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Re: Plan check

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A plan checker "can" do just about anything that they want to do.  In a
situation such as this, you may want to:

1) Find out if the plan checker is acting alone in the judgment, or if
it is a rule in a local jurisdiction.  Some jurisdictions may outlaw
certain types of construction or materials based on some bad experiences
that occurred locally.  That is perfectly reasonable and legal for the
jurisdiction to do.

2) Discuss it further with the plan checker.  Before trying anything
else, can you present additional documentation to the plan checker
showing that what you want to do will be safe and effective?  Is there a
research report or journal article that you could provide?  Have other
projects in the area successfully used the material?  Since you are
dealing with a material, the supplier's local representative will
probably be happy to supply you with information and references.  In
many cases, the plan checker just wants to see that you have thoroughly
thought out your design approach.

3) If reasoning with the plan checker fails, try appealing to the plan
checker's supervisor, or the building official in charge.  If you are
dealing with a large city (or even a small city that hired a large plan
checking firm), there may be a couple layers of management to carry
discussions through.  If you have some evidence that your design is good
(see item #2), this approach may be successful.  The plan checker should
be reminded that as the engineer of record, all of the liability is
yours and none is theirs in such a matter.  If you are dealing with a
small city using a small plan checking outfit, you may have little
recourse if item #2 fails.

4) As a last possible resort, you may want to talk to the developer.  If
they are influential within the local jurisdiction, they may be able to
exert their influence with the city.

Remember, if you completely satisfy the code, have a safe design, and do
not violate any local jurisdictions, then what you are trying to do is
not unreasonable, so do not be afraid to push a little.  In some cases,
though, success may not be possible.  Now and then, even the most
reasonable approach will be rejected, so having a back-up approach ready
is a good idea.

Paul Crocker



John Buchanan wrote:

> I have a general question regarding the plan
> checking.
>
> can a plan checker arbitrarily disallow a material
> from being used? The material is approved for use
> in the UBC and CBC. But the plan checker has
> decided not to allow the use of the material.
>
> john buchanan
>