A Tale of Two Engineers

Posted on January 21, 2021 by Chase Radue

BlogHeader_Chase012121

What is the relationship between the Engineer of Record and the Precast Specialty Engineer?

The relationship between the Structural Engineer of Record and the Precast Specialty Engineer can be a unique one as far as engineer relationships go on a project due to the delegated design role of the making the precast engineer responsible for the precast portion of a structure and has a few factors that ultimately determine how it will play out.

Contract Structure

Typically, anything dealing with precast design is a Delegated Design through the general contractor since that is usually who the precast supplier’s contract is with. With most contracts the owner has one with the GC has a separate contract with the design team. So contractually the precast specialty engineer answers to the GC but has a duty to perform the delegated design in accordance with the EOR’s overall building design. In the Design-Build world single contracts with the owner are more common typically with the GC so both EOR and precaster would be under the same contract. Design-Assist can be a mix of both of these where a precast engineer is brought on early as part of the design team to help develop their drawings and transitions to the typical delegated design once a GC is signed up on the project.

Building Type

The type of building structure will influence the intensity of the relationship the EOR and precast engineer need to have to accomplish the design of the building. Is the building a large mix of building materials and the precast is maybe just cladding or some pretty straight forward load bearing elements? If so the complexity of the precast’s design may not be a very large impact on the structure overall so can be accomplished relatively easily. Is the building total precast with the other building materials only comprising the sub-structure? If so, this will require more communication and understanding between the EOR and precast engineer to make sure all aspects of member and connection design are covered and how those will affect the rest of the building outside of the precast scope.

Scope of Material Interfaces

Where precast meets other building materials, which will happen even on total precast structures, it needs to clearly define who is responsible for designing what and what the relevant demands are from that connection. This scope responsibility can change from project to project depending on where the material is being supplied and who is doing the work so all the more reason to be on clear of expectations from each other.

These factors will help outline who is ultimately responsible for what and can be used in the right way to help streamline the design and construction process. At the end of the day each will need input and help from the other to accomplish their design responsibilities a for this reason it is important no matter these factors the EOR and precast engineer trust that each has the best interests of the structure in mind and work together to achieve the best building for the client.

Chase Radue
Project Engineer