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Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

(OP)
I don't know exactly where this question should be posted, but I think this might be as good a place as any...

I have recently received plan review corrections where one of the corrections was "provide e-file of the RISA-3D."

Questions:
1. Has anyone else received this request from a plan reviewer?
2. If so, did (would) you provide it to them?

We have already submitted full input/output and all kinds of graphical key plans.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

Yes -

I/we do electronic copies of all Calcs, Drawing, etc and either provide them to the reviewer or send directly via architect or contractor.

MOST seem to accept them - even sealed - without question

A few accept them with the caveat that we provide "wet" copies soon thereafter.

I like it - saves a lot of time, postage and hassle!!
 

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

(OP)
Thanks Mike.  I assume you are referring to documentation.  They are asking me for my structural model file - the *.r3d file.  Would you send them that?

I will send pdf copies of drawings, calcs, etc., but I don't like the idea of sending my *.r3d file (or *.std for Staad.pro, *.rss for RAM, etc.).  They already have my input and output.

Is this what you were talking about?

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

Sure - why not.  Usually they can't read or understand them anyway.  They are just CYA'ing it.  They can say - "The engineer sent his calcs in and now my job is done - bingo"

Yes - I do it when asked.  What do you have to lose??  Job gets "Ok'ed", contractor is happy and the project gets built.  Everyone is happy.

PS -  Make sure your calcs are correct!!  Some can read!!!



 

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

That would be illegal in my state, but not sure where you practice.  In Florida, you cannot submit any engineering document or plans that can be changed by others.  An unprotected electronic file for RISA would be changeable by others, therefore not allowed in my state.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

Ron,

Does "protected" mean you've taken steps to mitigate attempts at changes (such as sending PDFs rather than the original workfile), or there's no possible way they could make changes (and we all know the latter is all but impossible)?

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

enginerding, have you asked them (very sweetly, mind you) why they want the actual file?  tell them you're concerned about liability issues with someone else having access to it.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

EVERYTHING is PDF'ed.  Sorry I didn't mention that!!!

But have come to find that even PDF files can be "read" and quite accurately.  Just bought a software package "pdf2cad V8" that works remarkably well - and is quite cheap <$100.00

So I guess that idea goes out the window!!

I used to think that real blueprints couldn't be "re-blueprinted" until someone "stole" my design and seal and pawned if off as "new"

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

I wouldn't give the plan checker anything that I wouldn't give the installer unless there are requirements in the local codes for the specific additional documents.
 
While most local codes have a general statement that the plan checker can require additional documents "necessary to review the design;" it is still reasonable to ask to what end the documents are specifically necessary. Without knowledge that the plan checker is actually qualified to review them (In my "electrical" world, they often aren't) and a statement of how reviewing the additional documents would assure public safety, I would request a written justification.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

Dan...it just means that you can't send a file or file a document that is changeable with ordinary means.  For drawings, you cannot submit mylars or sepias.  For reports, you cannot submit an MSWord (or similar) document.  For electronic files, they have to be encrypted so that if changed, there is an invalidation of the file or the signature.
Ron

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

We have a local entity - "very TONY" area that out sources their "plan checking" and NOBODY is an architect or engineer.  Yes - I reported them to the state.  Nothing seemed to change!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

(OP)
I guess the problem that I have with this is that a computer model is a just a model.  It is used as a tool by the engineer to assist in member selection.  Judgement is used when making the model and judgment is used when interpreting the results of the model.  

I would guarantee that if you gave me a structural model for some structure, I would be able to find something in it to complain about if I wanted to.  Plan reviewers can do the same thing.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

... and this is a bad thing how, exactly?

If your model predicts a BAD THING and your engineering judegemnt overrides thae model, hadn't you better have documented why?

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies  http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

(OP)
It is a bad thing because I can hold up your permitting process for months if I wanted to because I could bring up all kinds of little things I would do differently in your model.  

I have had plan reviewers tell me that I should be using K=2.1 for cantilevers even using AISC 360-05 Direct Analysis Method.  They are clearly wrong, but it was something they were able to find to stop up the permit by another few weeks.  

I have had another reviewer make me re-run my entire model and resubmit all the documentation because in the model I used a W8x13 (resulting code check was less than 0.2) and in the drawing I used a W8x10. I even noted the change in the calculations.  

We design structures that not everyone likes in their backyard.  So many people, including plan reviewers, look for reasons to delay or impede their construction.

I have no problems sending full documentation, including printouts of all the input and output of the computer model.  But if they want to run the model on their own, they can build it themselves from the input data.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

It can also facilitate the permitting process by having the information up front instead of the reviewer having to search for the information in a ton of printouts.

Additionally, for re-running the model, why didn't you re-run the model in the first place if you changed your design?  It would seem to me that it would have taken your a lot less time to re-run the model when you made the change to the drawing; than hoping that the reviewer would accept the original modeling with your changes.  

