My question is more based on principle rather than design.
I have been in the industry for over years and keep coming to the same question lately; who is responsible for the end product on design and install?
I've had several projects in the last year where a "mechanical engineer (plumbing/HVAC)" are doing the layout for the schematic and bid drawings and don't have the complete knowledge of fire protection. I've had to deal with issues ranging from head spacing to pump specifications... and none of them have been close to code.
Specifically, I have a 3-story building with the 3rd floor at 30'-0" above apparatus / grade so there should be no need for standpipes. The plan/specs require an automatic-wet standpipe with a 125 psi @ 500 pump. I sent an RFI on why the need for the automatic-wet standpipes, where we can do away with standpipes or go to manual/wet and I was rejected. Ultimately, we were told to follow the prints....but we are "delegated" design. Eliminating the pump and standpipes, we could have saved the county $110,000+ (electric included).
I now have a church with 36-ft throw sidewalls and the engineer would like to stay with sidewalls and not have any pipe crossing the room; it's not possible with the supply.
In the end, who is responsible for the design and performance of the system?
If the contractor follows the plan/spec, is he liable because he is the "delegated" designer? But if the delegated design needs to change and is rejected, who is liable?
How do you bid plan and spec project if there are multiple issues with the bid plans? Do you redesign and bid it correct? No, you won't get the job. Or, do you bid per prints and then not be allowed change orders because you are the delegated designer?
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4/12/2021 08:08:16 am
In my state (MA) the engineer of record would be the individual who supplied the construction control form for the project. He will also be the one who provides the final affidavit. If you are the one acting as the engineer of record then it should be you making the calls. In situations where we are not the engineer of record we submit RFIs informing them that what they did is incorrect. If they disagree we get second opinions and letters from industry experts like NFSA/AFSA, etc. If they still disagree depending on how large of an issue it is we get fire marshal involved. In some instances we will advise them that our company disagrees with there position but will proceed under there direction as the engineer of record, but will not take on any liability for the specific situation.
4/12/2021 08:15:28 am
I feel like this is a very responsible position to take as a contractor.
4/12/2021 08:12:24 am
There is no one person who is ultimately responsible. Responsibility is on everyone involved. Including the errors made by the bogus design and specifier to the installer and the AHJ. The owner is also responsible to ensure that the conditions of the approved design are maintained.
4/12/2021 08:15:51 am
In my experience, it's always been prudent to submit RFI's about the obvious mistakes prior to bid. Then you and the other contractors are on equal grounds for scope and cost.
4/12/2021 08:20:49 am
That's a tricky question, and the answer would be dependent upon which state you are in.
4/14/2021 09:30:28 am
I think you'll find many fire sprinkler systems in Texas designed by mechanical or even civil engineers. Texas also licenses fire sprinkler contractors to design fire sprinkler systems and fire alarm contractors to design fire alarm systems.
4/12/2021 08:22:39 am
Where do you find a 36 foot throw sidewall? I've never seen one throw more than 26 foot long.
4/12/2021 08:25:37 am
A 2-1/2" open hose... or a water cannon!
4/12/2021 08:31:50 am
It depends on who you are bidding to and how well you know them.
4/12/2021 09:47:35 am
This is a fun one due to working relationships, reputation, and responsibility.
David J Branson
4/12/2021 09:52:14 am
There will be only one Engineer-of-Record (EoR) per Project discipline or subdiscipline. If the General Contractor is tasked with providing design along with construction, then the GC's FPE would provide the Fire Protection design. The scoping documents provided as bid documents must be considered as they represent the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR) and Basis of Design (BoD). If the bid documents convey a design that cannot meet code, the conflict should be surfaced immediately in an RFI. If the conflict still remains, the AHJ should be brought into the situation for their interpretation of the code issue in question. The Insurance underwriter for each party should also be consulted to protect their insured.
4/14/2021 04:41:55 pm
There is only one engineer of records and he/she is the one who has fully designed, engineered and calculated and sealed and has signed the construction documents via design drawings. His/her dwgs. can not be deviated without his/her approval and if they are wrong then he/she is the responsible liable party to correct and to reissue them accordingly.
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