by Keith Robinson, RSW, FCSC, FCSI, Cameron Franchuk, PE, and Gerald Murnane
Recent pressures have caused responsibility for many design solutions to be transferred to the constructor, as mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. To properly complete deferred design, a solid understanding of regulations surrounding shop drawings, specifications, submittals, and other types of documentation is necessary.
The International Building Code (IBC) does not require supporting registered professionals to submit documentation detailing their commitment to design and compliance following site reviews. However, this is required of the registered professional of record (RPR) so there is a record of assurances to address building permit and occupancy obligations to the authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs). The following are some examples of documentation regulations set by architectural and engineering associations in the United States and Canada.
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of the Professions requires professional engineers licensed by the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE-NY) and architects licensed under other jurisdictions to follow design delegation guidelines. These guidelines state a design professional may delegate through or accept delegation from a contractor or subcontractor for the design of certain ancillary building components or systems when all parameters the design must satisfy are clearly stated, with a further ruling the supporting registered professional design the solution based on the RPR’s performance specifications.
Two Canadian organizations, Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC) and the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC), established guidelines for documentation mirroring each other’s responsibilities, which are intended to be completed by the supporting registered professional and are retained by the RPR as a part of the permanent project file.
In Canada, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) requires specialty professionals (i.e. supporting registered professionals) to complete letters of commitment and compliance to provide closure to the responsibility of the applicable component of deferred or collaborative design, confirm whether site review is required to certify component completion, and offer assurance that the specialty professional is competent in the work being performed. These are retained by the RPR as a part ofthe permanent project file.
Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) in Canada requires specialty engineers (i.e. supporting registered professionals) to complete the standard form for commitment to general review and letter of general conformance when site visits form a part of the work for assurance of installed components. These documents prove specialty engineers are qualified to perform the work being provided to the project and are retained by the RPR as a part of the permanent project file.
Other jurisdictions have similar requirements for the supporting registered professional. Although not identified as well as in the previous references, some form of documentation indicating responsibility for the completed work is required from the supporting registered professional in these areas and is retained by the RPR as a part of the permanent project file. For example, under the Missouri Code of State Regulations (CSR), the rule 20 CSR 2030-21.020, “Engineer of Record and Specialty Engineers,” includes definitions, communication and performance requirements, and participant responsibilities. Also, under the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 21, Division 1-21, “Designation of Responsibilities for Public School Standards,” includes definitions, the types of delegation that are permitted, and participant responsibilities.
Submittal of the various commitment and compliance documents identified by professional engineering associations establishes a similar relationship with the constructor’s engineer as with the subconsultants. They are responsible for their portion of design in a similar way as the coordinating professional of record (CPR), except liability associated with that risk is administered by the RPR.
Document submittal and shop drawing expectations
Guidance governing the best practice expectations for treatment of various types of submittals and shop drawings provided by the constructor during the construction period is similarly fractured between various engineering and architectural associations. Other forms of contract, such as the ones that are available from AIA and ConsensusDOCS in the United States, contain words describing responsibilities for ‘signed and sealed’ submissions specifically assigned to the constructor.