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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    9,252

    Default Re: Submitting plans to building safety department at your city or county

    I am quickly learning the same thing - everything for our Helical piers is stamped, 3rd party tested and approved in many jurisdictions across the world and country.

    They (the engineering department) came back with a series of questions which I have no problem answering but it is all little odd; especially when I am looking at the similar products being installed (sono tubes and mini piles) with far less scrutiny and much poorer results.

    I will say that they have been very helpful and supportive, it just seems the bar has been set much higher these days for what every reason....
    “Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”
    Abraham J. Heschel (Jewish theologian and philosopher, 1907-1972)

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Submitting plans to building safety department at your city or county

    cannot imagine waiting as long as Dick is saying it takes to get a permit. Some of my customers would have just moved on to another location or something by the time the permit would be issued.
    Here it is pretty easy except that what is called St Louis where I work is the city of St Louis, the county of St Louis and about 80 different municipalities. More and more of the little cities are going with the county rules but at least 5 that I work in with any frequency still do all or part of their own inspections and plan review. This is what gets confusing to me but about the most I have ever been delayed is 30 days or so waiting for the volunteer committee of the planning and zoning review to have their monthly meetings. You just have to hope that you do not submit the plans in December which is when many of the cities make the employees use up all their vacation days or lose them. our city is suddenly without a reviewer or inspector for a week or so because of that.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: Submitting plans to building safety department at your city or county

    I have only built 3 new homes. The last was my parents. Their house is about 4500 square feet. I dropped the plans and application for permit off at the building department. By the time I got home (30 minutes), there was a message to pick up the permit-$125.00.

    Last year their house had 11 trees on the roof. Called the building department after I had the trees lifted and the home covered. "I need a permit to fix my parents roof"----"that their home over on 8th Av.?"-----"Yep"----"Looks bad, sorry for what happen, $30.00 for the reroof permit, just fix what ever it needs. We won't require any more permits. Want me to drop it off on my way home?"---"Thanks, but my dad wants to go for a ride he'll pick it up."

    Last deck permit in another municipality, 1 day-$129.00.

    Not sure I would jump through the hoops some of you have to.

    Tom
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Submitting plans to building safety department at your city or county

    I know it is a different subject but I do find it troubling that I get such grief sometimes when applying for a permit but the inspector who shows up never has a set of plans with him, almost never asks for my set that is on site. I am not talking about building a house or large structure. Talking about decks, porches, basement remodels or kitchen and bath remodels. Last one the inspector showed up to inspect the holes for the concrete piers, had to borrow my tape measure to check the holes. Measured one, said you doing them all like that and signed off.

    I guess the thinking is if the building department guys passed the plans then it must be alright.

    Like Tom, if I had to jump thru hoops I don't know if I could or would do it.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Submitting plans to building safety department at your city or county

    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    Our permit department will take a stamped set of plans, do a full review with say 25 comments. You reply to those comments (they are usually related to hold downs, load paths, and framing member locations). Then they shoot back 15 comments again. Then you reply. Next round you get 10 comments. This is on an addition, not even a full house. Time period for this is 2 months or more to get a permit for an addition.

    The things they are reviewing are also height, easements, set backs, zoning issues, driveways, etc. But also they look at all the engineering again and want to have all the calculations "proved".

    The most frustrating part is, most of our plans reviewers are not engineers. They are just plans reviewers reviewing stamped plans. This is crazy. I thought after 15 years things would get better, but instead they continue to degrade with excessive comments and time wasting by reviewers that have no idea of what they are looking at.

    Our builders are complaining that they can build 50 of the same house every year and get different comments on every set of plans from the same reviewer! They city's reply is, they are just getting better at reviewing plans!

    WOW. Bureaucracy at it's finest.

    Here I usually pay $1000-$2000 for a new construction permit that includes plan review, zoning review, flood plain review, enumeration review. The permit covers the building, electrical, mechanical and all the inspections. They will usually reinspect a failure for free if it is reasonable. If they have to come out twice because you weren't ready for them or did something stupid, they'll charge $50 for a trip fee.

    My engineer stamps the plans "structural only" and the building department doesn't look twice at his work. They review the height restrictions, occupancy, set backs, zoning and HVAC.

    Back in the good old days, you know, 2006, it could take 3 or 4 weeks. Now it's usually less than a week.

    In certain areas the fire department reviews the plans for fire safety, and they don't mind taking their time. Usually a couple of weeks at least.

    I don't have to answer any questions very often, maybe a simple question every 3rd or 4th time. HVAC gets the most questions.

