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RE: Plan Check

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Title: Plan Check

Gerard, thanks for the reply, 

In this case the designer just happened to also be an architect.  And yes I was asking if it was okay to tell the owner the solutions rather than having the designer charge her to get the solutions.


-----Original Message-----
From: Gerard Madden, SE [mailto:gmadden(--nospam--at)]
Tuesday, October 21, 2003 5:09 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Plan Check


My fee includes plan check response when the project is a fixed fee and usually when it’s hourly. I cannot justify to a client why they have to pay more for something that is supposed to be “Correct” in the first place. If I know I’m doing a project in an area where the plan checking is problem, I will adjust my fee accordingly at the beginning. If I don’t know anything about the jurisdiction, I will learn the hard way on the first try. I assume they are reasonable.


My biggest pet peeve that used to occur is the “2nd Plan Check” that 1 particular 3rd party entity in the bay area used to have a habit of generating. The second plan check would come up with completely new items that weren’t in the first letter. This is so infuriating. This is when I would ask for more money from the client.


They get 1 plan check response. If I don’t get it right on the first response, I do not charge. But I can’t keep going in circles when someone get’s their evil streak going and mentions new items. Each time drawings get printed and time is wasted.


I think your actions were appropriate. You said Architect, then “Designer”. I would hope the “Designer” is not really charging 200/hr. Architect, perhaps, but not “Designer”. If a stamp or seal is involved in the drawing, the owner cannot change the drawings without authorization.


Making a layperson understand what needs to change is not stepping over your authority. I call it doing your job. I do this everyday. I try to make people understand why certain things are required, and try to explain it as simply as I can. You can tell them what needs fixing, maybe I’m mis-understanding what you mean. I think you were saying was it okay to tell the owner the solutions rather than having the designer charge her to get the solutions - right?



Lodi, CA


-----Original Message-----
From: Schwan, Martin K. [mailto:SchwanMK(--nospam--at)]
Tuesday, October 21, 2003 5:49 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Plan Check


So what I gather so far is the people who subscribe to this list are dedicated professionals…I agree

Can someone please tell me how to help the owner/builder who pays a design professional for a set of drawings and calculations then cannot get any help to address their review comments???  If I help them (remember I am the plan reviewer) or direct them to the proper solution (and my goal is to help them get their permit) am I liable for any future failures?  This came up this week…the client called to ask for help on my review comments because the architect wanted to charge her $200/hour to address 12 review comments.  I asked her if she paid the designer in full…yes she did.  I asked her for what did they agree upon…drawings and calculations she said.  I told her it is between her and the designer and I cannot get caught in the middle. But I suggested to her (and to several people) pay half and the other half upon receipt of permit.  Then I told her to come in and we can work out some of the comments.  We worked out all but 4 and perhaps it’ll take less then an hour for the architect to complete.  Do you think this is fair?  Do you think I overstepped my authority?  I believe in fair compensation to the designer but wouldn’t you think the fee should include answering review comments?  And exclude change orders, field changes, and extras after the permit is issued.  Just wondering where to draw the line…Martin