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Architect Trying to Transition to Plan Check Engineer

Discussion in 'Plan Review Topics *Sponsored by Advanced Code G' started by Archibell, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Archibell

    Archibell New Member

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    Hello,

    I am a licensed architect with 9 years of progressive architectural production, construction and project management experience.

    The long hours and endless coordination required in traditional architectural practice really wore me out.

    I am trying to see if transition to plan check engineering for a city municipal is something I can do.

    Any one else made this transition? How did you do it?

    For those in the field - what are the pros and cons?
     
  2. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Welcome
     
  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Well I am not at your level

    Good somewhat set hours

    Bad you have to work for the government, get paid what they decide, have to deal with that side of politics.

    Your background will help.

    How well do you know different code books,
    Building, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, others ????
     
    JBI likes this.
  4. Archibell

    Archibell New Member

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    Hi cda! Thank you for the quick reply!

    I know Part 2 Vol 1 - California Building Code and access requirements like the back of my hand.
    I know how to do plumbing count calcs based off Part 5 - California Plumbing Code and I am familiar with Part 11 - California Green Building Standards Code.

    I am currently reading Part 2.5 - CA Residential Code, most of it is sticking except for all the structural calculations/tables.

    That's about it. I never had to read much into MEPS code before as we had our consultants handle that and I just had to make sure it was coordinated with the architectural set.
     
  5. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Sounds like you are ahead of most arch e techs, at least you know what a code book is.

    Your other problem might be loss of salary, you might have to start at the bottom or small city.

    You might look into third party plan review, to see if someone would throw you some part time work, to see if you like it.
     
  6. Archibell

    Archibell New Member

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    I don't think I was making much as an architect so loss of salary shouldn't be much of an issue XD.

    I have an interview with City of Manhattan Beach for Plan Check Engineer position tomorrow. :)

    Do you have any tips on possible interview questions they may ask? I am assuming technical questions? but I'm not sure how detailed.

    Thank you!
     
  7. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Never interviewed for what you are looking at,,

    I would think it may be a more get to know you.

    What is your background

    What training do you have

    Do you know what a code book is

    What kind of different occupancies have you worked on

    What kind of code problems have you run into and how did you resolve them

    What has been your relationship with ahj's

    How do you deal with difficult people, how do you enforce code requirements with difficult people



    I try to tell people do not try to memeorize code, know which chapter to go to, where the answer or code requirement is located.
     
    Archibell likes this.
  8. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Check this thread before your interview, some other people should have posted by than

    Conarb where are you???
     
  9. Robert

    Robert Sawhorse

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    Archibelle, I am also an architect and have been told that the best plan checkers have had time in the field...and the best field inspectors have had time plan checking. I have recently been doing more consulting to smaller firms needing more code knowledge and detailing, and find it is a nice balance to the rigors of being a full time employee in a firm. Best of luck with your interview!
     
    Archibell likes this.
  10. tmurray

    tmurray Sawhorse

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    The most challenging thing is having to live with someone else's horrible design because it does meet the code. Understanding what is workmanship and code required can take some getting used to. As CDA mentioned, the politics is the only bad thing. As an architect, you should adapt fine.
     
  11. Archibell

    Archibell New Member

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    Looking through LinkedIn profiles seems like most plan check engineers have civil or structural engineering edu backgrounds.

    Is there a lot of structural calculation review during plan check? Do most Building & Safety have different disciplines run separate checks or does it all fall under one person?
     
  12. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    I am a licensed Architect and play at being a BO and Plan checker.
    It is a transition. It is sometimes a nightmare because, as TMurray posted above, you are dealing with someone else's horrible designs.
    Or you are dealing with unlicensed people that do not have a clue, or a flipper.....
    In looking out for the homeowner or business owner, do you tell them that as designed, it meets code but cannot be furnished?
    I too am in So. California,
     
  13. Robert

    Robert Sawhorse

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    In my experience, the structural plan check comments outweigh the architectural (at least for residential). It does not matter who I use for an engineer or what city, the plan checking appears to thoroughly grasp the structural vertical and horizontal calcs.
     
  14. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    Your Architects license likely requires that you only practice in your area of competence. Thus if you were to be checking structural calculations you should have the competence to do so. Most architects do not have this competence.
     
  15. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    So how was the interview??

    What did they ask
     
  16. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    Archi, wish I had seen this sooner. There is security, benefits and insurance in public service. Have you checked with DSA, OSHPD, RESD? California has an online qualifying exam for Associate Architects who review plans for K-12 and hospitals. Have you taken the ICC plans examiner exam?
    You will need to "forget" design when reviewing plans, you are reviewing for "code minimum" only.
    How are your "counter/people skills" and patience? You will be meeting nonprofessionals, paraprofessionals and professionals.
    Check with CALBO for openings and with contract plan check companies like ESGIL and others for openings. Some contractors are employing architects as QC/QA people. After 35 years on the boards and in the field I migrated to public service and am glad I did, no retirement age limit. I can go to 85 if I chose.
     
  17. rktect 1

    rktect 1 Gold Member

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    This can be very doable. I moved nine years ago from architect to Plan Reviewer. I do miss design though.
     

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