Out here in "Caleeforn-I-AYY" (or what is referred to by the remaining 49 States as "That Loony State"), The BSC (Building Standards Commission) oversees the Developement of Public Elementary & Secondary Schools, as well as Community Colleges and Universities.
Subordinate agencies involved with Educational Facilities include:
- DSA-AC (Division of the State Architect - Access Compliance),
- DSA-SS (Division of the State Architect - Structural Safety),
- SFM (State Fire Marshall),
- OSHPD (Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development).
In addition to these Agencies, the Local County and City DBS (Department of Building and Safety) are involved with Development.
Back in 2004 - 2005, I worked on a few New Schools in LA County. We were performing the BAS (Building Automation Systems) Installations only. All Power-Related Electrical was another Sub Contractor's Responsibility.
Just on our end, we had (4) AHJ's for Compliance, and (3) different Inspectors to Verify + Accept Installations.
Inspections were Required by (in order of "First to Last"):
- City of Los Angeles, Dept. of Building and Safety,
- "LAUSD" (Los Angeles Unified School District),
- "BSC" (Building Standards Commission).
The First Inspection - LA City DBS, was needed prior to arranging Inspection with "LAUSD".
If any non-conformance issues were found by the 1st Inspection, they would be corrected, then approved later by this 1st Inspector.
Fortunately, when any corrections were required, they were minimal enough to fix while the Inspector was still on-site, walking the remainder of the job (large Projects!).
Before the Inspector departed, He / She would Verify the Correction, then sign the Job Card(s)...
The Second Inspection - "LAUSD", was at first a Single Inspector, which was performing Q.C. Inspections (Quality Control) for the School District, and as an entity of the County of Los Angeles.
This Person was a "Proper Inspector" - meaning this Person would work with everyone, similar to the LA DBS Inspector, and understood / recognized which System fell under the responsibility of which Electrical Contractor (more on this later).
California BSC was a separate Inspector, whom walked the Job with a group of Individuals from Sacramento.
Acceptance by LAUSD was required prior to requesting an Inspection with the BSC Group.
The Third Inspection - the "BSC Group", was normally done on a 14 Day Schedule, as the Groups were frequently walking the Projects before any Inspections were requested by us, or the E.C.
These People were really interested in the details of Installations, and would ask the Trades Persons for input plus suggestions.
I enjoyed describing the details of our Trade-Specific Installs to the Group, as well as the related details per the Power Electrical and Mechanical side, of which are Equipment was directly affecting.
Nevertheless, all good things must come to an end...
So, as a Cost-Efficiency maneuver, the BSC "Team" was removed from the "On-Site Inspection" Process, and the tranquility of Inspections was forever gone.
The Q.C. Inspector was replaced with a new Person, who was also "Anointed" with the BSC responsibility.
This Person was very difficult to deal with.
Our Inspections would be not approved, due to a non-conforming Install by the E.C., and Vice-Verse.
This Person _REFUSED_ to walk the Job with a Representative from the Contractor, and only left Correction Notices at the Superintendents' Trailer.
Needless to say, finding the issue was nearly impossible, at best!
Many, Many, MANY Times, the "Issue" was not on our Systems' Installations, and a few times, the issue was the Plumber's stuff!!!
We found this out mainly because the only places we could find any "Piping Not Complete", was in certain Rooms where the Copper Water Pipes were not completed...
So when a Re-Inspection Request was made, one of us (typically Me), would wait at those Rooms for the Inspector, and point out that the Copper Water Pipes are the Plumbers, as we do not use Copper Conduits!
There were more silly things done - such as over-tightening our Compression Fittings, to the point they would strip or break, then writing up a Correction Notice for loose fittings (the E.C.'s Foreman witnessed this, and informed us - so we all watched each others stuff when the Inspector was around).
Another crazy thing I got to see was the Inspector repeatedly yanking hard on Conduits in Wall Cavities, so as to "Test The Strapping".
I mention this stuff, to demonstrate the "Bad Side" of an Unregulated AHJ Representative.
This Person routinely boasted the fact that He was to hold each and every Trade to the conditions in their respective Project Manuals (spoken as if no one knew what this meant), and that He "Follows A Specific Code" (I am still unsure what this Code is), and that "He Answers To Nobody".
On a Public Works Library Project I was working as a "Double-Threat" (P.M. and Foreman) - also in Los Angeles, there was a Q.C. Inspector involved whom always tried to get FWO work going prior to Authorization by My Boss.(BTW, "FWO" = Field Work Order)
The reason I was sent to work In-The-Field on this Project, was due to lack of performance by the original Foreman - a long-time Employee of the Company.
Took a few Weeks to put out all the Fires, but all ran smoothly afterward, and we actually came out with some Profit!
Man, those were the Days!
Don't think I have the ability to "Put Out Fires" now, as I did back in those Days!
I am too use to the "Design / Office Side" of stress per Projects, and have completely forgotten how the "In-Field Side" of the stress "Package" feels!
< leaving the soap box >