Unlicensed architect, DuPage County Illinois

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Postby csintexas » Fri May 22, 2009 2:05 pm

If this is something you are passionate about you might consider joining and being active in the International Code Council.

http://www.iccsafe.org/
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Postby Checkpoint43 » Sat May 23, 2009 11:10 am

Here's an interesting story:
http://www.nytimes.com/1997/05/19/us/one-killed-and-18-hurt-in-balcony-collapse.html

Maybe Thomas Jefferson wasn't an architect?

Because we all know that this thread is proof that a collapsed porch is proof of this accusation.
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Postby csintexas » Sat May 23, 2009 11:32 am

It was 175 years old so I guess it was a maintenance issue and not a construction defect.

The thing is I think we can find many cases of structures where architects where involved that have collapsed.

Doing a bit of searching -Illinois seems to be particularly susceptible to deck collapse even though they seem to also require architects. -Is there some link there Mark?
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Which designs require a stamp

Postby cvallerie » Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:10 pm

Where can I find a document that says which designs require an architects stamp?
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Sketch

Postby cvallerie » Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:37 pm

About 6 years ago I had a contractor start and finish my stairs before I finished the drawings and they fell. They did not connect the stair to the building. Someone got hurt. I was not liable because my drawings were not used. How ironic.

I was recently layed off so I have been working for myself and I am not licensed. Its hard here in Chicago because its so strict without a license. I have been looking at expiditing. That is why I was asking about design restrictions without a license (stairs, single family homes, garages, sheds, etc...). any info would help

ABOUT DRAWING IN BLOG: I have been on the phone all week trying to set up a permit review in Chicago DCAP and it can take a day to two months bacause there are so many projects to so few project managers and building inspectors.

And heaven forbid if your project should have to go to court. So yes, the stair attachments should have been inspected before they were covered but the inspector may have had 20 other buildings on his or her list.

Every citiy in the US has a budget that is tight and things are going to get over looked and people are going to get hurt. Thats bad. That is the cost of bad economics. The poor pay. Its going to get worse. As contractors and architecs and good Americans lets do our part and put in %110. I thing thats all we can do. This web sit and contacting our authorities and making our voices heard is the first step. I make a lot of noise in my community.
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Deck Collapse

Postby cvallerie » Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:49 pm

For the record, porch deck collapse is nothing new. New York, Detroit, Jersey, and serveral othe large cities and I'm sure several other small cities have the same problem from time to time. The media simply hypes it up to make it seem as if it happens every 5min. If you hire a bad contractor and use bad materials you are going to have problems.
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Re: Which designs require a stamp

Postby phansford » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:57 am

cvallerie wrote:Where can I find a document that says which designs require an architects stamp?


Typically - each state has it's own regulations. Each state as an agency that regulates the registration of architects (and other design professionals). The rules and regulations are typically found at the website for each state agency. Most states call the agency "Architects Board of Examiners" or whatever particular design professional that is being regulated. Engineers have their own agency - typically.

Some local jurisdictions will have their own regulations and you need to call the local building department for clarification. Also - some homeowner associations and other private organizations can require licensed professionals and you need to review this with the client.

In other words, there is no easy answer.

As far as working in Chicago.... good luck. I am sure the bureaucracy is huge and slow. According to a project manager for a local construction company here who spent 4 years in Chicago - you also need to have some cash and paper bags on hand to get things approved. You might want to locate and befriend a builder who knows how to navigate the permitting process.
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Postby csintexas » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:57 am

Austin architect, civic leader Black ensnared in legal battle over balcony collapse:

http://www.statesman.com/business/austi ... 10407.html

oops -yeah, architects are so much better. Even when they specifically contract and are paid over $16,000 to inspect a job they do not always get it done properly. (apparently he felt he was only there to make sure it looked pretty)

Allensworth, who teaches construction law at the University of Texas Law School and is a partner in the firm of Allensworth and Porter, said if the jury's verdict against Black stands, it will have a chilling effect on architects.

"If you are going to make the architect categorically liable for any defects in construction, do you think the architect's fee is going to be 6 percent of the construction costs, or is his fee going to be 45 percent? And if his fee is 45 percent, isn't everybody going to say, 'I don't need no stinking architect?' " Allensworth said. "Are architects going to be involved in the construction (process) at all, and will houses be better built or worse built because there's no architects around?"

(if this is what 16k buys you than it doesn't make much difference does it?)

"If this was a design defect, I don't think there would be any question that there would be liability," he said. "This is not that case. This is allegedly a sin of omission. In the benefit of hindsight, there were things that could have or should have been spotted. But (Black) in this case was not hired to be out there full time; he was hired to be out there some. And if you are out there some rather than all the time, there is stuff that's going to be missed. As happened in this case, the contractor didn't build it in accordance with plan and specifications. Is that the architect's fault?"

Yvonne Castillo, general counsel for the Texas Society of Architects, said in a written statement in support of Black's appeal that "unless the project's owner retains the architect to provide more extensive services, the architect's on-site duties are limited and do not include exhaustive or continuous on-site inspections to check the quality of the construction work performed by the contractor. ... The architect cannot be expected to guarantee the quality of the contractor's work, however, unless the architect has agreed to provide the additional services that would be necessary to enable the architect to provide that assurance."


