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RE: STANDARD PRACTICE/ Plan Checking

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I don't think Stan was implying that his work was perfect or didn't need a
second review.  He indicated that a plan check was not done by the code
officials on the calculations at every location.

My guess is that any calcs prepared by him or his office are checked by a
second individual (or more) prior to leaving his office.  At least that is
how we do it at my office.  Every building, regardless of size or cost, is
checked by a second person.  With the sealing engineer's approval also
(typically a third set of eyes, but at least a second set).  Calcs (formal
in most cases) are prepared even if the builder/owner/officials never want a
copy.  But then again review your PE licensing regulations... don't think
calcs are legally required to even be done... hope most of us don't work
that way but there is nothing illegal about using "engineering judegment"
for everything...  just hope that if you ever have to back it up in court
you can find some methods, papers, research, or calcs that agree with you.

I think anyone who relies upon the code check official to go through their
calculations in detail and catch each and every error is just fooling
themselves.  They are typically allotted a small portion of time to check
the building with relation to the time it takes to design a building.  No
way they can catch all significant errors... we are all human.

I agree with Stan on the Hyatt disaster... who says the plan checker
wouldn't have blindly ok'd it like the EOR (or whomever signed off on it)
did.

Seems like this list is always full of complaints regarding code officials
that are not engineers... if they are not engineers or likewise experienced
in the materials used in the design then how would they be qualified to
check the design??? Especially from computerized calcs, every look at a
structural analysis package print out... trying looking at the output of the
same models on 4 or 5 different software packages, chances are that they all
look different...  I personally have sent out calcs that were a few hundred
pages long... Since I don't re-read all of my past designs everyday it might
take me weeks to find an old error in the calcs that I had prepared (if for
some weird reason I was asked to review an old project)... let along spend a
day or two and catch all of the errors on someone else's million square foot
building.  My guess is that most officials probably "code check" more
buildings per week than the average consulting firm designs in a week with
far less personnel.

As you stated with the Cal State parking garage... not even Good ole'
California Plan Checking catches everything... no offsense intended to
California Engineers or code officials :o)

Besides, if it is not legally required and you send the code official the
drawings and 200 pages of calcs who says he will even look at the calcs
anyway?

I personally have nothing against plan checking, except for the occasional
out of the blue comment that has little to no significance but it most of
the US calcs may not be required for submittal for permits.  

My $.03 worth,
Greg Effland, P.E.
KC MO 

home of the Hyatt disaster :0(   ... sorry Stan couldn't come up with as
good of a tag line


-----Original Message-----
From: Yousefi, Ben [mailto:Ben.Yousefi(--nospam--at)ci.sj.ca.us]
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2001 12:54 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
Subject: RE: STANDARD PRACTICE/ Plan Checking


Stan Caldwell wrote

	
	"The Hyatt disaster also had nothing to do with the lack of
calculation submittals.  It was primarily the result of very poor project
communications, particularly regarding the shop drawing review and change
order request processes.  The EOR presented his perspective on this to SEAoT
earlier this year."

	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. Heck, we sometimes get people back in the office who have
changed the raised floor framing to a slab on grade on a single family
dwelling! A revision of the magnitude that occurred at Hyatt most likely
would have had to go through the plan checker.

	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.

	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.

	Ben Yousefi, SE
	San Jose, CA




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