Summary of the SBCA event at Rosen Shingle Creek
Orlando, FL – 11/12/2014
On Friday, November 12, 2014, component manufacturers (CM) and suppliers from all across the state of Florida gathered in Orlando to discuss the current challenges they faced in the marketplace and how the past Florida chapter structure should be rejuvenated to collectively address those challenges.
Optimism among attendees was high regarding economic recovery and future growth opportunities in Florida. Given that, the group explored several issues that could either help or hinder the component industry’s continued success. First among those issues was a CM’s scope of work. Chapter 2 of the ANSI/TPI 1 standard, which is adopted into the building code, provides clear guidance on scope of work. Attendees reviewed the standard and discussed the various ways in which a CM’s scope of work is altered by their customer contracts. Florida law further complicates matters by creating unique categories for “truss design engineers,” versus “truss system engineers” and “successor engineers.”
With the advancement of electronic document delivery, SBCA is developing a system to allow CMs to create and present to customers complete electronic jobsite packages. A challenge for CMs in Florida will be overcoming confusion in the marketplace regarding the law’s acceptance of electronic seals and signatures.
Throughout the discussion of these challenges, attendees agreed it was important to have a united voice and a unified approach to addressing them. To that end, they agreed to create a task force made up of representatives from each region of the state to work with SBCA to prioritize the issues. It was stressed that SBCA must rely on individual CMs to attend local meetings in their markets (HBA’s, building officials, fire service, etc.), act as a resource and “ambassador” for the industry to those groups, and share what they hear with SBCA and other Florida members. Local intelligence gathering will be the key to acting proactively to solve potential problems. Further, the relationships forged out of being a local resource to those groups will help the industry more effectively persuade them to see the component industry’s point of view.
For more specific information on the topics discussed, Christopher Gould at Gould Design, Inc. and Tony Sierra at MiTek USA, Inc., put together the following bulleted summary:
- There is a push in contracts, plans and specifications for the component manufacturer to be the central focal point for truss systems engineering.
- The issues here stem from the fragmentation of the market, misunderstanding of the code and professional engineering laws, and building inspectors who need help understanding the nuances of how the structural components industry functions as part of the construction process.
- The building code is complicated. When an issues arise, there is a need for someone to provide help in the way of thoughtful and thorough education.
- Kirk Grundahl stressed SBCA is a “best practices” organization.
- SBCA’s goal is to develop a process to help every SBCA chapter and member have accurate code/technical information. Going forward, this information will be gathered into a “research report” document, which can then be used as a foundation for both code compliance documents and educational programs. Component manufacturer (CM) members can then use these resources to raise awareness and provide educational information to building officials and others in the market.
- The following are areas where questions can be raised and confusion can occur in the field even among those who are responsible for them:
- Truss Repairs
- Fall Protection
- Jobsite Storage
- Truss Handling
- Toe-Nailing for Uplift
- Temporary Bracing
- Construction responsibilities
- This can mean the truss manufacturer is responsible for roof bracing design and load paths for which they have traditionally not been responsible. Most CMs are not able to provide this under their current scope of operation.
- CMs should review their contracts in the context of their scope of work. Some of the changes in contract documents are intended to shift liability (some of it onto the CM).
- It was discussed how through CMs desire to be helpful they typically end up doing technical work for free. Attendees reviewed the scope of work responsibilities contained in the Chapter 2 of the ANSI/TPI 1 standard. The group agreed it is very important for CMs to fully understand the scope of work concepts in the context of construction documents (i.e. contracts, plans, specifications, etc.).
- The group also reviewed the Florida Professional Engineering law definitions and the Florida Building Code concepts that also designate scope of responsibility. The key definitions include:
- Engineer of Record/Registered Design Professional (EOR/RDP)
- Engineer who is in responsible charge for the preparation, signing, dating, sealing and issuing of any engineering document(s) for any engineering service or creative work.
- Engineer engaged by the owner to review and coordinate certain aspects of the project, as determined by the building official, for compatibility with the design of the building or structure, including submittal documents prepared by others, deferred submittal documents and phased submittal documents.
- Truss System Engineer
- An engineer who designs a Truss System.
- Truss Design Engineer
- An engineer who designs individual trusses, but does not design a Truss System.
- Delegated Engineer.
- An engineer who undertakes a specialty service and provides services or creative work (delegated engineering document) regarding a portion of the engineering project. The delegated engineer is the engineer of record for that portion of the engineering project.
