Quiz Question 37: 9/28/20

Hi, for the below question, can you explain why the Owner would need to hire the Structural Engineer? Or is it that the architect is getting permission from the owner to hire a Structural Engineer? It’s my understanding that the Architect hires the Structural engineer.

As part of a renovation project, a new rooftop HVAC unit will be added to a building. The mechanical engineer needs to know that the roof structure is adequate to support the new unit. There is no structural consultant already on the job and one will need to be retained.

According to AIA C401 document, what is the communication protocol for requesting the appropriate consultant to perform the analysis?

Answer: Mechanical Engineer -> Architect -> Owner -> Structural Engineer

Thank you!

1 Like

Hi @jpmcd
Let’s get one of our expert architects to help with this question. @beckypalmquist_sme do you mind helping?

Hello @jpmcd, another good question! In this scenario, there is no structural engineer already on the project so one must be brought in. The architect does not have to absorb the cost of hiring a consultant that was not anticipated earlier. Note that the question is asking about the communication protocol, not asking who hires the engineer. In other words, the mechancial engineer determines that a new rooftop unit is needed but does not have the expertise to analyze if the structure can hold the unit. The mechancial engineer would notify the architect that a structural consultant is needed and the architect would in turn convey the need to the owner because it is the owner’s project and building.

Thanks, Becky. So why would the owner communicate with the Structural Engineer instead of the Architect? In what you’re describing it sounds like it should go something like:

Mechanical Engineer -> Architect -> Owner -> Architect -> Structural Engineer


Maybe. Maybe not. You are adding an extra step in there that isn’t an option. In my experience, the owner would hire the structural engineer directly for the analysis. I can’t think of anything that would require the owner to hire the engineer through the architect if that is what you are wondering.

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