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Benefits of ASPE Correspondence for Code Official / AHJ

  • 1.  Benefits of ASPE Correspondence for Code Official / AHJ

    Posted 13 days ago
    Hello All,

    We're attempting to get the head of a local governmental agency to come speak at a local chapter meeting. Unfortunately, he is getting push back from his supervisors about attending. What I would like to do it is present him with a letter outlining the benefits of a meeting for both parties. His agency will be able to receive feedback from our group of professionals, and he will also be able to give feedback as to the conversations happening on the governmental level. 

    Does anyone have something of the sort? 

    Thank you!

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    Ryan Koenig
    ASPE WI - VP Technical
    HGA, Inc. - Mechanical Department
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  • 2.  RE: Benefits of ASPE Correspondence for Code Official / AHJ

    Posted 12 days ago
    A couple of years back, our Chapter (Pittsburgh) had a meeting with the local AHJ coming in for an "open table forum". At first the gentleman wasn't really sure he wanted to come speak. He thought that we (the engineer/designers) were going to attack him. We assured him that the local chapter board would not let that happen. Eventually, He agreed to come and join us. The meeting went well and the gentleman that spoke has even attended a few meetings since we had him speak. He saw that we are all out for the same thing in the end, which is a good design and keeping the public safe. Just try to explain that you want to create that relationship that make you all part of a "team" that will work efficiently and smooth.Hope this helps.

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    Donald Ditter
    Senior Engineering Technician
    H.F. Lenz Company
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  • 3.  RE: Benefits of ASPE Correspondence for Code Official / AHJ

    Posted 12 days ago
    Edited by James Tullis 12 days ago
    What happens in many medium size to large jurisdictions, is the CBO is extremely in tune with the Uniform or international Building Codes. In order to get certification for Plumbing, Mechanical and Electrical Code Certifications, you, like collage, do not memorize everything in a book, you learn to understand the chapters and the flow thru the book. Like working your way thru a specification book, you can quote the section but to explain something you go pull the book. With that said, many jurisdictions will have multiple inspectors that are more familiar with individual codes and their code bodies and specific interpretations. 

    You might have better luck contacting several local jurisdictions, city of county and find one that has a Plumbing Inspector with Plumbing Plans Examiner and Plumbing Inspector Certifications. I am a Certified Plans Examiner with 22 years in a Mechanical Engineering Firm with a specialization in Plumbing Engineering and still carry a CIPE / CPD from 1994, and 15 years Construction, Process Engineering and Plumbing Construction. Most of the Plumbing inspectors and other plans examiners come my way for interpretations and understanding installations. I just got Building Certs and now studying for my Plumbing and Mechanical Certs. Our inspectors are always here at the end of a day bouncing conditions off the plans examiners and other inspectors. 

    The Plumbing Code, both International and Uniform are prescriptive and detailed to the point of not being very interpretive. The building and electrical codes have so many ways to accomplish any one task, so they lead to allowing more interpretation. That is why an experienced Plumbing Inspector might be a better option. The other option might be some private Code Compliance Plans Examining company. Each company will generally have a specific person specializing in specific codes for larger commercial and industrial projects. You might check with your building official to see if they have a code consultant list, then contact them. 

    Because most building officials do not memorize the codes and the potential they change every 3 years, the local official may shy away fearing not being able to answer or be asked to interpret something on the fly. I might suggest that maybe a list of questions is generated and given to the person in advance, Like you my code books are tabbed with references to questions I am frequently asked by applicants and inspectors. That would give them opportunity to answer questions without wasting ever ones time while they look up questions and formulate responses. If you have a code case type question be sure to include the code section in the question. If you want opinion make sure to request opinion not code. They are almost always different and widely vary.

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    Jim Tullis CPD
    Monterey County Ca. RMA
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  • 4.  RE: Benefits of ASPE Correspondence for Code Official / AHJ

    Posted 11 days ago

    It's sad to get that kind of push-back from the code side. In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast there is a much more cordial relationship. I'm now retired but I remember that the WSSC (Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission) provided speakers several times at the Baltimore and Washington, DC ASPE Chapter meetings and they were always well attended. Here in Virginia folks from the State Building Codes Office speak at chapter meetings to inform engineers of upcoming code changes. VPMIA (Virginia Plumbing and Mechanical Inspectors Association) welcomes engineers to its twice-yearly training meetings and indeed a few engineers are usually in attendance. I remember the same thing occurring in North Carolina.

    It makes a lot of sense for engineers to have relationships with code officials and vice versa. Both groups of folks are, like the old poster stated, trying to "Protect the health of a nation" and should endeavor to communicate at every opportunity.



