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Re: Plan Checking

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In a perfect world with perfect plans there would be nothing for structural
plan checkers to do.  Here's a plug for the other side of the story.

Since most structural engineers in the business are in it to make a living,
and not just to pursue a hobby, economics and the local markets are a factor
in the quality of work produced.  This is true to varying degrees, and may
or may not be balanced by other factors relating to things like conscience,
integrity, and concern or lack thereof about getting "caught".  The whole
thing seems to be exacerbated by the observation that fees generally seem to
be less than they were 20 years ago.

This seems to lead in many cases to a lower standard of work, in quality,
code compliance, and completeness, with the plan checker in the role of
"filling the gap".  We all have our war stories, I've seen sealed drawings
for public buildings where the roofs were not even connected to the walls,
by details or notes or anything else.  I've seen things with PE stamps that
shouldn't have gotten past a first semester student of engineering
mechanics.  No plan check.

So at one end of the spectrum, if the engineer is willing to do whatever
he/she can "get away with", the plan checker does seem to be providing a
role in the best interest of the public, that otherwise may be a large gap.
Or another way of saying it is that the playing field is very non-level,
licensing alone is not going to fix it, the "market" is not going to fix it,
and in some cases the plan checker is the only one who seems to "care".

Mark D. Anderson PE

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Hanson" <Bobh(--nospam--at)>
To: "seaint list" <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 9:49 AM
Subject: Plan Checking

> List,
> What or where is the line on what a structural plan check is supposed to
> provide. I have seen plan checks that check nearly nothing and the
> is "you are stamping the drawings not me" to the far end of spell check.
> Does ICBO have a standard of performance? My view is plan check should try
> to catch gross errors, point to code sections that may not have been
> considered, and verify that there is enough information or quality into
> documents to provide life safety and for the inspector to spot items of
> importance. If the EOR differs in his opinion on code sections we have a
> dilemma.  I think for the most part that a plan checker can not master all
> the materials and all the structure types nor be a master
> draftsperson/spelling checker. I feel it is the EOR with his nitch who
> should know every code item related to his submittal. If the EOR has a
> problem with what is required in the code he should not look to shoot the
> messenger.  In the case of a dilemma, or in the case of the EOR not
> compliance is required(blatant items excepted) I think the EOR should be
> control. Opinions?
> Bob Hanson, S.E.

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