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Why RDPs are required to go through municipal plan review

Yikes

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2009
Messages
1,960
Location
Southern California
So I have made a 6 page letter a while ago (upgrading as codes change) that I have used many times that asks for just about everything I can think of to try to get these plans through the review.
LA Building and Safety has standard correction lists for typical projects, such as multifamily housing. Since there are so many plan checkers that check all boxes without even looking at the plans, we offer our clients a service where we print out their correction list (available on their website) and "pre-plancheck" it ourselves, writing our responses as to where the "corrections" can already be found on the plans. We turn this in with the initial plan check, effectively already doing the plan checkers work for them (with the exception of structural reviews).
 

Yikes

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2009
Messages
1,960
Location
Southern California
In most states, as an RDP, are you allowed to:

Have a general contractor come to you with a hand drawn plan on letter size that the contractor themselves drew and stamp it?

Off-topic, it reminds me of a story when I was in 3rd year of architecture school, decades ago. A contractor paid me to prepare plans for a simple home addition - - the kind that (in the days before energy calcs and seismic analysis) could be easily reviewed and approved over the counter. I wanted to impress everyone with my drawing skills so I prepared a fully detailed set of 24" x 36" plans.

The county of LA plan checker told me it would be a minimum 30 day plan check, which would've screwed up the owner's schedule. I reported this to the contractor, who summoned me back to his office. Reviewing the plans, he said that my plans looked "too good" and were causing the county to make too big of a deal for such a simple remodel. He had me redraw just the basics (no details), by hand, not really to scale, on a few pieces of yellow 8.5" x 11" notepad paper. Then he told me to go back on another day, see a different plan checker, and pull these sketchy plans out of my student backpack, acting as if I was the son of the homeowner and had no clue what to do next. He said they would approve it quick, just to get rid of me.

It worked. The new plan checker looked at it, explained to me that they had a standard set of [Type V] details for homeowners; he stapled it to my plan, and I was out of there in less than an hour.
 

e hilton

Bronze Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
1,916
Location
Virginia
In most states, as an RDP, are you allowed to:

Have a general contractor come to you with a hand drawn plan on letter size that the contractor themselves drew and stamp it?
Why not? The aor stamp says you certify the design meets all codes, it doesn’t certify you drew it. As long as all the information is clearly and correctly shown.
 

tmurray

Registered User
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
2,185
Location
NB, Canada
In most states, as an RDP, are you allowed to:

Have a general contractor come to you with a hand drawn plan on letter size that the contractor themselves drew and stamp it?
That happens here with one engineer in particular. Most of the time, the contractors that sketch up what he is stamping are very reputable and want it done their way, rather than value engineering it.
 

mark handler

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 25, 2009
Messages
11,133
Location
So. CA
Having worked in large and small Architectural Offices for over thirty years, I can tell you that most of the actual working drawings are done by NON-Licensed individuals. They usually do the best they can but do not have the expertise a "RDP" may have. Unless there is an in-house review drawings go out, stamped, in a haphazard condition.
There is a time restraint. Every minute you spend on that project, cost the firm money. Getting it submitted gets them the money to may payroll , "We will fix it later, when there is more time".
Some companies rely on the governmental plan checker to do the back check.
Plan checking is crucial.

I will once again say "Plan checking is crucial". Every day I get Sealed and Signed drawings by State licensed design "professionals" that do not come close in meeting the code.

We (including other BOs in the area) have a 85+ engineer that will stamp anything you bring him, including Blank sheets inserted into sets.

Had an architect the other day that complained that I was being to mean by requiring the plans show code conformance. His attitude was give me a permit and let them figure it out in the field.

2016 CBC 107.2.1 Information on construction documents
Construction documents shall be dimensioned and drawn upon suitable material. Electronic media documents are permitted to be submitted when approved by the building official. Construction documents shall be of sufficient clarity to indicate the location, nature and extent of the work proposed and show in detail that it will conform to the provisions of this code and relevant laws, ordinances, rules and regulations, as determined by the building official.
 

classicT

Sawhorse
Joined
Aug 2, 2017
Messages
1,940
Location
Washington State
Why not? The aor stamp says you certify the design meets all codes, it doesn’t certify you drew it. As long as all the information is clearly and correctly shown.
Washington State is a bit different. Design professionals are required to prepare or have reasonable charge over those who prepare the plans.

