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Re: Plan check overview

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Bob Hansen wrote:

As a result I will say that I have been discouraged with the profession and
it is not the
> people who are reading this who are at fault.  I would sign and stamp
about
> 1 in 10 of the plans I see on first review and some I would never stamp.
> Sure they work but cheeze. I have to a certain extent lost faith in
people.


This is unfortunate, but sadly true.  I have had a similar opportunity over
the last few years.  Part of our practice is the design build of specialty
steel structures (the stuff the EOR typically indicates as "by others",
domes, arches, pyramids, arches and vaults, architectural stairs, etc.) in
partnership with a steel fabricator.  In performing this work I have had the
opportunity to review many many different engineers construction documents.
Some are outstanding, but frequently I walk away disgusted with the lack of
information, lack of detailing, lack of coordination, and simple lack of
quality or care.  Some, more frequently than I would have ever believed, are
so bad I would be embarrassed to have my name associated with them.  These
are "for construction" drawings that would not be considered preliminary in
our office.

Interestingly enough, the work from smaller offices tends to be some of the
best.  Some (not all) of the worst examples I have had to deal with have
been by the firms I considered elite or prestigious large firms.  My
perceptions towards my industry have definitely changed over time.
Sometimes these are projects for which we were not selected as EOR because
we were too expensive, which I find amusing when I see the end product.

To go a step further, I had the opportunity to have a candid conversation
with an engineer from one of these competing firms who I generally regard as
producing crap but who routinely "wins" when we issue competing proposals.
Over the course of a round of golf, it was explained to me that procuring
the project with a low fee and issuing drawings as fast as possible
regardless of quality and lack of coordination was SOP.  They make their
money on "changes" to the "completed" work, either as the other design
professionals define conflicts with their requirements or in the field.
Since I am unwilling to operate this way, I will have to accept that they
will continue to "win" projects.

I don't believe this is typical.  I am not sure of all the reasons why the
quality of our profession suffers.  Are modern technologies disassociating
the design engineer from the end product?  Are we allowing ourselves to be
pushed so hard on schedule that we fail to perform the reviews and checks
necessary? Are the Architects failing in their role as design coordinators?
Are young engineers inadequately trained on the importance of proper
detailing and construct-ability? The best calcs and design in the world are
meaningless if the information is not properly conveyed on the drawings.

I believe this is one of the reasons that I enjoy this list so much, the
people I encounter have opinions to share and care about what we do.  It
restores my faith.

Paul Feather


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