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RE: How about a private listservice for Plan Check Engineers?

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Thanks for the response Ben. I've been doing plan review on a contracted
bases for almost seven years now. I have to admit that with the enforcement
of the 97 code it I feel that I have to go back to school. I spent a great
deal of time developing the spreadsheet software that I donated to SEAOC -
still, the analysis that I receive from other engineers looks foreign most
of the time.
My biggest complaint is that the engineer does not organize his calculations
in a manner that would allow anyone other than himself to follow the
continuity. I spend on an average of two hours or more just to get the hang
of what he is doing.
Worse yet, in most cases there is no coordination with the drawings. On a
custom home with a lot of irregularities, I can barely follow his load paths
and the calc's are not clearly coordinated with the plans (with gridlines).
The other issue is one of compliance. I receive a number of in-house
spreadsheet based programs that spit out numbers, but there is generally no
example calc or means to tell if the numbers are valid. In one case today,
the calc's were well laid out, but in the shearwall analysis the engineer
had a width on the panel of 3.5' and a height of 7' - however, in the
rigidity analysis he used 3.5' and 10' for the wall. I figured that since he
did not justify the height of the wall as supported by a window or door
header, that he fudged the calc's so as not to tip off the excessive aspect

Something simple like beam calc's often have numbers but don't explain where
the number originate. I've been taught from school to clearly define my
variables and I am now 50 years old and still make a readable set of calc's.

I've been advised to pay more attention to load path on the drawings rather
than the engineers numbers but I feel that I should be looking closely at
everything and demanding on the engineer to clarify his work.

What do you think?


PS: Ben, Your in San Jose - right?  I have a project there that I need some
advice on regarding the Structural Observation requirements. One of the plan
check corrections included a form that you require to be signed by the
owner, architect and contractor. I appears to inform everyone of the
observation requirements on the project. Do you know if we are suppose to
add the information from this form to our general notes in addition to the
notes we already have regarding observation requirements.

The project is in the Oakridge Mall - The Children's Place. Our client is
the Tricarico Group out of New Jersey and the plans bear my name and my
partner Greg Riley PE. We have designed the soffit at the store entry. Greg
is handling the plan check questions, but the project manager faxed each of
us the corrections. I was unclear on this one and thought I might as if you
knew what was expected.

The only other thing I could think was that the form needed to be signed as
indicated and returned to the city. If this is the case, can the Architect
sign as agent for the owner since it is a retail chain of stores?

Let me know if you can advise me on this one.

Regards again,

-----Original Message-----
From: Yousefi, Ben [mailto:Ben.Yousefi(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 2:40 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject: RE: How about a private listservice for Plan Check Engineers?

Excellent suggestion Dennis.

Now you know what we have to go through! Although I wouldn't trade this for
any other job. Anyway, even if a separate list were not approved, I would
post the questions on this list. I think many people might find the
discussions appealing.

Ben Yousefi, SE
San Jose, CA

	-----Original Message-----
	From:	SEConsultant [SMTP:seconsultant(--nospam--at)]
	Sent:	Tuesday, February 29, 2000 1:36 PM
	To:	seaint(--nospam--at)
	Cc:	Don Gilbert; Shafat Qazi; Brian Cochran
	Subject:	How about a private listservice for Plan Check

	This is only a suggestion....

	I have been doing some contract plan review lately and have found it
	increasingly difficult to follow the approaches of many of the
engineers who
	are submitting projects. I would like to know if there are enough
	out there who would like to start a new List to discuss some of the
	that arise in plan review. All submittals are considered private so
	questions will need to be general to protect the engineer or firm
who has
	submitted the work. The purpose is to accumulate opinions that will
	each of use do our job in the most efficient manner possible.

	I am sending a copy of this to SEAOSC board of directors and to
Shafat Qazi
	so that we can determine how much interest there is.

	Dennis S. Wish, PE
	Structural Engineering Consultant
	(208) 361-5447 E-Fax