The City of San Antonio’s amended Special Inspection Requirements, per International Building Code (IBC) Section 1704, may soon spread to other cities throughout Texas later this year. According to Michael Constantino, Development Services Manager for the City, while San Antonio has been following Code 1704 since it was first instituted back in 2003, officials from other municipalities such as in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have recently reached out to San Antonio to see how they might leverage the process in their own jurisdictions. Constantino notes that while the code requirement adds a few additional steps to the process for owners and GC’s, the City of San Antonio has created templates and tools to guide owners, architects, and GC’s through the Special Inspections process.

The IBC is a model building code developed by the International Code Council (ICC) that addresses both health and safety concerns for buildings based upon prescriptive and performance related requirements. The code provisions are intended to protect public health and safety while avoiding both unnecessary costs and preferential treatment of specific materials or methods of construction. The code is available for adoption and use by jurisdictions internationally and is reviewed every 3 years for modifications and updates; however, individual jurisdictions such as the City of Antonio, choose to review their codes and make amendments on a yearly basis. The code book itself (2000 edition) totals over 700 pages.

Here’s What You Need to Know:

  • The required special inspections are ultimately decided by the Registered Design Professional in Responsible Charge (RDPIRC) but typically include Steel, Concrete, Masonry, Wood Construction and Soils at a minimum. The RDIPIR also determines the timing and frequency in which the inspections are to be performed.
  • The owner or RDPIRC acting as the owner's agent shall employ one or more approved agencies to perform inspections during construction.
  • The special inspector shall be a qualified person who shall demonstrate competence, to the satisfaction of the building official, for the inspection of the particular type of construction or operation requiring special inspection.
  • The RDPIRC and engineers of record involved in the design of the project are permitted to act as the approved agency and their personnel are permitted to act as the special inspector for the work designed by them, provided those personnel meet the qualification requirements of this section to the satisfaction of the Building Official. The special inspector shall provide written documentation to the building official demonstrating his or her competence and relevant experience or training.
  • A special inspections log is required to track all inspections with associated pass/fail/pending status.
  • A Final Report of Required Special Inspections should be prepared by the Registered Design Professional at the completion of a project that confirms that the listed required special inspections have been conducted and completed. This final report shall be submitted to the building official via the Owner.
  • A Certificate of Occupancy will not be issued by the City of San Antonio until this final report is received, indicating that there are no remaining deficiencies.

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