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Ben wrote:

        Actually the Hyatt disaster is a great example of how plan check
could have possibly averted the disaster. The failure occurred when the
fabricator decided to revise the tie rod connection to the tube steel beams
that supported the walkway, on his own, and it apparently didn't catch the
eyes of anyone in Jack Gillum's (EOR) office. Let's assume this would occur
somewhere on the west coast where you have a semi-decent building department
with competent inspectors and plan checkers. The inspector would immediately
send the contractor downtown to get the revised detail approved by the plan
checker. This has been the protocol in all the California jurisdictions that
I have worked at. 

This is not fair!  Now your injecting "city inspectors" into the picture.  East of the Rockies, we encounter these inspectors about as often as we encounter plan checkers (which is to say, not very often).  This includes Kansas City, where we recently completed a big project.  Quality control is usually provided by an independent testing laboratory working directly for the owner.  The EOR receives the laboratory reports and processes them much like shop drawings.  The EOR also typically makes a few site visits to observe the construction in progress.  

        Another good example of the role plan check can play is the Cal Sate
Northridge Parking garage. The huge garage utilized precast concrete moment
frames on the perimeter for the resisting lateral loads with no interior
lateral force resisting elements. The plan checker on the project raised
serious concerns during the review and would not approve the project. (all
of this is documented in a great article published after Northridge
earthquake in the LA Times) Eventually his boss (the manager of the plan
check firm hired by the Cal State Northridge) under pressure form the
university, approved the plans himself. Everyone knows what happened to that
building. We are lucky the quake happened at 5:00 when there was nobody in
the building.
I believe that you just described a plan checking failure!

        Also, I am amazed that someone who apparently is so sure of his work
and his track record (by the tread of emails I have read from Stan) would
object to a second set of eyes looking at his work. I personally would
welcome such a check and balance. None of us are that good that we can claim
we never make mistakes and are the ultimate authority on what we do.
According to the law in every state, the EOR is the ultimate authority on his/her own work.  Would you actually propose that this liability be shifted to some plan check technician or engineer?
Confident Stan
Once I was wrong, but then I was mistaken.