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Re: Residential Plan Drawings

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Taking control of a project as an SE can escalate my fee from $800 to $4000+ on a medium sized residence.  In this part of the country, where paying $1000 to a "designer" for a set of plans is a luxury expense, the additional structural engineering overhead would certainly appear to be overkill.  This has recently happened for custom log homes in a neighboring county, where the head building official has declared that log homes, since they are not in the IRC, require a full set of sealed structural prints. This has led to several angry/reluctant clients, though luckily their anger was not directed at me.

I routinely engineer portions of residential projects which do not comply with the IRC (10' basements are just becoming popular in the upscale communities in my area).  I clearly state that only those portions of the residence detailed have been designed, and that the construction must otherwise comply with the IRC or IBC.   Usually, if the portion of the residence I'm designing relies on fasteners or special bars, I'll detail those too, but I'm not going to give collar tie details if I've been asked to design a basement.

At 01:41 PM 10/28/2004 -0700, you wrote:
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.
Jim Wilson
Stroudsburg, PA

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