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Old 03-17-2010, 06:55 PM   #1
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I had an old masonry chimney collapse, and I had some ideas as to have it repaired, being a building contractor.

I wanted it framed in light gauge steel, and replace the previous dimensions.

So, I hired a licensed PE, in CA, who said he could do it and claimed to be familiar with the topic. The whole time I'm telling him about the flue types, sending him constant measurements since we're working with 4'x2', and so on.

throughout the entire process he never informed me that he wasn't doing anything in regards to the mechanics of the plans.

All of a sudden, I get the plans, finish paying the guy, run straight to city hall, submit them, and they get back to me saying that it's missing a bunch of stuff. So I went over it, figured I'd do the Class A pipe drawings myself, and then I discover that the way how he made the plans, not even 6" pipe would fit into it. Not only that, the measurements were incorrect by more than 2" (being the chimney is right on the property line, the 2" would then cross the PL). The smoke chamber is missing, and one would have to be engineered to allow an anchor plate to attach to it.

So, I told him about this, and he then said he wasn't 'familiar with smoke chambers' that I would have to higher an architect to get this done and that he was only hired for the framing. His contract states "Production of structural engineering plans for the remodel of an existing residential fireplace framed in either wood or light gauge with a masonry firebox".

I was so confused at this point. How would an architect be the one to do the engineering for a smoke chamber over masonry, with a cement case, then use the inaccurate drawings from the engineer?

Is he just trying to get rid of this problem? Was the DCA correct in saying that he's obligated to draw the plans? Is he right, that he only does the framing of the plans?

Thanks for any help!

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Old 03-18-2010, 07:37 AM   #2
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He told you he was proficient in such design, then proves he is not, did you get your money back??? A PE schooled in such things should be up to the task, and architect will cost more, most likely.

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Old 03-18-2010, 12:17 PM   #3
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He did offer a full refund upon termination of his contract. However, this does set me back almost two months. This whole thing has had me so confused.

I've spoken with a few of my colleagues, and they're all telling me that he signed up for it, being a PE he should be the one to do the smoke chamber, or myself, being owner built. However, since it's his framing that's going on top of my owner built, he should have researched the full scope of the project. I don't think he looked anything up other than the steel framing.

I guess I should be asking 'can an architect engineer a smoke chamber?'

Is it the PE's responsibility to draw and engineer the smoke chamber prior to the framing or research the scope of the project first?

Since he offered a full refund upon termination, is this him saying that he knows he screwed up and doesn't want to put the time in to complete the project?

Do I have the right to hold him accountable to his contract and force him to complete this? I've been getting fined by the city because it's been taking so long and since there's no time till complete clause in his contract; could he span this out forever?

I've never faced something that's so complicated when all I need is a chimney boxed up and piped. How could this have gotten so complicated!?!

Thanks again?

Last edited by npbsurfr; 03-18-2010 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:27 PM   #4
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If he's offereing a full refund take it & find someone who can do the work correctly
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:47 PM   #5
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Sounds so much like something going on here: There are local construction companies which do large projects. They have in-house PE's who do their drawings and also utilize Draftsmen. The local Architects got together and had a "cease and desist"order issued on the contractors stating that none of their drawings had been done nor certified by a "Licensed/State Registered Architect". State Law(s) do say this. It's going to State Court soon. In the meantime, these contractors can draw all they want but cannot use their own plans without a stamp from a 'Licensed/Registered Architect". The PE's are fighting back stating that Architects are not trained in structural integrity, etc. We'll see, David
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:33 PM   #6
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I understand what youre saying. Im just confused as to why my PE would tell me to higher an architect to engineer a smoke chamber.

If Im reading him correctly, hes saying that he doesnt want to do anymore work for me, based on our contract. Sounds like hed rather shove off his problem of missing this required member to another field, in hopes that I wont hold him accountable?

I still dont know how an architect would be responsible for engineering a smoke chamber!?!?!?!

I replied to him, accepting the request to terminate the contract with his return of all funds paid to date.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
If he's offereing a full refund take it & find someone who can do the work correctly
Yup - go for it.

