Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: Plan Checking

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
I can't answer the question about minimum ICBO standards for plan review but
would like to address the issue related to a dilemma when it occurs. The
engineer who checks your plan is, I would hope, as professional in his
approach as you have been. A conflict in code interpretation can and does
occur fairly often. It is not a question, in my opinion, as to whether or
not you are willing to take responsibility for your design decision, but one
of whether or not your interpretation is consistent with the code writer's.
The plan reviewer is the enforcement agency but this is not to suggest that
they can wield the power of their authority unfairly. It is often the case
where I and others have compromised because the argument was simply not
important enough to waste valuable time to argue on principle. Other times,
I have asked for a hearing (in front of a panel) and have walked away
feeling equally frustrated, but more often satisfied that I was able to
justify my interpretation to the satisfaction of the professionals on the
It needn't end there either - as you can return with more support from
within the industry by seeking the help of those who were directly involved
in the code process and who are considered "experts" in the industry. While
I don't wish to question the knowledge of the support you receive from ICBO
in a phone call, my experience has been that the ICBO employee was
regurgitating the written ambiguity rather than answering my question. If
posted to this List, it was likely that an answer would come from an
engineer at AISC, ACI, SEAOC seismology committee etc.  You can present a
thread from this list to help you prove your point.

The bottom line is the safety of the public due to the interpretation you
place on the code. There is a secondary ethical issue as it relates to
engineers who wish not to penalize their clients for issues in the code
which is stated poorly, in error, or which has had subsequent review and a
change in policy that is not published in the code. If the plan reviewer is
doing his or her job properly, they won't consider this an attack against
their intelligence any more than you considered their staunch position as a
power trip. It is best to approach the stalemate as strong opinions based on
professional reasoning with the goal to correct the misinterpretation for
the safety of the public and the protection of your client.

Dennis S. Wish, PE
>  -----Original Message-----
> From: 	Bob Hanson [mailto:Bobh(--nospam--at)] 
> Sent:	Wednesday, May 02, 2001 10:49 AM
> To:	seaint list
> 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
> response 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 the 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
> feeling compliance is required(blatant items excepted) I think the EOR
> should be in control. Opinions?
> Bob Hanson, S.E.

<<attachment: winmail.dat>>