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Who Is Responsible? Architect, Engineer Or Steel Fabricator

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#1 Jambo99



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Posted 06 November 2015 - 08:26 PM

Hi All,

I am renovating and substantially extending an existing property. It involves removing the roof and replacing it with a new larger one. Due to bigger size a structural engineer was engaged to design the roof structure. He designed a crank beam roof structure which involved steel beams.

Everything has gone relatively well during the design stage and we progressed to construction. Up to roof level when I engaged a steel fabricator for the many steel beams for the roof.

My project has now ground to a halt due to no one accepting responsibility for the following:
  • Setting out positions of the hips and perimeter channels around the base of the roof
  • Elevations and top of steel levels
  • Exact lengths of steel members
Fabricator says the architects and engineers drawings do not give sufficient details and he cannot model the beam layout without the above detail.

Architect says his drawings have all the detail and its the fabricators job to measure up the exact dimensions and then use his drawing to work out the beam positions, angles and lengths.

Engineer says it's got nothing to do with him as his job is now only to recommend what the fabricator models, which should be based on his original sketches and beam sizes.

Who is right?

#2 ConstructionChannel


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Posted 06 November 2015 - 08:36 PM

personally i would try to get the engineer and the fabricator on site together,
we had a similar issue quite recently and nobody wanted to be the one to do the actual measuring. eventually it was the engineer and the project manager who gave in and actually wrote down the numbers.

Sorry if this doesn't help

#3 temp


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Posted 06 November 2015 - 11:28 PM

On my house the process went..

Architect did initial concept
Engineer did the design, detail and calculations
Builder measured between pad stones to check what actual lengths were needed and placed the order.
Fabricator just cut the metal

#4 jamiehamy


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Posted 07 November 2015 - 07:04 AM

Gut feel says architect will be key in resolving this, but is unlikely to take the initiative to do so.

Like Ed, no-one wanted to take responsibility for the dims for our steelwork, until the architect eventually agreed. The engineer view is 'someone tells me what you're building and i'll tell you how to build it', so levels, positions etc not really his remit from that perspective.

That said, we had an issue onsite where the draughtsman got the baseplates the wrong way round and the engineer didn't spot. Meant the whole frame had to come down and get modified. In this case, i had contracted the fabricators to do the drawing and erect it, so I left him to sort it, which to his credit, he did - the draughtsman initially accepted it was his issue but then started blaming the engineer. The engineer said he was only confirming the spec of the metal...so slopey shoulders everywhere.

so, question for you - who ultimtely get's paid (or not) for this piece of work? Presumably the fabricator? Did he commision fabrication drawings or go from the architects and engineers? I would say in this case, it's his problem to resolve working with both the engineer and architect - get them all on-site like Ed says but make sure you'r eclear on who need to provide the key information to let the fabricator finish - in this case, it'll be the architet. Don't try resolve it by email!

#5 joiner


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Posted 07 November 2015 - 07:50 AM

No steel fabricator with his or her head on the right way up and pointing in the right direction would work off drawings anyway, except...

The only way I would have worked off drawings was for individual components, supply only, and then for an engineer I had every reason to believe knew what he or she was doing.

Conventionally, I would have been involved alongside the engineer and architect and everyone would have signed-off the drawings. But working separately as in this situation? No way.

#6 Jambo99



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Posted 07 November 2015 - 07:53 AM

Thanks all for your comments.

In response to Jamie's questions:

Fabricator is the only one left to be paid for their work ... both architect and engineer have been paid
Fabricator is currently working off architects and engineers drawings. The builder has placed the padstows etc in place as per drawings. But the fabricator says the drawings do not provide the detail he requires to progress the fabrication works.
And yes, email and telephone conversations are not working. Based on above advice I will try and arrange a site meeting to get this moving forward

It's just frustrating as it is causing an unnecessary delay.

Edited by Jambo99, 07 November 2015 - 07:56 AM.

#7 SteamyTea


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Posted 07 November 2015 - 08:54 AM

Who (or should it be whom) do you think you can work with best.
And does it not ultimately come down to Building Control, so maybe he should be on site too.

Edited by joiner, 07 November 2015 - 01:20 PM.

#8 joiner


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Posted 07 November 2015 - 01:21 PM

Not really, BC will go with the SE's calcs.