Sounds like he knows he did bad, and is willing to eat it - take him up on it. Take your knowledge you have gained - and find someone who knows what they are doing.
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Old 03-19-2010, 02:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thurman View Post
Sounds so much like something going on here: There are local construction companies which do large projects. They have in-house PE's who do their drawings and also utilize Draftsmen. The local Architects got together and had a "cease and desist"order issued on the contractors stating that none of their drawings had been done nor certified by a "Licensed/State Registered Architect". State Law(s) do say this. It's going to State Court soon. In the meantime, these contractors can draw all they want but cannot use their own plans without a stamp from a 'Licensed/Registered Architect". The PE's are fighting back stating that Architects are not trained in structural integrity, etc. We'll see, David
New Jersey dealt with this issue a few years back. There is a Building Design Services Act tucked inside NJSA Title 45 that completely spells out what the different design professionals can and can't do (archies, engineers, even landscape archies). I have the design professional's responsibility matrix framed and hanging on my wall, 2 feet from where I'm typing on my keyboard. If a client calls and gives me some basic info, I know within seconds what I can and can't do as a PE.
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:15 PM   #9
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In the past, many engineers were sued by architects because of supposedly acting as Architects (the All-knowing Gods) and brought before registration boards. The scope of designing a "smoke chamber" is beyond any education an engineer gets and is not included the engineering registration examination or education. The engineer's responsibility is the structure and associated details. That si why you got a full refund quickly.

A chimney sweep is probably more qualified than the an Architectural God. A sweep just needs a bottom and good structure to make a chimney work and be legal.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:35 PM   #10
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are you just building a masonry chimney and fire box? havent met a qualified mason who couldnt build a fireplace with smoke chamber. am i missing something here?
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:23 PM   #11
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I think the OP wanted a wrinkled tin frame and some sort of chimney flue system inside.

This apparently is in CA where there are some seismic conditions that do not normally apply elsewhere. I suspect that he got more later information regarding the materials and details. If he was required to come up with a masonry chimney flue system surrounded by a worthless seismically sufficient structure under seismic conditions, he just bailed out and wanted no part of the job. A tin chimney in steel stud chase is a different story.

A smoke chamber is not part of a chimney design. If you want a fully functioning chimney, call an experienced masonry contractor or a sweep that knows the qualifications and abilities. They will sort out who can sign for the plans and permits that are probably required. - Don't forget the insurance company that can drop you at any time if they do not agree with what is going on even if you have a permit and signed drawings.

Dick
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:20 PM   #12
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This is an existing brick firebox, that’s 100 years old. The firebox is in good condition, with no mortar breaking out between the joints. The damper is currently exposed because there is no smoke chamber.

Being a contractor I know how to read the local, state, and international codes. I went through, thoroughly detailed what I need, and the quotes I’m now getting from engineers are anywhere from $250-5,800. Personally, I can’t figure out how this project could be $5800 for engineering. What even pisses me off more about the high proposal, is that I sent him my drawings, told him the requirements of the scope of his project, and he told me $2,000 max, not including the site visit for $400. So, he did the site visit, took some measurements, a few photos, then two days later tells me $5,800. I'm pretty pissed off over that. So, there's $400 wasted. I just want someone to do it, do it right, do it soon, and not give any false hopes of what they're to do and not do. How is that too much to ask?

What I need are anchors inserted into the existing firebox, place a smoke chamber hood made of a heavy gauge stainless over the damper, firebrick to absorb heat, then the cement to be poured over that to allow anchors for the steel framing. From then on, steel framing up for 18’, which allows 2’ above ridge within 10’, simpson straps at joists and rafters, and all up to code.

I have been all over the place searching for someone to do this. It’s insane how this has become so complicated. I know how it’s to be done, I’ve drawn it all, but the city wants a stamp from a PE. So, let me get this straight... No structural eng or PE can add the Class A pipe and stamp it?

I am in California, Newport beach to be even more complicated, and this has not been an easy project. I’ve spent DAYS looking for someone to get this done, and I’m getting a hood thrown over my head. I just got off the phone with an engineer who said he’ll do the calcs for $250, which is a good deal, then I’ll submit my drawings along with the site map, floor and roof drawings, owners and occupants list within 300’ rad, modification permit since it’s non-conforming, and a part of my soul for the effort involved. IT’S A FREAKIN’ LIGHT CHIMNEY! Why is this so freakin’ complicated?!?!?!


If this helps... http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/1825...39-am-25k?da=y

Last edited by npbsurfr; 03-26-2010 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 03-27-2010, 06:08 AM   #13
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its not personal - they just like to drive contractors crazy,,, them & the ' city inspectors who, usually, think water runs uphill we go thru it all the time but, thankfully, have developed a relationship w/pe who'll stamp our stuff providing it meets what's necessary,,, good luck !
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Old 03-27-2010, 12:34 PM   #14
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Anyone have any good recommendations in Orange County, CA?

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