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I have added the statement "time spent on plan check items will be billed
separately" on my contract for residential structures.  I use to not charge
for this in the past, because I assumed that structural comments by plan
check would be of substance, and therefore my responsibility.  I no longer
have this opinion due to hundreds of residential planchecks comments that I
have recived that were a total waste of time.  I have attributed this to the
fact that I practice in rural areas of California and, in general, the small
building departments lack personnel with experience.  The thing that I find
fustrating with this problem is that if the plancheck person is not a
competent engineer (most of the time they are not even engineers), then why
are they reviewing the calcs' to begin with?  I noticed a previous post
about plancheck ethics, So I assume that I am not the only one that spend
too much time answering off base questions. 

I think that this also ties in with the P.E. vs S.E. discussions that have
been going on.  Structural calculations AND the checking of structural
calculations can be done (in CA) by people who might have very little
experience with structural engineering.  Guess which side of this issue that
I am on?

Randy Vogelgesang S.E.
South Lake Tahoe

At 11:54 PM 8/17/97 -0400, you wrote:
>     I have recently noticed at the back of soil reports for my projects that
>some soil engineering firms include language that says the report scope of
>services does not include time for responses to government agency comments,
>and responses will be at additional hourly rates.    It used to be a soil
>report was never questioned here, but since the earthquake, some
>jurisdictions have been having soil engineering consultants plan check the
>submitted soil reports. 
>     This seems appropriate to me.
>     My standard practice has been to include building department plan check
>comment responses as part of the original fee. The problem is , some
>jurisdictions regularly approve my plans with minor or no comments while
>others can create hours of engineering time and days of drafting time (
>$1000s).  On the other hand, I have plan checked over 5000 plans in 13 years
>as a contract plan check engineer so i know this is not unique to me. 
>     I think it would be fair to follow the soil engineers and charge hourly
>for plan check comments but I can see resistance to change.
>     I would really appreciate hearing what others are doing. 
>     Most of my work is type V and III.
>     Thanks in advance.
>     Tom Harris, SE
>     Thousand Oaks, CA