Special inspections are tests and observations of materials, fabrication, erection, or placement of components and connections critical to the structural integrity of the building identified in the Statement of Special Inspections. The Statement of Special Inspections is prepared by the Structural Engineer considering what is critical to the structural integrity of the specific building. The objective of special inspections is to confirm that the building is constructed as designed to resist extreme design loading conditions such as earthquakes and wind loads. The building may or may not ever experience these extreme loading conditions, but if it does, building performance should be consistent with the design.
Special Inspections do not apply to construction that is not critical to the structure integrity. Therefore, special inspections does not apply to construction beyond the zone of influence of the building foot print (pavements, storm water control, etc.) or within the building that are not critical to the integrity of the specific building (slab-on-grade, sanitary sewer, etc.). While these may be important to the project, they do not fall under Special Inspections.
Special Inspections are required by the International Building Code (IBC) that has been adopted by most states in the United States. In many cases, states have made changes to the IBC during adoption. Each code enforcement jurisdiction develops its own Special Inspections implementation program. Due to changes made to the IBC during state adoption and differences in implementation programs by local jurisdiction implementation, special inspections are the same in every jurisdiction, but implemented differently in every jurisdiction.
Special Inspections include both observations and tests on construction materials (soil compaction, concrete compressive strength, welds, fire resistive materials, etc.) to determine compliance with design assumptions. S&ME has been providing construction materials testing for over 40 years and has a highly experienced, well qualified staff to provide Special Inspections in addition to geotechnical and construction materials testing services on your project.
Special inspections is intended to determine compliance with the design. Special Inspectors may not make judgements about design intent or compliance. A test or observation that does not comply with the design is identified as discrepancy. Discrepancies are assigned a unique identification number and a Discrepancy Notice prepared to document the non-compliance. The Discrepancy Notice is re-issued to the same distribution with additional information any time efforts to resolve the discrepancy are taken. All discrepancies are tracked until actions are taken to resolve them.
The costs of Special Inspections and construction materials testing are not inconsequential. Significant cost savings can be achieved by having one firm provide both construction materials testing and Special Inspection services. When selecting a firm to provide special inspections and construction materials testing, consider that S&ME:
- Provides both Special Inspections and construction materials testing services.
- Knows the local jurisdiction special inspection requirements.
- Provides an efficient, internet-based reporting system.
- Delivers experienced technician and engineering staff.