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Preventing the Next Millennium Tower

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by jar546, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    CEO of HappyCo, Jindou Lee, explains how mobile inspections can avert future problems and mitigate risk.

    More...

    Continue reading...
     
  2. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    The author of that article does not know what he is talking about and has provided no evidence to back up his claim.. It is interesting to note that his claim that the problem is associated with a lack of inspection records aligns with what his company is selling.

    The consensus is that the problem had to do with how the soil under the building would react to the load from the building. The normal inspection and testing during construction would not have identified the problem. Note that San Francisco enforces the special inspection provisions in the building code.
     
  3. ICE

    ICE Sawhorse

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    "Adding to the drama is that the builders allegedly knew about the problem even before construction was completed."

    There was a point in the process where the weight exceeded the capacity of the foundation......and they kept building anyway. That's third world behavior. Presume that there was dirty dealing getting done.
     
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  4. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    In addition to the tower settling the adjacent TransBay terminal has cracked beams and has been shut down,

    Years of delays in plan check and millions of dollars in plan check fees and the city building department has screwed up on both buildings,


    ¹ https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Cracked-steel-beam-found-at-Transbay-Transit-13257805.php
     
  5. ICE

    ICE Sawhorse

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    The city building department didn’t build anything. A phalanx of high profile engineers petitioned the building department for a permit based on the best engineering available. The building department engineers approved the plans that respected engineers created. The high profile engineers screwed up.
     
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  6. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    Uh, yeah, you are way, way off base on this. Although I think the article itself is a little flawed and misinformed in its descriptive body, the gist of it is about the inspection process. With that being said, unless you are going to assign several inspectors to a job on a full time basis that also attends every meeting, it is impossible to know exactly what goes on and what gets "buried" where no one will ever find out,.....until something goes wrong of course.

    The purpose of a building code department is to make sure that minimum code standards are met and most of that is a visual on prints and specifications that you are relying on from a design professional. It is implied that they have checked their work or had their calculations verified. They don't always do that and it is not the building department's job to review all calculations. The onus goes back to the design professional. Concerning inspections other than third party special inspections. The building department's inspections are visual in nature and most of the time after the fact, done in a setting where just about anything could be hidden.

    The unwritten purpose of building code inspection enforcement is to attempt to keep those in the construction industry honest by giving the department the authority to shut down a job or fine them, therefore giving the industry the incentive to do things right. ANYONE that has spent any time in the field as a contractor can tell you that they have seen corners cut when there was no permit or inspections on a job. It is just like all of the problems we see in other countries that don't have a solid inspection process. They have full access and ability to adopt codes and build to a standard but in the absence or enforcement, they don't. Profit wins every time.
     
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  7. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

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    I'm not sure how additional, or even the required, inspections would've helped anything, seeing as how an inspector can't possibly be expected to know all the codes he's enforcing.....:p
     
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  8. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    "One of the failures of the construction of the Millennium Tower was ineffective documentation. ... two binders of key documents have gone missing, and no party involved can find any copies. This has intensified the legal conflict and made it harder for officials to locate the source of Millennium Tower’s failures."
     
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  9. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    We also don't know how many years the building department sat on these plans, and we have no idea how much they charged for plan checks and other services, I do know that on the entire San Francisco peninsula single family homes take an average of 7 years to permit and permit fees average well over $100,000 per home depending upon the community, Special Inspections are also always required.

    So what did the city do during all of this time and what did they spend the money on? Remember, this is California where permit fees can't be diverted to other uses.

    As someone who has spent over 60 years in the field as a contractor can tell you BS, I remember building in an area that didn't require permits on any project on more than 5 acres, we built just the same there as we did anywhere else, you know, you hear it all the time: "That's how we always do it."
     
  10. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    I would love to see proof of this via a public records, right to know request to show the timeline and costs for a SFR.
     
