Managing Inspections to Proceed Expeditiously

The morning started with our regular weekly meeting with Eric Venzon of TEAMWRKX.  Bryan meets with Eric every Wednesday to review progress and obtain Eric’s advice and counsel on how to proceed with the project.

Eric taking a call while observing progress from the temporary site office.

Eric taking a call while observing progress from the temporary site office.

Eric thought the project looked good and suggested that we continue to manage the progress tightly.  Eric wants to see a full project plan and timeline that will take us through to completion.  He explained that linking the various tasks in the project plan with predecessor and successors would result in a dynamic model that we can update to manage the schedule.

One more item for the list …

Inspections Strategy

Bryan met with the Building Inspector from the City of Monte Sereno to establish the special inspections required.  The City of Monte Sereno does not specify what special inspection are required other than provide reference to Chapter 17 of the California Building Code.  The following notation was added to the job copy of the approved building plans:

‘Structural Observation.  The owner shall employ the engineer or architect responsible for the structural design or his designated engineer or architect to make visits to the site to observe foundation and structural frame inspection compliance with the approved structural plans, specifications and change orders.  The engineer or architect shall submit a statement writing the [sic] building official stating the site visits have been made and that any deficiencies noted have been corrected.’

Essentially, this puts the onus on the engineers that have wet-signed the plans that have been approved.  OK, into the circular loop we go … 

Our engineering team includes a soils engineer (JF Consulting), structural engineer for the concrete foundation (Duquette Engineering), structural engineer (Innovative Structural Engineering) for the steel beams and structural insulated panels (SIPs), civil engineer for the drainage and underground cistern (Bowman & Williams), geothermal and Title 24 engineer (Meline Engineering), and a licensed surveyor (Dunbar and Craig).

Obviously, the team needs to be coordinated and managed, with no ‘white space’ (gaps) or overlapping (duplication) of responsibilities.  All part of the Showcase for an Eichler Remodel.

Bryan walked through the inspections with the City of Monte Sereno and learned that each engineer has to ensure their design has been followed through construction.  Thus, each engineer has to verify that what is built meets their specifications.  Consequently, the review and sign off from each engineer needs to be included in the project plan.

Given that we need to pour the foundation slab, Bryan contacted the soils engineer (Jerry Freeman) and our structural engineer for the foundation (Steve Duquette).  Jerry explained that he had verified the excavation, geotextile fabric, drainage system, 3/4 inch crushed rock, insulating foam and waterproofing.  It all looked fine to Jerry.  Since he was close by in Los Gatos, Jerry dropped by to see how we were doing.

Our soils engineer, Jerry Freeman, dropped by the project site.

Our soils engineer, Jerry Freeman, dropped by the project site.

Steve Duquette explained that he will have a representative come by the project site to verify the positioning of the reinforcing steel meets his design specifications.  Also, he explained that the shotcrete walls will require a special inspection by an independent third party.  This requires a ‘test panel’, which Bill Brown Construction will create, so the independent third party can test the physical properties of that test panel.  The independent testing company will write a report and Steve will review that report.  Based on the independent test results and Steve’s inspection, Steve will write a letter stating the construction met his design and specifications.

Yeah, we got some work ahead of us …

For immediate next steps, we should expect a visit from Duquette Engineering to verify the structural steel and Bill Brown will be making a test panel.  Got it.

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