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RE: Special inspection and masonry allowables

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Plan checkers level the playing field for engineers.  Without them the
incompetents would be sucking the life out of the profession.  Admittedly
having someone review and comment on your baby can bruise an engineer's
oversized ego but it can also save their butt when they did not do an
adequate back check on their work.   

There are a engineering offices that will argue tooth and nail in written
responses that a plan reviewer is full of crap or that no change is required
on plans but when you turn to the resubmitted plan sheet or revised
calculation page and behold a change has occurred.  I am sure they are
giggling like school girls while they are writing the responses.  

My recommendation to people I know is to always maintain a courteous positive
working relationship with your local building department.  If you demonstrate
to them that you know your stuff, use them as a resource, and let them use
you as a learning tool then they will go the extra mile to help you get your
permits approved.

-----Original Message-----
From: Honles, Thomas [mailto:Thomas.Honles(--nospam--at)ladwp.com] 
Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2005 10:51 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Special inspection and masonry allowables

In addition to checking the structural design of a submitted plan, plan
checkers
are also required to check other building code requirements that are the
responsibility
of the architect, mechanical, or electrical engineer. I've spent many an hour
hashing
out plan check issues alongside an architect, waiting for my turn to respond
to
structural questions. It is not surprising to me that in the face of checking
disabled access requirements, zoning requirements, architectural clearances
and
dimensions, occupancy issues, fire safety requirements, ad infinitem, that
the
plan checker is reluctant to deviate from the letter of the building code for
structural issues. 

Best regards,

Thomas Honles, SE, PE
Los Angeles, CA

P.S. 
Good stuff comes out of Texas.
Does that stuffed newspaper CMU infill have an ICBO approval number
I can put in the general notes? That's quite a dead load reduction...
a good thing in earthquake country... ;-)

-----Original Message-----
From: Gerard Madden, SE [mailto:gmadden(--nospam--at)maddengine.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2005 11:31 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Special inspection and masonry allowables


I think it's called "green" building technology :)

-gm

-----Original Message-----
From: Haan, Scott M POA [mailto:Scott.M.Haan(--nospam--at)poa02.usace.army.mil]
Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2005 11:26 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Special inspection and masonry allowables

I don't understand the Texan logic.  How can a rational design
demonstrate
that newspaper stuffed in CMU cells to save on grout is conservative?

-----Original Message-----
From: Polhemus, Bill [mailto:Bill.Polhemus(--nospam--at)tysonet.tyson.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2005 10:18 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Special inspection and masonry allowables

-----Original Message-----
From: Honles, Thomas [mailto:Thomas.Honles(--nospam--at)ladwp.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2005 10:53 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Special inspection and masonry allowables

If rational engineering demonstrates that the resulting design is as
conservative or more conservative than what the code prescribes, then it
is not that difficult to convince the building official.
-----/Original Message-----

I must be fair, here.

In my experience in Houston and vicinity, an engineer's seal is all
that's needed to pass muster. The building official, plan checker,
what-have-you, will approve essentially anything "structural" with an
engineer's seal on it.

I was speaking out of turn in my comment, basing it on the accounts
given here by others of "arguments" with esp. plan checkers over the
adequacy of designs. Since they are given authority to accept or reject
apparently based on their understanding as non-engineers, it isn't
surprising that we've read several accounts here of frustrating
encounters by structural engineers with these dedicated public servants.

In many instances, as I've understood it, it has come down to the
CHECKER'S understanding of the building code requirements, rather than
the engineer's. As our unofficial SEAINT poet-laureate, Mr. Lutz, has
said, these tales have left me with "my head spinning, slightly bent,
from wonder-ing and wonder-ment..."

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