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Re: Plan check submittals and shop drawings

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Bar joist supplier Gary Tiedgen concluded his explanation of the controversy
at hand with three questions, and a hint that "the feel of the engineering
community" might help resolve them. Let me try to answer, not so much from
feel, but from what the Calif. PE Act and Board Rules appear to say. 

>Does a product supplier finishing the design for the engineer of record and
>submitting for the EOR approval constitute engineering design work?  

        If the design finishing includes making engineering determinations
such as proportioning the roof trusses to resist loading figures furnished
by the EOR, where discretion to chose among alternatives exists and
"responsible charge" as defined in the Act and Rules is exercised, then the
design finishing constitutes engineering design work, and is the practice of
civil engineering. The signature and seal of the engineer in responsible
charge of this design finishing would be mandatory on the drawings and cover
page of the calculations.  

I believe the EOR's approval, if offered, takes the form of an engineering
report that reports a judgment or "finding" on engineering by others that
the EOR reviewed. The EOR may not substitute his or her signature and seal
for that of the engineer exercising responsible charge of that design
finishing engineering, but may ADD his own, pursuant to "reporting" his
approval. The PE Act is silent about approvals being required, or signing
and sealing them; the originator's signature and seal satisfies the
requirements of the Act. (Only one engineer in responsible charge of a
particular element of design is envisioned in the PE Act.) Note also that
UBC sec does not require the reviewing EOR to sign and seal the
"notation" forwarded to the building official that indicates completion of
review and a finding of general conformance.

Nothing in the PE Act prevents an EOR from receiving "recommendations" from
anyone as to how a design might be finished. Subject to practicing within
his or her own area of competency, an EOR may finish up a design in a
responsible charge way using a fabricator's suggestions as deemed suitable.  

>Possibly the joist manufacturer should not accept plans that the EOR has
left >uncompleted?

        The PE Act expressly allows anyone in a business other than
professional engineering to employ or retain a professional engineer to
perform the engineering "incidental" to the conduct of business. A truss
supplier would appear to be welcome to accept plans that have matters left
for the supplier to engineer as a preliminary to fabrication. For many types
of proprietary items, a divided design arrangement is not only convenient,
but practically unavoidable.

>Does the assigning of identification marks to the plans prepared by the
>engineer of record constitue engineering?

        Assuming that the marks are used for informing the construction
personnel where various elements of construction materials are to be
positioned, and those positions conform to the system selected by the EOR,
and are within the range of customary tolerance accepted by EOR'S, etc.,
then no professional engineering is being done in assigning those marks. 

Using a copy of the EOR's plans as a base on which to add erection
information or shop information is an obvious convenience and has the
advantage of not deviating from the EOR's plans, as might happen if they
were drawn anew. Using this copy would have no bearing on whether the added
marks are within the practice of contracting or of professional engineering. 

        In the PE Act and Board Rules, the definitions of professional
engineering and responsible charge are worth looking up, as are the various
exemptions for activities such as contracting and manufacturing. One can
also make a carefully crafted written inquiry to the PE Board; it is done
occasionally, typically with slow responses and uncertain care taken in
researching the answers. Interpretations of the PE Act and Board Rules are
often sent to their staff attorney. I am acquainted with him and he is
sincere in these matters (in the absence of Board or Department agendas, at
least... He's their attorney, not ours.) But he admits candidly that all he
knows about the practice of engineering is what he finds in the PE Act. I
recommend to first establish your own familiarity with the laws, and
consider them in the context you already understand. Look them up at the PE
Board's website at 

You also said,

>The plan checker rightfully states that
>the first permit set issued to him does not have all of the required info
>and thusly requires further submittal.  His statement has been that the
>drawings showing "all" of the design info/ joist sizes need to be stamped.

        I agree with the plan checker that everything engineered has to be
stamped, but the last sentence ought to read, "...all of the drawings
showing design info/ joist sizes need to be stamped."  That allows the info
to be distributed among separate sheets according to who originated the
info, if desired. The plan checker/ building official is on doubtful
authority if he is demanding design info from different responsible charge
engineers to be combined on the same sheet where no one engineer can legally
sign for all of it short of asserting responsible charge as a successor

Thanks for clarifying the facts and posing the concerns.

Charles O. Greenlaw SE   Sacramento CA