So 16k is not enough and it would actually require 150k in supervision fees to do the the job right?

Great follow up by the Texas Society of Architects: An agreement to inspect construction should not mean that the construction actually be inspected.

Could not find any record of fines by texas board of architectural examiners

This is absolutely pathetic.
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Postby phansford » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:25 pm

Chris - sad story indeed. However there are a lot of complex issues here which you probably don't want to hear, because they don't support your position.

First and foremost.... architects typically do not provide exhaust review of construction. We are not supervising the construction. We are not the contractor. We are inspecting that work complies with the construction documents. No one is going to pay for an architect to be on-site daily to inspect every inch of the project. That is the issue here and where the 45% fee comment comes from. There was a time when owners hired an architect to be on-site everyday.... but not today... maybe on very large projects (tens of millions and more)

BTW - Construction contracts (if used) state the means and methods of construction are solely the responsibility of the contractor.

Second.... lets assume something is concealed or was installed without the architect being able to review it. How is he liable? Which BTW happens all the time.

Third - never go to jury trial. Juries are not educated in construction or design. That is why AIA contracts state all disputes are to go to mediation. Obviously - or probably - there wasn't an AIA contract used between the Owner and the Architect for this particular project. Also - this is why you should have errors and omission insurance. I hope you have coverage.

And reading between the lines of the article - it is pretty clear that the contractor and subcontractor might not be insured and therefore they weren't pursued as heavily. Note to yourself.

Some defective construction will not come apparent until after the project is complete. Typically there is a warranty period of one year.... if the owner actually enters into a contract.

Lets make an assumption that bolts had been installed. However, they were not the correct type. They were a lower rated bolt. The architect sees the bolt (correct diameter - seems right), the GC provided data that shows its the right type of bolt.....and approves it..... the bolt fails. How is the architect liable?

I have actually had issues arise after construction where inferior materials were used without our knowledge. It was corrected. But there was no way to identify the issue until later. Concrete is a good example.... lets say samples were taken and tested and they meet the spec. However, the contractor didn't install the concrete correctly.... and there are voids in the concrete or aggregate separation. Now the compressive strength is compromised. How is the architect liable? He isn't being compensated to watch labors place concrete. That is the GC job.

All that said.... I don't know how the architect didn't see that the bolts were not installed. But lets not look at this one architect or project as a generalization of the profession and industry. (design and construction)

I realize you have an axe to grind..... so be it. But honestly - you might want to read an AIA contract and read the definition and responsibilities of an architect are for construction administration.
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Postby csintexas » Wed Sep 15, 2010 6:25 pm

I suppose we could make the same argument for the general contractor.

Certainly we should not expect them to build a house correctly for only 10-15% of construction costs? This must mean their only responsibility is to schedule the work and manage the building funds?

A proper framing inspection occurs before cover up. Builder finishes frame, calls for inspection and once passed work is allowed to proceed. This is how inspections are done not randomly by chance. If the architect is not competent to make inspections he should contract that out. (we used to hire an independent structural engineer on large houses to inspect the frame and foundation before it was poured)

Now to be fair I did not see the actual contract. If it stated specifically that the 16k in no way assured that the plan would be built safety and as designed then you probably have a point.
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Postby phansford » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:16 am

Almost did see your response with all the spam postings. :lol:

There was no building department or regulatory process in this part of Texas (according to the article). I would have requested more fee and made sure I made much more frequent inspections.

If I can get the contractor and owner to notify me - and I am doing construction admin - I want to be on-site to inspect foundation excavation and watch some of the concrete being placed. Again..... that is atypical of the contract. It would be ...... submittal of concrete mix, inspection of rebar - if the GC will notify you, completed work, review of compressive test reports...... we are not controlling means and methods.

Are you providing any construction admin. If so, I would recommend getting come training and certification. What you are really doing is contract administration. CSI has a certification for CCCA (Certified Construction Contract Administrator).
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Postby csintexas » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:54 am

I seem to remember it cost us about $250 twenty years ago to get an independent frame inspection by an engineer.

There was no construction management required since the builder handles that task. The only reason the architect would even need to come to the job is for quality control.

Personally I would love to make 16k for 16 inspections, I would be making big bucks.

I don't have an axe to grind against architects in general. What I don't except is double standards. If architects are going to claim that they are more responsible and professional than anyone else they need to act like it.
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Postby phansford » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:02 am

Architects don't do quality control. The GC does quality control.

We design and specify products/materials that will provide a level of quality based on budget. Then review that the products and materials are being installed per the contract documents.

$16K would cover more than the 16 visits - typically. We'd have to know what services were contracted. Under normal contracted services, the 16 K would include reviewing shop drawings and submittals, attending project meetings, providing clarification of the documents, provide periodic (non-exhaustive) field reviews, and review/approval of pay applications. No one goes out and checks to see if the foundation is square or the framing.... not even a building inspector.
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Postby csintexas » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:46 am

That is all fine, as long as I don't have to hear any more of this public safety and welfare b.s.

If this is what architects think is good for their profession than so be it. Just means more work for me.
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Postby phansford » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:08 pm

Just wondering if you noted in the article that the jury found the architect was responsible for only 10% of the incident?
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