RCW 18.08.370 (ARCHITECTS)
Issuance of certificates of registration—Seal, use.

(1) The director shall issue a certificate of registration to any applicant who has, to the satisfaction of the board, met all the requirements for registration upon payment of the registration fee as provided in this chapter. All certificates of registration shall show the full name of the registrant, have the registration number, and shall be signed by the chair of the board and by the director. The issuance of a certificate of registration by the director is prima facie evidence that the person named therein is entitled to all the rights and privileges of a registered architect.
(2) Each registrant shall obtain a seal of the design authorized by the board bearing the architect's name, registration number, the legend "Registered Architect," and the name of this state. All technical submissions prepared by an architect and filed with public authorities must be sealed and signed by the architect. It is unlawful to seal and sign a document after a registrant's certificate of registration or authorization has expired, been revoked, or is suspended.
(3) An architect may seal and sign technical submissions under the following conditions:

(a) An architect may seal and sign technical submissions that are: Prepared by the architect; prepared by the architect's regularly employed subordinates; prepared in part by an individual or firm under a direct subcontract with the architect; or prepared in collaboration with an architect who is licensed in a jurisdiction recognized by the board, provided there is a contractual agreement between the architects.
(b) An architect may seal and sign technical submissions based on prototypical documents provided: The architect obtains written permission from the architect who prepared or sealed the prototypical documents, and from the legal owner to adapt the prototypical documents; the architect thoroughly analyzes the prototypical documents, makes necessary revisions, and adds all required elements and design information, including the design services of engineering consultants, if warranted, so that the prototypical documents become suitable complete technical submissions, in compliance with applicable codes, regulations, and site-specific requirements.
(c) An architect who seals and signs the technical submissions under this subsection (3) is responsible to the same extent as if the technical submissions were prepared by the architect.
RCW 18.43.070 (ENGINEERS)
Certificates and seals.

The board shall issue a certificate of registration upon payment of a registration fee as provided for in this chapter, to any applicant who, in the opinion of the board, has satisfactorily met all the requirements of this chapter. In case of a registered engineer, the certificate shall authorize the practice of "professional engineering" and specify the branch or branches in which specialized, and in case of a registered land surveyor, the certificate shall authorize the practice of "land surveying."

In case of engineer-in-training, the certificate shall state that the applicant has successfully passed the examination in fundamental engineering subjects required by the board and has been enrolled as an "engineer-in-training." In case of land-surveyor-in-training, the certificate shall state that the applicant has successfully passed the examination in fundamental surveying subjects required by the board and has been enrolled as a "land-surveyor-in-training." All certificates of registration shall show the full name of the registrant, shall have a serial number, and shall be signed by the chair and the secretary of the board and by the director.

The issuance of a certificate of registration by the board shall be prima facie evidence that the person named therein is entitled to all the rights and privileges of a registered professional engineer or a registered land surveyor, while the said certificate remains unrevoked and unexpired.

Each registrant hereunder shall upon registration obtain a seal of the design authorized by the board, bearing the registrant's name and the legend "registered professional engineer" or "registered land surveyor." Plans, specifications, plats, and reports prepared by the registrant shall be signed, dated, and stamped with said seal or facsimile thereof. Such signature and stamping shall constitute a certification by the registrant that the same was prepared by or under his or her direct supervision and that to his or her knowledge and belief the same was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the statute. It shall be unlawful for anyone to stamp or seal any document with said seal or facsimile thereof after the certificate of registrant named thereon has expired or been revoked, unless said certificate shall have been renewed or reissued.
 

mtlogcabin

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Messages
8,297
Location
Big Sky Country
Back in the UBC days a local Architect complained about the time frame for our plan reviews and the BO gave him the option to send it to a third party for an expedited review at his expense.
The third party plans examiner requested the "minimum critical radiant flux" rating of his finished plain concrete floor. He never complained about our plan reviews after that experience.
 

mark handler

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 25, 2009
Messages
11,133
Location
So. CA
Back in the UBC days a local Architect complained about the time frame for our plan reviews and the BO gave him the option to send it to a third party for an expedited review at his expense.
The third party plans examiner requested the "minimum critical radiant flux" rating of his finished plain concrete floor. He never complained about our plan reviews after that experience.
Karma is a Bit*h
 

ADAguy

Sawhorse
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
6,044
Location
California
About 10 years ago a senior man came in on a cane who is an certified architect came and asked what I was reading. I said "the International Building Code".
He said "let me see it, I never saw one".