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    Vic Hines, CPD
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  • 5.  RE: Benefits of ASPE Correspondence for Code Official / AHJ

    Posted 11 days ago
    The larger the jurisdiction, the more likely to have dedicated discipline inspectors. Jurisdictions with their own code adaptations are more likely have dedicated dicipline inspectors. Our jurisdiction is 3770 square miles in a county 130 miles long with 5 inspectors to cover the county responsibilities. Each inspector has a region to cover and some may put 300 miles a day in their vehicles and only do15 inspections. It is really to hard to judge inspectors and building officials without some understanding of the operations of their jurisdiction. 

    Like I said in my other post, address the Building official as you would like to have discussions of plumbing issues with a building official or lead plumbing plans examiner or inspector. Broaden your terms and expectations based on your jurisdiction

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    Jim Tullis CPD
    Monterey County Ca. RMA
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  • 6.  RE: Benefits of ASPE Correspondence for Code Official / AHJ

    Posted 8 days ago
    Ryan:  Several years ago, the Southwestern Ohio Chapter invited a code official from Cincinnati to address our group at a Chapter meeting.  In extending the invitation, we made it clear that this was not to be confrontational or a public lynching of a code official.  Rather, this was intended to open a dialogue on the subject of how code officials perform their duties, what they specifically look for in a project and serve as an exchange of thoughts and ideas on how code officials, engineers/designers and contractors could coexist better.

    This was made quite clear to the membership prior to the meeting, and they were informed in no uncertain terms that any acrimony was to be "checked at the door."

    The code official had graciously accepted our invitation.  And as it turned out, it was one of the better meetings of that Chapter year.  Both sides exchanged thoughts and ideas and gained a new appreciation and respect for what the other routinely experiences in the course of a project and, as all agreed, it helped us towards a shared goal: the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the public-at-large.  

    And at the end of the day, that is our duty and obligation as design professionals, contractors and code officials.

    I suspect that if you develop correspondence along these lines, it should (hopefully) yield a positive result.

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    Ron Bartley
    PE, CPD, CPI/CPE, FASPE
    Senior P/FP Engineer
    Elevar Design Group
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  • 7.  RE: Benefits of ASPE Correspondence for Code Official / AHJ

    Posted 7 days ago
    Ryan,

    First I would reach out to your region director and your regional affiliate liaison.  As the Region 4 Affiliate Liaison I see a lot of presentations and a lot of chapters.  That is a huge benefit.  The problem is getting officers at chapters to look at things differently or to try something new.

    Your regional representatives with ASPE may have a better relationship with certain code officials and may be able to get this inspector or CBO to speak.  If that person will not speak, find another at a different city who will.  Look at the local ICC, IAPMO or IPC chapters and see who is on their board of directors, and you may find a new source.  Reach out to the affiliate members in your chapter and see what contacts they have.  Many affiliate simply attend meetings and refuse to chip in and help the chapter.  Affiliates have a lot of contacts.

    Contact ICC in Whittier, CA or IAPMO in Ontario, CA and see who they have who can speak.

    Also, add inspectors and building officials to your chapter database and start inviting them to meetings.

    Feel free to email me at kurt.bramstedt@rheem.com or call me at 657-274-5686.

    Kurt

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    Kurt Bramstedt
    Commercial Sales Manager
    West/Mountain Regions
    Rheem Water Heating
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  • 8.  RE: Benefits of ASPE Correspondence for Code Official / AHJ

    Posted 6 days ago
    Good day, Ryan,

    A noble cause for the chapter. Having CBO attend a joint meeting with our ASPE Chapters is a common occurrence around the country. It is many of our chapters largest attended meeting. We can discuss further in our monthly Region 5 leadership call. You are on the right track with your ideas. We may be able to connect you with some CBO peers to assist. Contact me offline and we can work through this opportunity.

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    Bryan Hutton
    Engineer
    Lubrizol
    ASPE Region 5 Director
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  • 9.  RE: Benefits of ASPE Correspondence for Code Official / AHJ

    Posted 6 days ago
    As I stated before, I see lots of different presentations throughout ASPE Region 4.  One great presentation involving inspectors is done by the Phoenix Chapter.  They bring in a senior plan checker and a high ranking inspector or the CBO and do a presentation on Errors and Omissions.  When they do it, the event is packed with attendees spilling out of the room.  I would contact Christoph Lohr(President) or Jessica Wozniak(Vice President Technical) for advice on this presentation.

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    Kurt Bramstedt - Region 4 Affiliate Liaison
    Commercial Sales Manager - West/Mountain Regions
    Rheem Water Heating
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