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Re: plan check under 97 code

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In a message dated 5/8/99 2:03:17 PM Pacific Daylight Time, NDZ28(--nospam--at) 

<< I'd like to add another item not mentioned previously which is the lack of 
 training/experience in the '97 code for of most of the plan checkers who 
 be reviewing our plans.  As of now Los Angeles has held several training 
 sessions and some of the plan checkers have attended the ICBO seminars, but 
 other municipalities have not done even that much.  Is this enough training? 
 I'm not looking for anyone to look over my work, but I also do not want my 
 work to be someone else's training ground. 
  After 22 years of being in this business and countless hours of seminars 
 studying the code I still feel unsure.  At least when I got my first job I 
 worked under someone's supervision and guidance.  This time I'm all alone.
   Assuming for the moment that we have a simple two story wood structure, 
 plans and calculations are provided to comply with "all" the provisions of 
 the '97 code, what plan checker will have enough experience and training the 
 first 6-12 months to check these plans and not inundate us with a series of 
 frivolous corrections.  It's not that I am picking on plan checkers; After 
 reviewing volume 1 of the Seismic Design Manual, I realized that this code 
 even more confusing than I had previously believed and it makes even less 
 sense.  Unfortunately right now my biggest problem is understanding and 
 trying to decipher this code. 
 Lastly I'd like to find out from those of you who do mostly wood structures, 
 what was the reaction you got form your clients when you told them that your 
 fees may/will be higher for projects falling under the new code.  I know my 
 workload will go up but I want to see if I can raise my fees accordingly.  
 Several engineers I talked to had the same response from their long time 
 clients:  We'll get back to you!
 Andrew Vidikan P.E. >>

Dennis S. Wish PE

I remember during the City of Los Angeles Earthquake Retrofit in the mid to 
late 80's, the new code (the reviision to the Division 88 called RGA 1-91) 
was used constantly as a method of debate and learning by plan checkers and 
engineers alike. This was one of the best ways for us to understand all of 
the provisions of the code and to work out some of the inadequacies.
I would agree that this is going to have a major impact on our clients. I 
have not discussed a change in fee's with my clients but I have prepared them 
for the changes that will affect their clients. Most are trying to get into 
the plan check cycle before July of this year just to circumvent the changes.
I have not heard from Architects who are used to doing their own engineering 
but I suspect I'll pick up the work that they no longer feel confident doing. 
However, I am already resenting the fact that they will blame our profession 
for taking a market or income from their pockets. This is unfortunate - 
especially if they knew how many of us were arguing against the code. 
I understand Andrew's frustration and I sat in the same seminar last year 
where the majority in the room represented building departments. I don't 
think there is an easy way to accept this code without going through the pain 
of learning to apply it. 

Dennis S. Wish PE