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RE: Residential Plan Drawings

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I used to work in an area of the country where even residential structures
were fully designed.  In the last year I have moved to an area where that
isn't so.  Many architects (and "designers") don't want a fully engineered
project and the plan reviewers for the most part don't require it. Since the
higher priority to the architects is getting the building permit and not a
fully engineered structure many times they will take their plans to the
reviewers and then only ask that the reviewer's comments be taken care of.
Now I know that is crazy as h***, but that is the way it's been done here
for a long time, and changing the established attitudes just doesn't happen
over night.  The plan reviewers are not engineers and not architects so they
let many residential projects go through by the conventional provisions even
if the project may not conform to the requirements of conventional
construction provisions.  My biggest gripe with the codes relating to the
conventional provisions is an extreme lack of clarity as to what can be
constructed using the provisions.  For instance, in a non-seismic area what
is considered (by the code) an unusually shaped structure?  By the way, I
have the same complaint with the ASCE wind provisions.  No definition of
unusual.

The bottom line is in some locations you have to be willing to do what Jim
is suggesting (at least while you try to educate, a very slow process) or
you will starve out very quickly, because "Brand X" engineering will do it.

Joseph R. Grill, PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Ben Yousefi [mailto:ben-yousefi(--nospam--at)ci.santa-monica.ca.us] 
Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2004 3:39 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Residential Plan Drawings

Although conceptually allowed by the code (2308.4 of 2003 IBC) designing
portions of building while the rest is conventional construction is a
slippery slope. Differentiating the scope of work that you are responsible
for, and the remaining portions becomes a challenging task, which from a
legal standpoint may be difficult to defend. 

We normally don't see a mixture of design, it's either conventional or
engineered.

Ben Yousefi, SE
Santa Monica, CA

>>> wilson engineers(--nospam--at)yahoo.com 10/28/04 12:41PM >>>
I am curious what level of effort you feel necessary when preparing and/or
reviewing residential design plans.  This is a new topic of conversation in
these parts where the international codes are just coming into effect.
 
As mentioned here before, the IRC falls short in prescribing a lot of
structural information.  Once an EOR touches a set of plans, do they become
resonsible for filling in ALL of the missing details?  Being new to this
game, I am worried that I am not doing that.  But if I detail things like
soil compaction %, special rebar details and nail patterns in typical
framing conditions, builders are going to think I'm crazy.  And inspectors
are going to have a feast on the contractors who don't comply.
 
It seems like there should be a middle of the road.  Can an engineer
legitimately design the portions of the structure that really need it, such
as load carrying components and roof beams, and leave it at that?  Is it
okay to add a general note on the drawings that says something like "Areas
of work not specifically addressed on these plans must meet (prescriptive)
requirements of the current IRC and requirements of the local building
official."
 
I appreciate that those of you in seismic and high wind country have to go
the extra mile, but in this neck of the woods, these details seem overkill.
And who is going to pay several thousand dollars to have all of this work
done?
 
Opinions and experiences greatly appreciated.
 
Thanks,
Jim Wilson
Stroudsburg, PA

		
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