    Stacey and some of you CA guys have way more patience than I do.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    SF Bay Area (East Bay)
    Posts
    2,357

    Default Re: Submitting plans to building safety department at your city or county

    I wish Berkeley had checked the engineer's work better on the seismic job I'm currently on. Engineer missed all kinds of stuff, left out overturning-load transfer in one critical shear wall, spec'd 6" SDS screws through 3.5" of blocking and plate, etc. etc.

    And he's apparently being a d.b. about his errors. At least, that's what the client says. The client will wear out your patience though, so it's a little hard to judge that one, but the original errors are pathetic. I'm surprised the city didn't catch some of them.

    As far as general remodeling permitting, depends on the plans and checker, but they'll usually do a 1/2 to 1 hour o.t.c. check on a standard engineered, stamped plan set, and they definitely go over the engineer's calcs.

    kevin

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Submitting plans to building safety department at your city or county

    Another thought after reading kfc510's comments...I'm sure the plans examiner's experience (or lack thereof) with a particular engineer plays a role in how close his or her work is scrutinized.

    There is a handful of engineering companies around here that do a majority of the work, so I'm sure the bldg dept guys have opinions and a certain level of confidence with each one.

    With budget cuts, the bldg dept is trying to do more with less. That's evident in plans review and inspections.

    There could also be conversations between the engineer and bldg dept I never know about....

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    SF Bay Area (East Bay)
    Posts
    2,357

    Default Re: Submitting plans to building safety department at your city or county

    Quote Originally Posted by DWBuilder View Post
    Another thought after reading kfc510's comments...I'm sure the plans examiner's experience (or lack thereof) with a particular engineer plays a role in how close his or her work is scrutinized.

    There is a handful of engineering companies around here that do a majority of the work, so I'm sure the bldg dept guys have opinions and a certain level of confidence with each one.
    That's definitely the case. Last year I presented some stamped plans, and the checker said "Oh, Monte..." when she saw the engineer's name. She noted that he left out the joist calcs, but shrugged it off since his work is generally good.

    I'm not sure what happened with the city and this last guy (not Monte)- a lot of the errors are really basic- details with no reference number, details applied to multiple shear walls with clearly different existing conditions, the aforementioned 6" screw into 3.5" of wood, etc. It may even be that the plan checker looked at it and didn't want to get involved in the cluster****. It was also a voluntary seismic job; they're a lot more lenient with those.
    k

    edit to add: Actually, now that I think of it, I can remember one (small, voluntary) set of engineer's drawings that Berkeley told me would be 4-6 weeks to review, (it ended up being about 3 1/2 weeks), and they redlined a few things in it, all of which were explained somewhere in the set- the checker redlined the rebar for not having ksi spec'd, when it was called out on p. 3 for all rebar, etc... the checker ok'd them after some (extremely patient) prodding from me the same day. Sort of luck of the draw with those guys.
    Last edited by kfc510; 05-12-2012 at 05:22 PM.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    1,749

    Default Re: Submitting plans to building safety department at your city or county

    For residential, we don’t have much of a review on plans. You sketch the site plan on a napkin and the zoning officer looks over the setbacks and makes sure you are zoned for the use and then he issues a zoning permit. And then either the county /city/village/town issues the building permit when you bring in the plans and zoning permit.

    Unfortunately, the architectural/engineering cartels have successfully lobbied to get their stamps required on plans over 1500 sq ft. So I have to fib when I build something 1800 sq ft.

    The cartels also mandated their stamp on septic and perk tests. something not required just ten years ago.

    The building inspectors are the ones that review the construction plans. They just check for the things they will be inpsecting. Smokes, raised heels, egress and a few other simple things. There are no engineering calculations done or checked.

    A set of plans can be just a few pages but with today’s cartels, they like to cut-n-paste a couple extra boilerplate pages that only half apply, so that they can charge by the page when making copies. They don’t require HVAC or Electric unless it is a commercial project. Even then I can draw up something simple and have it stamped and it slides through.

    There are a few places I do business where site plan review is thoroughly checked by engineers. They will call into question the storm water, lighting, septic and traffic studies and bill the municipality big bucks to recheck that stuff. Every local law seems to say they shall pass those costs on to me but thus far no one has ever done so. I ask them, if they are going to have that much scrutiny of the design, why don’t they just design it for me in the first place and save me the money of hiring someone to do it?

    I just bought a big hobby farm last year and apparently there is some kind of an acceptation for farms and building permits. I am pretty sure the asbestos OSHA test is listed as an acceptation too. I can hardly wait to build something or tear something down without a permit.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    OrangeCounty California.
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Submitting plans to building safety department at your city or county

    "acceptation"

    Thank you for the new word. But, do you mean it as in "exception"?
    Sorry, I don't mean to be thick but I am a little confused.

    Andy.
    Last edited by AndyGump; 05-15-2012 at 09:35 AM.
    Was a GC, doing drafting & design now.
    www.draftinginoc.com

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