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Re: [TowerTalk] Bay Area Structural Engineer Needed

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Bay Area Structural Engineer Needed
From: JVarney K6VAR <>
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2011 11:39:27 -0700 (PDT)
List-post: <">>
(Apologies if this shows up as a double posting)

I'm a licensed civil engineer in California.  A couple of thoughts I'd like to 

I would advise any ham concerned about liability or insurance in the case of 
tower failure to not automatically use "generic" plans and specifications 
provided by any tower manufacturer. While a photocopy or a .pdf file might 
satisfy the permit office at the County, it is questionable if use of such 
plans would hold up in court or pass muster with a sharp insurance adjuster.

The potential inadequacy of "generic" plans stems from the current landscape of 
building codes in California. State law requires the use of certain national 
and state standard codes that consider forces due to wind, earthquakes, ice, 
etc. and combinations thereof. Complicating this is many cities and counties 
modify these codes with their own ordinances. This is why a "generic" plan may 
not work in every instance. Local building officials are increasingly educated 
about all this and that's why many of them ask to see an engineer's signature 
on permit applications on any structure, including ham antennas. Some cities 
and counties ask to see the calculations as well.

Also, a "generic" plan might make assumptions about the footing, such as 
certain soil types or installing on a flat grade. Local site conditions might 
warrant a revised footing plan.

To summarize, I believe the value provided by retaining an engineer is to 
ensure a reasonably safe and serviceable installation as well as ensuring full 
compliance with all national, state and local code requirements.

73 Jim K6VAR

Disclaimer: this posting is informational only and does not constitute the 
practice of civil engineering. For engineering advice, please consult with an 
engineer licensed in your state and who is familiar with your local conditions, 
codes and requirements.

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