- Specialty Engineer.
- An engineer, who is not the structural engineer of record, who provides engineering criteria or designs necessary for the structure to be completed. The specialty engineer may be a delegated engineer.
- Successor Engineer
- An engineer seeking to reuse already sealed contract documents under the successor professional engineer’s seal must be able to document and produce upon request evidence that he has in fact recreated all the work done by the original professional engineer. The successor professional engineer must take all professional and legal responsibility for the documents which he sealed and signed and can in no way exempt himself from such full responsibility. Plans need not be redrawn by the successor professional engineer; however, justification for such action must be available through well-kept and complete documentation on the part of the successor professional engineer as to his having rethought and reworked the entire design process.
- When a CM signs a contract that requires them to design the entire truss system, the CM can inadvertently become a “Successor Engineer” under Florida law, which means they assume greater liability for the design of the structure. By way of comparison, under Florida law, the “Truss Design Engineer” is only responsible for engineering each individual truss.
- A good example to illustrate this difference is a window manufacturer. The manufacturer employs a window engineer to design the window to resist positive and negative pressure and potentially missile loading conditions. The window manufacturer is not responsible for the window opening framing or the rest of the wall framing and sheathing. In the same way, the CM is responsible for the single truss that is placed into a roof or floor assembly, not the entire system.
- The recommendation for allCMs to ensure they do not get into a business relationship that has unintended consequences is to:
- Read each contract closely and ensure the defined scopes of work match a CM’s actual scope of work.
- Revise the contracts, if necessary.
- It is very important to have the EOR sign off on the design assumptions and loads and be aware that the CM scope of work is limited to ANSI/TPI 1, Chapter 2 requirements.
- This development led to a discussion on electronic seals and signatures. Attendees mentioned Orange & Volusia counties will not accept digital or electronic signatures, nor will the Miami-Dade area.
- Discussion then took place regarding the difference between an electronic signature and a digital signature, where a lack of knowledge about the law and technicalities that is likely causing the problem.
- Electronic signature: A signature on the seal that resembles a hand-written one but is in electronic format
- Digital signature: A seal that is created by the engineer that has no signature that resembles a hand-written one, but is totally digital.
- There was a broad based discussion on how to best deal with the electronic seals and signatures issue in Florida so that CM TDD processing can be streamlined. Bill Krick of Alpine has created an educational program that he will share with SBCA. The goal of the group is to develop the facts, ensure that we have good knowledge of the civil and FBPE law and create a roadmap for implementation in the Florida market.
- The Wisconsin McDonalds broken bottom chord example was reviewed. This showed photos of the lumber before snow load was removed and then after snow load removal. Based on the lumber shown, it looked like a low grade of the lumber – turns out it was 2400MSR 2.0E. A discussion on the risk to CMs was discussed based on the lack of traceability of the grade stamp if the grade stamp was cut off. In any regarding process there is risk. The BFS experience in Alabama was detailed where a contractor asked for a lumber grade review on a jobsite. The regarding of lumber was performed and caused BFS to have to provide $25K in floor truss repairs. More recently the same thing happened causing $7k in repairs. MSR was discussed and how it measures bending and that bending is correlated to the other design values. Tension proof testing is not typically done. We need to have reliable design values. Kent and Kirk are navigating this and trying to figure out how best to manage change inside the risks that are present.
Closing remarks reflected on the opportunities that exist in Florida now that most have “weathered the storm” of the downturn and we can collectively turn to supporting SBC industry growth through the cooperative work of our local chapters and SBCA. Gratitude is expressed by Kirk Grundahl, Bill Heine and Mike Ruede for all in attendance.
Overall, the collaboration of all of Florida’s chapters was a significant highlight of the discussion. The task group will be working on this to ensure that what we do will benefit all Florida CM members well. Since Florida has such a diverse and complex market, it only makes sense to work together on key issues and provide a unified Florida voice.
Each attendee was asked to email Kirk 3 key Florida issues that they believe should be tackled to help support the Florida market the best. The Florida task group works on the mission, the structure and begin with the 3 most popular and pressing items to address and proceed in a proactive manner.
Christopher Gould – President
Gould Design, Inc.
Tony Sierra – MiTek USA, Inc.
(As published by SBC Industry news November 17th, 2014. Click here to view)