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RE: Residential Plan Drawings

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Good points about the PEMB's.  But on that note, if a building can be designed without knowing what type of foundation is going under it, isn't that akin to designing a foundation without knowing what type of soil is under the site?  <That was a rhetorical thought>
I suppose it all comes down to covering liability.  Whether I attach a letter stating what I did and didn't design, add notes to the drawings, etc, its only as good as the lawyer that is going to defend me...  I guess I had better start drafting up some WFCM details.
Small commercial buildings are as big a problem as residential buildings.  Until a couple of months ago, architects around here did much of their projects entirely by themselves.  I just overheard one rattle off "wl^2/8" in conversation today.  So as architect's begin to sub out engineering work, its tough to tell them that a 5000 sf single-story wood building that is the same as a single story house, except for the usage, is going to cost $4000 to design and detail.  (Its hard to argue that its worth $1500)  And it is hard to justify all of the work going into detailing standard framing details.  Yet something still has to be put on paper...
So as you suggest, maybe its legit enough to mention that typical framing details, non-load bearing walls and foundation details, e.g., shall be in accordance with WFCM, ACI, etc. standards.  Then detail load bearing wall headers, roof trusses, and so forth in darker print and clarify that those are the "engineered" areas.  A cursory review of the other building components would of course be essential.  This might be a sticky and risky way to do business, but its a growing part of the local engineering market and it can't be ignored.
Jim Wilson, PE
Stroudsburg, PA

"Jason W. Kilgore" <jkilgore(--nospam--at)> wrote:
All of our rare new-build custom single-family residential projects are
fully engineered (full plans and details), and our fee is part of the
architect's expense. But they are usually HIGHLY customized and way outside
the IRC's scope.

I'd have to think a bit before taking a project where the entirety of my
involvement consisted of writing a letter and sketching a few details in
response to code-review comments. This assumes that the reviewer catches
ALL the items requiring engineering. If he/she missed something, and you
don't check the entire structure yourself, then your stamp on the drawings
is a huge liability. Also, I HATE working with a client who sees me as an
unnecessary expense that is only needed to get a permit.

However, "engineering" a portion of the structure is different. Look at the
Pre-Engineered Metal Building industry. The PEMB drawings clearly state
that they take no responsibility for the foundation, and the engineer hired
to design foundation doesn't have to take liability for the PEMB.

Ultimately, the gist of this rambling post is that I see nothing wrong with
a partially engineered residence, as long as you are on-board from the start
and review the ENTIRE structure for compliance with IRC provisions. You
would design all non-complying items (tall walls, long beams, etc.) and show
this on your plans and details. Clearly note that the rest of the structure
is to comply with the IRC. Also, clearly indicate (using thinner or shaded
lines, for example) the areas you did not design.

Jason Kilgore
Leigh & O'Kane, LLC
Kansas City, Missouri

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