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How high can a stem wall be?

Mark K

Platinum Member
Joined
May 12, 2010
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1,707
There is a difference between not issuing a permit when the state has clearly stated that an engineer is involved and imposing a requirement not clearly specified by the state licensing board. Has your state explicitly given the building department the authority to police the practice of engineering? Or is this a power grab by building departments.

Remember you could always file a complaint with the state licensing board. There would be no violation of the privacy laws since the submitted application is a public record and since you would only be reporting information in the public record. In addition I understand that there exists a protected right to be able to notify a government agency of a violation of a law enforced by that entity.

In those states where the local jurisdiction, not the state, adopt the building code there is no way the local jurisdiction could have the authority to regulate or police the practice of engineering.

A key question is when the state delegated the adoption of the building code to an agency did they delegate also the authority to regulate the practicing of engineering? I think not. Was the legislature even aware that the model code would add provisions regulating the practice of engineering? I think not.

The reality is that when state agencies adopt a building code they typically do not look carefully at what is in the model code. Thus ICC or another publisher of a model code is able to insert language into the model code that is in conflict with state law which is not removed when the state agency adopts the building code which effectively gives the publisher of the model code that ability to change state law. There is no way the state can delegate modification of state law to a private entity. What really matters is what does state law say, not what the building code says. The building code is only legal when it does not violate statutes adopted by the legislature.

The focus of the building department should be on whether the application established that the building will comply with the adopted regulations, not who designed it. I realize that this is contrary to the practice of some building departments that feel that if the documents were signed by a design professional then they do not have to perform a thorough review. That is a cop out.

Focus on enforcing the adopted regulations.
 

tmurray

Registered User
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
1,923
Location
NB, Canada
There is a difference between not issuing a permit when the state has clearly stated that an engineer is involved and imposing a requirement not clearly specified by the state licensing board.
How could I deny issuing a permit for a development that the state licencing board indicates requires an engineer, if I am not empowered to enforce the rules of the state licensing board?
 

Mark K

Platinum Member
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
1,707
Has the legislature or possibly the agency regulating the practice of engineering explicitly empowered you to enforce the rules of the licensing board?
 

tmurray

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Jun 10, 2011
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1,923
Location
NB, Canada
Has the legislature or possibly the agency regulating the practice of engineering explicitly empowered you to enforce the rules of the licensing board?
That is my point a couple posts ago. I am empowered to enforce the code. The code has provisions to require engineering based on a certain criteria.

I am not empowered (and I assume most other building officials as well) to enforce the requirements of the agency regulating the practice of engineering.

So, if the requirements related to engineered design in the code are not able to be enforced, there are no requirements for engineered design as far as I am concerned.
 

Mark K

Platinum Member
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
1,707
You are inferring the enforcement authority. My position is that if this enforcement authority is delegated to the building official that the legislature should be explicit in granting the authority.

I understand regulating the practice of engineering to include both the authority to adopt regulations but also the authority to enforce the regulations

By the way I am talking about American law, not Canadian.

This does not prevent the building official from not issuing a permit when the technical provisions in the standard are not complied with.
 

classicT

Sawhorse
Joined
Aug 2, 2017
Messages
1,589
Location
Washington State
Mark, I think that we all have understood your personal take on the matter. You are very well informed and passionate.

That said, I do not think you are winning our hearts and minds. Seems a number of us disagree, and that is ok. Until a court case is tried, one that gets large enough to become well known in the code enforcement world, it seems that there is a gray zone.

Good points have been made on all sides, so, let's all give it a rest and stop kicking the horse.
 

Paul Sweet

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Messages
1,417
Location
Richmond, VA
It isn't always necessary to hire a PE to design something "in accordance with accepted engineering practice." Most states allow architects to do engineering that is incidental to an architectural design. There are many predesigned solutions for retaining walls in Graphic Standards, NCMA, and other trade organizations that they can use as guidance.
 
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