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  11. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Like any city. If the application is deemed incomplete due to missing information it will be delayed.
    Like any city, if all the codes are met, with no variances, CUP's or other commission action required, including coastal commission, the entire process should be three to six months.
    See the link.
    https://sfbos.org/permit-streamlining-act
     
    #11 mark handler, Nov 2, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
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  12. fatboy

    fatboy Administrator

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    OMG............my head hurt just reading that drivel..........

    At the end of it, it appears that if a developer knows what they are doing, like here, the development side could be done in three to six months as Mark said. Once that is complete, or in some cases, we run them concurrently, the building plan review is 20 working days.
     
  13. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    Fatboy:

    I agree, I just had a customer build a log home outside of Denver with time frames like that, but this is Calfiornia, we can't get the Design Review hearings scheduled in 20 working days. As I've mentioned a few times a construction defects attorney friend sold his home here and built a new one in no time at all in Nevada, his architect handled his inspections for a lot less that the county would have charged, permit fees were only $3,000 and would have been over $100,000 here.

    One trick we all use to get around the bastards here is to leave a portion of an old home up and get classified as a "remodel" rather than new construction, here is one I did that way, it costs a lot more to work around the old crap, in this case a lot more because we ran into a lot of dry rot, I got this through in two years by doing that but it probably cost my owner a million dollars more money. During construction a Mexican American carpenter came to me complaining that his architect was 7 years into permitting two new houses in South San Francisco, he asked about suing for racial discrimination since I was able to do it in two years, I told him no that if anything they would be very careful with him because of his situation, I offered to look into it for him and found his architect had it all down to a fight between the fire marshals and the water district over the number of water meters for each house.

    BTW, as you can see there were 50 pages of plans submitted, in addition I submitted 75 pages of shop drawings which accounted for the bulk of the several months of plan review. As you can see only the well-to-do can afford to live in code-compliant buildings now, cities like Oakland can provide can provide non-code-compliant housing for the rest of us.
     
    #13 conarb, Nov 4, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  14. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Ya and how many plan checks on one project ... I average two, but have had five
     
  15. tmurray

    tmurray Sawhorse

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    For fun... on the plans you posted, our fees are as follows:
    Building Permit: 3'195.00
    Building Bond: 2'000.00
    Water Permit: 750.00
    Sewer Permit: 500.00
    Zoning Variance: 250.00
    Total: 4'695.00 in fees and 2'000.00 bond refunded once the final inspection is completed.

    I am under the presumption that most places in North America are more like us than like California, so if it's that hard to get the permits, the fees are so high, etc. then why are people still trying to do it? The answer is quite simple: because it is worth it to these people. People don't pay for/do things unless it meets with their needs or wants. Places can charge that much because that is what it is worth to their residents.
     
  16. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    It's fine for people like this who make millions of dollars per year, in fact high fees keep the "riff rap" out, but what about all the poor people living in the streets or those Tuff Sheds that don't need permits? We have arrived at a point where only the rich can afford a code compliant home so the lower classes live in homes that don't comply with code?
     
  17. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    Duplicate
     
  18. tmurray

    tmurray Sawhorse

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    I guess my point is that they choose to live there. We've all heard stories of people who ask for money on the streets and are offered minimum wage jobs that they turn down because they make more money on the street. Many of the people who can't afford a home in these cities could afford one in others. The people who are living in tents, vans, and sheds are living there because their desire to live in that city is greater than their desire to own a home.

    Also, I would disagree with your assertion that only the wealthy can afford a code compliant home. We've had two contractors in my area recently stop building entry level homes because of the lack of demand. The reality is that people in my area don't want a basic entry level home because of the image it has. I often joke that if someone could live in a tent behind a cardboard cut out of a mansion, they would.
     
  19. fatboy

    fatboy Administrator

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    One plan check for building, we redline comment the plan, and return. Its up to the design team/contractors to read comments.
     
  20. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Again and again; same comments....
     

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