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June 21st, 2006

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greenpin.gif (614 bytes) Inspections, Inspections, Inspections...


 

 

 

 

 

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Nowadays, whether you have a building construction project going on in New York or New Jersey, you have to deal with inspections not only conducted by the respective municipalities but inspections conducted or handled by private/third party entities as well.

This situation is not new; as a matter of fact, New York City has required this form of inspection for more than a quarter of a century, calling it ‘controlled inspection’.

What is ‘controlled inspection’?

The Building Code of the City of New York requires that certain materials, operations and equipment shall be inspected or tested to verify compliance with the code requirements under the provisions of controlled inspection.

Specific sections of this Code stipulate that all required controlled inspections and tests of such materials and equipment shall be made or witnessed by or under the direct supervision of a licensed architect or engineer retained by or on behalf of the owner or lessee, who shall be, or shall be acceptable to, the architect or engineer who prepared or supervised the preparation of the plans.

Moreover, according to this Code, all equipment, materials, forms, assemblies, or methods of construction subject to "controlled inspection" are required to be listed on the title sheet of the plans, or the sheet immediately following the plans submitted with new building or alteration applications.

What is ‘special inspection’?

The International Code Council’s (ICC) Model Code which was adopted with some modifications by the states of New York and New Jersey require special inspections that although not as numerous as controlled inspections but very similar to them and geared to the structural integrity of the building.

A special inspection is the monitoring of the materials and workmanship that are critical to the integrity of the building structure. It is a review of the work of the contractors and their employees to assure that the approved plans and specifications are being followed and that relevant codes and reference standards are being observed. The special inspection process is in addition to the inspections conducted by the Code Enforcement Official/Building Inspector and by the Registered or Licensed Design Professional as part of structural observations.

According to these state codes, special inspection is required of the materials, installation, fabrication, erection and placement of components and connections requiring special expertise to ensure compliance with approved construction documents and referenced standards.

It is of utmost importance that the owner/lessee makes provisions for conducting the required controlled/special inspections prior to construction commencement.

Although not required, it is preferred that the general contractor be responsible for the controlled/special inspections since the general contractor has to arrange/coordinate and facilitate the inspections.  Acceptance of this responsibility can be part of the bid package and the negotiated contract documents and is preferred by the majority of design professionals.

This important aspect of project delivery can not be overlooked and should be addressed very early in the course of the project, preferably prior to any contract awarded. Failure to do so could create problems and delays, adding to the cost of the project in the long run.

Copyright © 2006 JRS Architect, P.C. All Rights Reserved.