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RE: Plan Checking

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The way I approach disputes as a plan reviewer is to get the opinions of
experts and forward them to the designer when there is a misunderstanding.
If the code is unclear then I accept the designers opinion unless it is
obviously wrong.  It is a matter of judgement based on the situation.  Some
reviewers have worse judgement than others just like some designers. Some
reviewers have worse interpersonal skills than others.  My tact as a
designer would be placation unless the reviewer is blatantly off the wall
and then I would try to make it seem like I was doing what they wanted even
if I wasn't.  

My recommendation would not be to butt heads with a reviewer you do not
like, respect ect... just get your permit and be done with it.  

For some background on the discretion of a "building offical" if you have
got a UBC Volume 1, read these:

UBC 203  "Building official is the officer or other designated authority
charged with the administration and enforcement of this code, or the
building official's duly authorized representative."

UBC 104.2.1 "The building official is hereby authorized and directed to
enforce all provisions of this code. ...  The building official shall have
the power to render interpretations of this code and to adopt and enforce
the rules and supplemental regulations to clarify the application of the
provisions."

UBC 104.2.7  "When there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out
the provisions of this code, the building official may grant modifications
for individual cases....."

UBC 103  "It shall be unlawful for any person ... any building or structure
... cause ... the same to be done in violation of this code."

UBC 106.4.3  The ... approval of plans, specifications and computations
shall not be construed to be ...an approval of any violation of the
provisions of this code... 

UBC 104.2.6 talks about building officials acting in good faith without
malice are  not liable and should be indemnified by the jurisdiction. UBC
104.2.8 talks about alternative materials-methods.  UBC 105.1 talks about
appealing decisions of building officials.



If you do not like a building officials decision you can always appeal it to
your local "building board".







Scott M Haan P.E.
Plan Review Engineer
Building Safety Division http://www.muni.org/building
Development Services Department
Municipality of Anchorage
phone:907-343-8183  fax:907-249-7399
mailto:haansm(--nospam--at)ci.anchorage.ak.us



-----Original Message-----
From: Sherman, William [mailto:ShermanWC(--nospam--at)cdm.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2001 10:38 AM
To: SeaInt Listserver (E-mail)
Subject: RE: Plan Checking


(Re-sent)
If engineers were all competent and never made mistakes, then plan checking
would not be a necessity. However, reality is that some engineers do not
produce designs fully in compliance with codes, and mistakes are made in
design or in construction detailing. If full design and drawing checking, as
well as peer review, are required on a project, then I would agree that
"Plan Checking" would be somewhat redundant. I consider some sort of
review/checking by someone other than the preparer to be essential for all
structural engineering. 
In general I agree with Bob Hanson's description of the primary purposes of
plan checking: "... 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." I feel that the EOR should have
their own checking system in place and should take responsibility for the
adequacy of the design; the Plan Checker should not need to do detailed
reviews of calculations, etc, unless specific concerns are encountered with
a design. And where there are differences of "opinion" rather than of
explicit code requirements, the EOR should make the final decisions. 
Stan Caldwell wrote: 
	The question should be, why is plan checking necessary anywhere?
When a licensed engineer seals his/her plans, he/she takes full
responsibility for their accuracy and completeness. Formal review by third
parties seems to me to be a perfect example of needless bureaucracy. 

William C. Sherman, PE
Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc.
Denver, CO
Phone: 303-298-1311
Fax: 303-293-8236
email: shermanwc(--nospam--at)cdm.com


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