Guidelines for Threshold Inspections
To understand the guidelines for threshold inspections one must first understand what a threshold inspection consists off and requires.
In the state of Florida, according to the 2018 Florida Statutes Chapter 553, Building Construction Standards defines a “threshold” building
as any structure that is composed of more than 3 stories and/or over 50 Ft in height with an assembly occupancy classification that exceeds
5,000 Square Ft in a used area, and occupied by more than 500 people.
Threshold inspections are typically performed by Special Inspectors which may be Structural Engineers, Architects, or any other Professional Engineer who is licensed in Florida to perform Threshold and other Special Inspections.
To successfully execute a threshold inspection the inspector must have a plan to inspect each element of the building, which means the Special Inspector must be or become familiar with the specific structural components and systems that will be inspected prior to the inspection. The Inspector must also document his findings to be able to provide a report at the end of the inspection.
What’s the point of the inspection?
The inspector is there to provide the owner, contractor, local authorities, or any other identity that the inspector represents
while on the field, with an accurate and informative report as to the property’s current physical condition.
The inspector’s role is crucial and provides a transparent and impartial judgment which essentially is the most relevant
information that is needed when it comes to getting your Building approved by the City/County.
Unlike building officials, the inspector is a private citizen whose focus is still to report the structural conditions with integrity to ensure safety and compliance.
The inspector is the main person that is out on the field, therefore, they have firsthand knowledge and access. The inspector can be very helpful on the field as they are the front line on questions. Often the client/contractor has questions regarding plans and other specifications in which case the inspector can provide answers and address all their main concerns.
They are there to address any potential destabilizing element and provide a potential solution.
The Special Inspector will receive the specifications of the project and prepare a proposal in which he will calculate the number of inspections that will be necessary to be done in accordance with the construction phases of the project.
- Preconstruction Meeting
The preconstruction meeting establishes the line of communication that will be used throughout the execution of the project as per client’s request.
During this phase, you will be able to determine who the main team will be such as the general contractor, architect, EOR (Engineer on Record), the testing agency, Ready Mix Concrete supplier and any other main role. This will allow you to exchange and request any additional information that you may need as an Inspector to carry out the inspection if you need to contact any of the key personals for question purposes.
During this phase depending on your client, you may also establish the Threshold Plans, which ultimately will give you as the Inspector what your scope of work will consist.
- Execution of Construction and Inspections.
Inspector will first and foremost inspect specific elements for their Dimension, Reinforcing, Bar Cover, Compression Strength of Concrete, Dowels, Anchor Bolts, and other items
- Spread Footings
- Wall Footings
- Grade Beams
- Pile Cap
- Mat Foundation
- Concrete Slabs
- Slab on Grade
- Structural Slab
- Concrete Columns
- Steel Column
- Concrete Walls
- Masonry Walls
- Concrete Beams
- Steel Beams
- Concrete Joist
- Open Web Steel
- Steel Deck
- Post Tension
- Barrier Cables
- Window & Door
The inspector will also verify that each of the construction phases has been executed as per the testing agencies’ reports.
During this phase as the Special Inspector, you may need to consider any RFI’s (Request for Information) that have been submitted and addressed by the EOR and verify that construction was executed as per RIF’s approval.
After all, inspections have been concluded the Special Inspector will provide the client with a letter of compliance that will serve as the report. However, they may also provide the client with a letter stating the outstanding items that did not meet the requirements and need to be changed prior to them receiving the final letter stating that they follow the approved plans. This letter will be signed and sealed by the Special Inspector and will be the final report that gets submitted to the Building Official.
The concept of a threshold inspection is something that although it may vary from firm to firm depending on the specific protocol of their procedural manual on how they conduct inspections the essence of the inspection is the same, “Building Safety and Code Compliance”.
We routinely receive emails from potential clients who aren’t sure whether they need a Threshold Inspection or if they might be in need of a different inspection for their specific needs, and we explain to them and try to address their questions to help them achieve their end results. Regardless of whether we do end up working together, we educate potential clients, inform them, and try our best to assist them.
Our knowledge in engineering is what ensures that the project is successful but our customer service is what actually finalizes the results for better projects and satisfied people who appreciate what we do as we appreciate what they bring to us.
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