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Re: Incompetent Plan Checker -- Was: Ceiling deflection damage caused by excessive snow - who  is responsible

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Hi Suresh!

If a plan reviewer didn't "catch" a minor or technical deficiency I would gently consider it to be an "error" or an "omission" or an "oversight."  But if a reviewer saw the number 20 psf listed as the snow load when s/he knew that the jurisdiction required 45 psf I would have to consider that "incompetence."  After all, it could result in collapse of a roof, not a minor thing. 

And I agree that relatively modestly educated reviewers should not be expected to notice technical violations, but shouldn't they, for instance, notice that a submittal proposes a three-story building where only two-story structures are permitted?  Sorry to be so blunt, but I really do feel that not noticing something being over 50% off on an item as cut-and-dried as the design snow load has to be considered incompetence.


In a message dated 3/5/05 11:05:47 PM, struct(--nospam--at) writes:

Rhkratzse(--nospam--at) wrote:

In a message dated 3/5/05 11:28:50 AM, Jnapd(--nospam--at) writes:

The snow load up there is 45 psf........
not all plan checks catch this....  I have seen some go through with none and 20 psf
deppends who plan checks the job.

Isn't this called incompetence?  What's the use of having a building department if they don't catch something as basic--and serious--as this?

Ralph Hueston Kratz, S.E.
Richmond CA UsA

Ralph -
How about using a gentle word such as "Error" or "Omission" instead of "incompetence" -:)

The fact is that majority of building departments do not have engineers in their staff, including the chief building official. As long as the structural plans and calculations bear engineer's or architect's stamp, they assume plans and calcs were prepared by a COMPETENT engineer or archtiect, do not open the calcs and may issue permit over the counter.  Minimum qualification for plan checkers is graduation from high school + some sort of training on fire and life safety issues. If their bosses ask them to check structural calcs, I would hesitate to call them incompetence. If the project was sent to a outside plan checking firm, and it happened to be a P.E. or S.E. who did the plan checking, then you could probably call him/her imcompetent.

Suresh Acharya, S.E.
Richmond, CA