- Category : Threshold Inspections
Bliss & Nyitray is a firm believer in quality control and for us it is a practice, not an idea. Our quality control is centered around three concepts:
- The quality of the staff that perform the inspections,
- The thoroughness of our inspections, and
- The oversight of our Threshold Inspector of his representatives.
It is our philosophy that rigorous structural inspection is indispensable to today’s sophisticated design and construction methods.
No matter the firm’s quality control procedures, it cannot perform quality services unless the individuals performing the inspections have the proper education, inspection experience and design experience to properly synthesize the myriad of conditions they encounter during an inspection. All of our inspectors are either Florida registered professional engineers or graduates of universities with an accredited Civil Engineering program and have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test. All of our inspectors have significant design experience.
Our inspections are extremely thorough. We arrive at the inspection prepared. Our preparation consists of review of the inspection plan requirements for the elements being inspected and a thorough review of the structural documents and shop drawings of the members being inspected. Finally, when appropriate our preparation includes conversations with the structural engineer of record to obtain any necessary clarifications or explanations. Quality inspections can only take place when someone is armed with all of the necessary information and has the education, and the inspections and design experience to synthesize it.
The involvement of the Registered Threshold Inspector throughout the process is key to the quality of our inspections. The Registered Threshold Inspector will be on site as required to fully understand the nature of the construction, the progress and sequence of the construction, the structural documents and shop drawings, and to monitor the quality of the inspections and reports being made by his authorized representatives.
- While a number of inspectors meet the minimum qualifications established by Statute, the Florida Board of Professional Engineers states, “The presumption is that the Structural Engineer of Record knows what, if anything, is unique about the structure and if anything should be closely examined and when”.
- As the Structural Engineer for this project, BNI is vitally concerned that our design is constructed properly. Our philosophy is that rigorous structural inspection is indispensable given today’s sophisticated and fast-paced design and construction methods. The on-site presence of the Structural Engineer also facilitates problem resolution through direct contractor, inspector and engineer communication.
- Some of the problems BNI has noted on projects where we were not the Special Inspector can translate into delays, added cost, and possibly a deficient or unsafe structure and include:
- Inspectors communicating late or not at all, such as identifying deficiencies only in periodically published reports.
- Inspectors unfamiliar with the drawings, specifications or Inspection Plan.
- The inspectors not using the current structural drawings with latest revisions and missing significant deficiencies, mostly in reinforcing steel and connections.
- George Khoury was the lead Structural Engineer for design and would serve as the Special Inspector. When the inspections would be performed by his authorized representatives, each would be a professional engineer or a structural engineering graduate who has successfully completed the NCEES Fundamentals Examination and has been involved with design of the structure. This knowledge allows our inspectors to identify deficiencies, evaluate whether corrective action is required and detail the solution quickly, which can greatly aid the schedule.
- Note that there is no conflict of interest for the structural engineer to “inspect his own work.” Approval of BNI’s design is done during permitting.
- The role of the Special Inspector is limited to confirming that the structure was built per the Construction Documents. At the conclusion of construction, the Special Inspector shall submit to the Building Official a signed and sealed statement stating that, “to the best of his knowledge and belief, the construction of all structural load‑bearing components is in substantial compliance with the permitted documents, and the shoring and reshoring are in substantial compliance with the shoring and reshoring plans submitted to the enforcing agency.”
Working with City of Miami for Threshold
Our quality control is centered on three concepts: the quality of the staff that perform the inspections, the thoroughness of our inspections, and the oversight of our Threshold Inspector of his representatives.
No matter the firm’s quality control procedures, it can not perform quality services unless the individuals performing the inspections have the proper education, inspection experience and design experience to properly synthesize the myriad of conditions they encounter during an inspection. Our inspector and his representatives are either Florida PEs or 4-year graduate engineers with significant design experience.
Before we start work BNI meets with the City of Miami and design and construction teams to confirm and establish processes for our inspections, reports, handling deviations, etc.
Our inspections are extremely thorough. We arrive at the inspection prepared. Our preparation consists of a thorough review of the contract documents, shop drawings, and inspection plan requirements for the elements being inspected. Finally, our preparation includes conversations with the structural engineer of record to obtain any necessary clarifications or explanations.
