a 5,000 pound bear in our collection) How they get moved is up to the poor slob who has to move them.

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#41
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 5:18 PM

Hey I have a Moss rock Cooley wall in the back part of the property. I will sell them cheap 50 dollars a pound. Same guy moving the bear can move the boulders.

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#42
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 5:29 PM

He charges 100 bucks a pound to move it.

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#43
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Re: When Can You KNOW a Contractor Needs An Engineer?

05/14/2012 7:38 PM

DAMN that short straw!

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