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RE: STANDARD PRACTICE - Late response

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Glenn
Let us put some thing in prespective.  As far as plan check engineers
reviewing your plans and calculations, you ought to be thankfull for a
service that could actually be regarded as the cheapest insurance you have
to have a pair of eyes look over your calculations.  Having ssid that, let
me say, I have been a plan checker for over 16 years and have been licensed
for over 14 years and could not begin to tell you that there are the ranks
of 1 through 10  on the kind of work that is submitted to building
departments.  Where your work set on the scale is  a subjective issue and
unless you have had the chance to see some horrible designs and mistakes
you would not appreciate the work of a good plan checker.  I have to tell
you that I had the previllage to see some work from really strong offices
with names and image far more than many of us can attain and still found
some serious mistakes, errors in plans, drafting mistakes and misreferenced
details.  The question then goes back to your earlier verse of the doctors
performing work on you. I bet you would have a hell of time sleeping if you
knew that the doctor performing asurgery on you the next day, is just a
fresh garaduate and this is the first time he is doing the procedure.  Is
in it true.  Well, my perception in every occupation or profession is that
there are those who do not come up to the standards regardless of their
certificates that hang on the wall.  If you don't believe me try plan
checking for few years and you will understand.  
To wrap up,  I know by previous posts on this list server, there are lot
you who have had a bad experience with plan checkers.  I do not disagree,
the old school of thought was to name a plan checker or a plan check
engineer any body who passed the ICBO plans examiner test.  As much as I
would agree that this does not make any body a plan checker, look at ICBO
web site and see what the cities and coundties are seeking and you would
understand.  I think it is the structural engineers association and all
engineers practicing  should make it an effort to demand cities performing
plan check on structural items to employ engineers not just ICBO certified
plans examiners.  I do not disregard the fact that non-engineering plan
checkers can still perform the life and safety  and Handicap compliance
issues which I contend not the issue with most practicing engineers on this
list.
Just for an example, I had once an engineer who when asked to submit
lateral analysis on a two stories 3000 sq. ft. custom  home write back om
the plan check comments,  " Lateral analysis is okay by inspection.  No
calc's required".  I will never forget that..
Samir Ghosn, P.E.
Harris & Associates
Plan Check consultant
At 07:53 PM 6/14/2001 -0400, you wrote:
>1.  The only thing plan checkers/ building officials should check on our
>designs is our design criteria input, i.e. wind speed, live loads, seismic
>level, etc.  If our criteria meets the building code, that's it.  Our PE
>seal goes on the contract documents and makes us responsible.  Does the
>building official put his seal on it?  Are they even qualified to check our
>calcs?  Did we run a calc on the brick lintel or did you use your table you
>developed years ago?  Why bother with an intern period, a licensing test,
>and a seal on a drawing if you can't trust/blame us later?  Calcs and
>drawings should be checked in house where the responsibility and the
>qualifications resides.
>
>2.  If you did calcs, but your building fails anyway, you go to court and
>say "my calcs say it didn't fall", does that mean you're not guilty?
>
>3.  Emergency room doctors should submit a procedure and basis for their
>diagnosis to the city and to the patient before proceeding.  If we just
>depend on their education, residency, passing the board or whatever how can
>we assure against them making a mistake?
>
>
>Glenn C. Otto, P.E.
>LIBERTY ENGINEERING, P.C.
>Virgnia Beach, VA
>"The opinions of the undersigned do not necessarily reflect those of the
>management."
>
>
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