We do not work from a canned checklist. The only comprehensive guide to inspection is the combination of the inspection plan, contract documents and shop drawings. No checklists can simulate or replicate the extensive amount of information found in those documents. Quality inspections can only take place when someone is armed with all this information and has the education, inspections and design experience to synthesize it.
The involvement of the Threshold Inspector throughout the process is key to the quality of our inspections. The Threshold Inspector will be on site as required to fully understand the nature of the construction, the progress and sequence of the construction, the contract documents and shop drawings and to monitor the quality of the inspections and reports being made by his authorized representatives.
The inspector’s representatives closely monitor testing in the field and the published reports to assure compliance with the contract documents.
BNI works closely with the contractor to ensure that deviations are addressed in a timely manner and that the design team’s input is sought when needed. We also address any concerns of the Building Department promptly.
We fill out the Structural Punchlist is filled out promptly and verify that items are addressed by the contractor in a timely manner and removed as resolved.
Plan for Controlling Costs
As this is a lump sum project rather than hourly, it appears that controlling costs is purely an in-house issue for BNI.
We are very efficient in providing inspections and support work, which minimizes the total number of hours required.
The Special Inspector receives weekly reports tracking hours and monthly reports tracking cost.
As this is a lump sum project rather than hourly, it appears that labor projections are purely an in-house issue for BNI. BNI has the staff available to adequately service this project and is very experienced at threshold inspections, design and inspection of garages, and working for the City of Miami.
Each inspector’s representative fills out the inspection log and a Threshold Inspection Report daily. If there are discrepancies, the inspector’s representative notifies the contractor verbally, issues a memo (if significant) and enters it on the Structural Punchlist. Discrepancies are noted on future reports as they are addressed or need to be addressed. At the end of each week, the Special Inspector reviews the reports, discusses required corrections with his representative, if necessary, and issues the reports. The reports are bound, with a cover sheet signed and sealed by the Special Inspector, and mailed to the City of Miami Building Department, Leo A. Daly, Timothy Haahs, Suffolk and any other appropriate parties. We have found that most parties prefer to receive these reports by email rather than a hard copy; we will accommodate each preferred delivery method. Prior to the issuance of the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, we will issue a completion statement as required by the Florida Building Code and Structural Inspection Plan, accompanied by the Structural Punchlist, if there are still unresolved items. We will follow through to ensure that all Punchlist items are resolved and reported.
Communication is the cornerstone of a successful project and a core value of BNI. We are responsive and communicate well in person, on the phone, by email, or any other method of communication preferred by the other party.
The following are some of the required communications we will need for this project:
BNI and City of Miami Capital Improvements Program and Building Department- BNI has designed and inspected a number of projects for the City of Miami. We understand the COM’s processes and work well with their staff.
BNI and Leo A. Daly and Timothy Haahs- BNI has provided Leo A. Daly’s office with structural design and inspections for several years. We are also very familiar with communicating with the structural engineer as we have provided threshold inspection services on a number of projects where BNI was not the engineer of record.
BNI and Suffolk- BNI was the engineer of record and Threshold Inspector and Suffolk was the Construction Manager for all of the prototype elementary schools in Miami-Dade County a few years ago. Communication was very good and we expect it to continue on this project.
Special Inspector and his representatives- Our inspector and his representatives have extensive experience working together and communicate very well.
Response to requests for inspection, including timeframes if not on site, after hours and on weekends.
Throughout much of the project we expect to have one or more inspector’s on-site full-time. The inspector(s) will generally be flexible to providing after hours and weekend inspections. We are very responsive to requests via phone or email. After hours and weekends are commonplace on projects of this nature and routine for BNI. 24 hours notice is desirable for after hours and weekend work, but we are very accommodating even with less notice; we understand.
Plan for Staffing Redundancy
(such as for night or weekend work, or when primary assigned staff is sick or on vacation)
We have 6 Special Inspectors and 8 qualified inspector’s representatives experienced at structural inspection within 3 miles of the jobsite, available at any given time. We will have multiple inspector’s representatives assigned to the project who will be familiar with the design, so time off by an inspector will not create a hardship. Further, they have worked with each other quite a bit an enjoy helping each other out.