Site Inspections – are they really necessary?
Some see inspections as a unnecessary cost to the construction of their new facility but for a majority of facilities, general review is mandatory as part of the building permit requirements. Most building codes require professional engineers to undertake a general review of construction of specified buildings and forward written reports from this general review to the chief building official. The purpose of the general review is to ensure that the project is being constructed in “general conformance” with the engineered plans.
Your engineering firm should provide a list of inspection requirements, at the completion of the engineered drawings, to ensure that you are aware of when an inspection is to be completed. Stonecrest supplies a list of inspections to both the Owner and the Contractor to ensure none of the required inspections are missed. It is critical that these inspections be completed. Not having the required inspections and reports completed can cause issues with the local municipality such as denied occupancy and forfeited permit deposits.
The inspections you will require for your facility will differ depending on the type of facility you are building. Agricultural storage shed may require soil/footing inspection, a wall reinforcement inspection, a framing inspection and a final inspection. Whereas a bunker silo may require a soil/footing inspection, a wall reinforcement inspection and a final inspection. Exceptions may apply to liquid manure storage tank or structures that require fill material to be installed under structural members. In these cases, a geotechnical engineering company may be required to complete additional soil testing prior to continuing construction .For structural onsite inspections, your project may include the following:
Soil and Footing Inspection: Completed after excavation for the foundation or footings for your facility and prior to concrete being poured into the strip, post or pad footings for the facility. When the site has been completely prepared for construction and the concrete formwork and reinforcing steel have been set for the placement of the footings, the engineer should be notified to provide an inspection of the soil conditions and footings. This review may be performed provided the ability to inspect either component is not compromised. You should notify the engineer of any concerns with regards to, but not limited to, soil bearing capacity, slope stability, groundwater and drainage. You should also notify the engineer if non-native soils have been used in the site preparation. If your project contains provisions for a liquid manure storage or requires fill material under structural members, a geotechnical engineer must be retained to perform an investigation prior to construction as well as complete a general review of the excavation.
Concrete Reinforcement Inspection for Walls and Slabs: Completed when the reinforcing steel has been tied for concrete components including foundation walls, gutter/pit walls, sandwich walls, gutter or floor slabs; your engineer should be notified to complete an inspection of ANY of these components. As part of a general review, it is not reasonable for the engineer to review the reinforcement each time that concrete is poured. The contractor is responsible for providing the proper reinforcement and placement, as specified in the engineered plans, for components which are not reviewed by your engineer. Please note that concrete reinforcement inspections are usually required by the engineer for each component (i.e. foundation wall reinforcement, sandwich wall reinforcement, gutter/pit wall reinforcement, gutter/floor slab reinforcement, etc.)
Manure Transfer System Inspection for Gutters and Transfer Pipes: Completed when all of the transfer pipes have been installed, the engineer should be contacted to inspect the pipe connections, junction connections, shut off valves and all seals. The contractor should also be available to make any gasket-sealed joint available for inspection. In the case of a concrete transfer system, we strongly recommend to have your engineer inspect the footing and wall reinforcement of the system as well.
Framing Inspection: Completed when the facility has been completely framed. You should contact the engineer prior to completing interior or exterior sheathing that would prevent a visual inspection of key framing components including truss installation, bracing and firestops. Some inspectors will often combine the inspection of the framing components with the final inspection if all the structural components meet compliance with the engineered drawings.
Final Inspection: Completed when the facility has been substantially completed. This inspection is done once all finishes, concrete work, equipment placement, etc., has been completed including backfill around the facility, installation of safety fencing/gating, monitoring stations/drainage tile and required exiting installed. Township building departments will grant occupancy or close the building permit once the Engineer’s approval has been granted in the final report.
Ensuring that your project has accompanying structural inspections completed throughout its construction will ensure building permit and engineering compliance and will allow you to close your building permit and eliminate any issues with occupancy or forfeited permit deposits.