I hope he is retired by now.

I use a cane but it wasn't me!
 

mark handler

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 25, 2009
Messages
11,133
Location
So. CA
I recognize that the favorite sport of plan checkers and inspectors is to bash architects and engineers. Please note that architects and engineers could match you one for one with examples of plan checkers and inspectors that got it wrong.

I suggest that we should focus on the question of whether the submission complies with the adopted regulations.
Just a comment, in So. CA, most Plan Checkers and BO's ARE Architects and Engineers.
 
Last edited:

Paul Sweet

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Oct 17, 2009
Messages
1,786
Location
Richmond, VA
"In most states, as an RDP, are you allowed to:
Have a general contractor come to you with a hand drawn plan on letter size that the contractor themselves drew and stamp it?"

Not in Virginia

18VAC10-20-760. Use of Seal.
A. Affixing of a professional seal, signature, and date shall indicate that the professional has exercised direct control and personal supervision over the work to which it is affixed. Affixing of the seal, signature, and date also indicates the professional's acceptance of responsibility for the work shown thereon.

1. No professional shall affix a seal, signature, and date or certification to a plan, plat, document, sketch, or other work constituting the practice of the professions regulated that has been prepared by an unlicensed or uncertified person unless such work was performed under the direct control and personal supervision of the professional while the unlicensed or uncertified person was an employee of the same firm as the professional or was under written contract to the same firm that employs the professional.
 

classicT

Sawhorse
Joined
Aug 2, 2017
Messages
1,940
Location
Washington State
Washington State is a bit different. Design professionals are required to prepare or have reasonable charge over those who prepare the plans.

RCW 18.08.370 (ARCHITECTS)
Issuance of certificates of registration—Seal, use.

(1) The director shall issue a certificate of registration to any applicant who has, to the satisfaction of the board, met all the requirements for registration upon payment of the registration fee as provided in this chapter. All certificates of registration shall show the full name of the registrant, have the registration number, and shall be signed by the chair of the board and by the director. The issuance of a certificate of registration by the director is prima facie evidence that the person named therein is entitled to all the rights and privileges of a registered architect.
(2) Each registrant shall obtain a seal of the design authorized by the board bearing the architect's name, registration number, the legend "Registered Architect," and the name of this state. All technical submissions prepared by an architect and filed with public authorities must be sealed and signed by the architect. It is unlawful to seal and sign a document after a registrant's certificate of registration or authorization has expired, been revoked, or is suspended.
(3) An architect may seal and sign technical submissions under the following conditions:

(a) An architect may seal and sign technical submissions that are: Prepared by the architect; prepared by the architect's regularly employed subordinates; prepared in part by an individual or firm under a direct subcontract with the architect; or prepared in collaboration with an architect who is licensed in a jurisdiction recognized by the board, provided there is a contractual agreement between the architects.
(b) An architect may seal and sign technical submissions based on prototypical documents provided: The architect obtains written permission from the architect who prepared or sealed the prototypical documents, and from the legal owner to adapt the prototypical documents; the architect thoroughly analyzes the prototypical documents, makes necessary revisions, and adds all required elements and design information, including the design services of engineering consultants, if warranted, so that the prototypical documents become suitable complete technical submissions, in compliance with applicable codes, regulations, and site-specific requirements.
(c) An architect who seals and signs the technical submissions under this subsection (3) is responsible to the same extent as if the technical submissions were prepared by the architect.
RCW 18.43.070 (ENGINEERS)
Certificates and seals.

The board shall issue a certificate of registration upon payment of a registration fee as provided for in this chapter, to any applicant who, in the opinion of the board, has satisfactorily met all the requirements of this chapter. In case of a registered engineer, the certificate shall authorize the practice of "professional engineering" and specify the branch or branches in which specialized, and in case of a registered land surveyor, the certificate shall authorize the practice of "land surveying."

In case of engineer-in-training, the certificate shall state that the applicant has successfully passed the examination in fundamental engineering subjects required by the board and has been enrolled as an "engineer-in-training." In case of land-surveyor-in-training, the certificate shall state that the applicant has successfully passed the examination in fundamental surveying subjects required by the board and has been enrolled as a "land-surveyor-in-training." All certificates of registration shall show the full name of the registrant, shall have a serial number, and shall be signed by the chair and the secretary of the board and by the director.

The issuance of a certificate of registration by the board shall be prima facie evidence that the person named therein is entitled to all the rights and privileges of a registered professional engineer or a registered land surveyor, while the said certificate remains unrevoked and unexpired.

Each registrant hereunder shall upon registration obtain a seal of the design authorized by the board, bearing the registrant's name and the legend "registered professional engineer" or "registered land surveyor." Plans, specifications, plats, and reports prepared by the registrant shall be signed, dated, and stamped with said seal or facsimile thereof. Such signature and stamping shall constitute a certification by the registrant that the same was prepared by or under his or her direct supervision and that to his or her knowledge and belief the same was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the statute. It shall be unlawful for anyone to stamp or seal any document with said seal or facsimile thereof after the certificate of registrant named thereon has expired or been revoked, unless said certificate shall have been renewed or reissued.

"In most states, as an RDP, are you allowed to:
Have a general contractor come to you with a hand drawn plan on letter size that the contractor themselves drew and stamp it?"

Not in Virginia

18VAC10-20-760. Use of Seal.
A. Affixing of a professional seal, signature, and date shall indicate that the professional has exercised direct control and personal supervision over the work to which it is affixed. Affixing of the seal, signature, and date also indicates the professional's acceptance of responsibility for the work shown thereon.

1. No professional shall affix a seal, signature, and date or certification to a plan, plat, document, sketch, or other work constituting the practice of the professions regulated that has been prepared by an unlicensed or uncertified person unless such work was performed under the direct control and personal supervision of the professional while the unlicensed or uncertified person was an employee of the same firm as the professional or was under written contract to the same firm that employs the professional.

I am willing to bet that most states have administrative codes (laws) that state similar. It is up to each BO on how to enforce, but the rules are in place and can be enforced.
 

Rick18071

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Nov 28, 2009
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Location
Poconos/eastern PA
So generic plans (McDonald's, Starbucks, Target) made by a architect from another state and only stamped by a local state RDP cannot be used?
 

classicT

Sawhorse
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Aug 2, 2017
Messages
1,940
Location
Washington State
So generic plans (McDonald's, Starbucks, Target) made by a architect from another state and only stamped by a local state RDP cannot be used?
See the text in red below....re-posting a limited portion of RCW 18.08.370


RCW 18.08.370 (ARCHITECTS)
Issuance of certificates of registration—Seal, use.
(3) An architect may seal and sign technical submissions under the following conditions:
(a) An architect may seal and sign technical submissions that are: Prepared by the architect; prepared by the architect's regularly employed subordinates; prepared in part by an individual or firm under a direct subcontract with the architect; or prepared in collaboration with an architect who is licensed in a jurisdiction recognized by the board, provided there is a contractual agreement between the architects.
 

mtlogcabin

Sawhorse
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Oct 17, 2009
Messages
8,297
Location
Big Sky Country
So generic plans (McDonald's, Starbucks, Target) made by a architect from another state and only stamped by a local state RDP cannot be used?
We have a local engineer who is licensed in 47 states. I have seen many Montana licensed stamped drawings by RDP's who I have ever been to this state.
The RDP does not need to be a local
 

tmurray

Registered User
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
2,185
Location
NB, Canada
We have a local engineer who is licensed in 47 states. I have seen many Montana licensed stamped drawings by RDP's who I have ever been to this state.
The RDP does not need to be a local
Exactly.

I had something submitted that was stamped in another province. I called the local engineering society to see if they had some sort of reciprocal agreement. They said they did not, but since the person was licenced in that province, they just needed to submit an application and pay the dues and they would get them their stamp that day. I decided it's not my job to drive membership for them and accepted the engineer's design with the other province's stamp on it.
 

my250r11

Sawhorse
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
906
Location
Roswell, NM
So generic plans (McDonald's, Starbucks, Target) made by a architect from another state and only stamped by a local state RDP cannot be used?

Our state law requires a state licensed engineer/architect. So we make sure it does before we except them, but we do not go searching for contracts. If they have the seal that is what matters, the stamper is the responsible party once they put their stamp on it. Hopefully they have contracts and look thru them for compliance before they stamp them because if something does happen, goes wrong or questions asked it is them who is responsible.
 
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