In the end, you want the review process to be as short as possible.  If you provide a copy of the computer files will expedite the review by allowing a quick input of the data into the model; but will allow the reviewer to quickly see your inputs to the model.  Does it mean that things will be caught sooner or not missed if only a printout was submitted?  Would you rather have the reviewer have to waste time sifting through the printout to get the inputs and hope that a mistake isn't made in the inputting that may delay the review of your project?  

If the reviewer needs to verify your results; providing an electronic copy of the files should speed up the review time.  If other projects are being submitted with the electronic files, your projects may get pushed back because of the extra effort it takes to review them.  In the end, if you want to expedite your reviews, I would suggest meeting with the reviewers before you submit a project in the future.  Get a clear idea of what they are expecting.  Communicate with the reviewers and try not to get agitated with them.  

I'm a reviewer of other types of projects than those being discussed in this thread.  I have my PE and review projects submitted by PE.  Unfortunately, having a PE does not make you infalible (on either side of the fence).  It doesn't make you immune to errors in copying equations; reading a rule/regulation/standard; converson of units; etc.  The best thing when submitting infromation for review is to clearly communicate to the reviewer is what you did; why you did it; and what assumptions you made.  

In the end, you need to determine what you have to do to satisfy the reviewer in order to get your projects approved.  

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

Ron, I have a question about electronic files on a CD.  Once you've burned a file on a CD it cannot be changed on the CD.  A Word document on the CD could be read & editted, but the Original file cannot be changed.

In the case in question, a RISA file on a CD could not be changed and therefore should be allowable.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

zelgar...it can be copied from the CD and then changed.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

(OP)
Florida is very specific about how electronic files may be used.  You can find it on their website.  If I read it correctly, it still involves a wet signature on a document containing something similar to the checksum.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

After looking online, it appears that Florida allows for submittal of electronic documents with a specific method of obtaining a digital PE seal.  Looking at the rule 61G15-23.003 and elsewhere, it doesn't state that the files are unalterable as stated by Ron, but does require a specific procedure of obtaining the seal and submitting the information.

A wet signature is still required...

Quote:

The licenses shall then create a report that contains the engineer's name and PE number, a brief overall description of the engineering documents in question and the authentication code of the signature file. This report shall be printed and manually signed, dated, and sealed by the professional engineer in responsible charge. The signature file is defined as sealed if the signature file's authentication code matches the authentication code on the printed, manually signed, dated and sealed report. Each electronic file listed in a sealed signature file is defined as sealed if the listed authentication code in the signature file matches the electronic file's computed authentication code.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

CD with analysis data and output files is required here by certain agencies. it is submitted as part of a sealed engineer's report, in a pocket in the appendix. perfectly legal. can't get county approval without it.

I imagine some less than ethical folks have "tweaked" computer output in the past to try and substantiate a design. It is very easy to do since many computer programs spit out an ascii output file which can be edited to show anything you want. This allows a check by the reviewer to make sure that doesn't happen.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

In SFWMD (Florida) you upload scans of your plans in PDF, and then print out an authorization page from their web form listing all the documents you sent, and you stamp that page and mail it.  They stick the page in the file and keep your PDFs on their hard drive.

The types of files you're allowed to submit are very limited though.  

 

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model


Zelgar...you really need to read the whole document...

In 61G15-23.002 (6)...the following statement refers to documents submitted by a licensed professional engineer......

(6) A professional engineer shall not seal original documents made of mylar, linen, sepia or other materials which can be changed by the entity with whom such document(s) are filed unless the professional engineer accompanies such document(s) with a signed and sealed letter making the receiver aware that copies of the original document as designed by the professional engineer have been retained by the professional engineer and that the
professional engineer will not be responsible for any subsequent changes to the reproducible original documents.

Further, in 61G15-23.003.2(d), the statement that I made before is contained therein....as regarding an electronic signature....

the signature shall be:

(d) Linked to a document in such a manner that the electronic signature is invalidated if any data in the document are changed.

 

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

FYI - around here the "plan checkers" are down to four days a week - and JUST wait to "fix" something!!!

Plans now take about 3 weeks to get approved.

Three years ago - you could get it done in two days or less??

Go figure!!!!!!!!!!

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

3 weeks, good luck, they will also stretch it out to two or three or four reviews or whatever it takes - they have way too much time on their hands and just looking for anything to "comment" on

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

One thing I have done when submitting to review agencies/reviewers I knew to be intransigent was to intentionally leave a couple obvious and easy to fix issues on the original set of plans.
The reviewer would see the issues, comment, and the fix was easily done and resubmitted.
This approach was after having several stupid arguments with reviewers over some minor technicality they were wrong about and that was difficult to resolve.
There are several organizations and reviewers I don't have to pull this nonsense with, but too many are just looking to justify their job.

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

JG -

I used to ALWAYS leave off smoke detectors and GFIs ---

Two minute fix and planner did his job and I did mine!!??
 

RE: Plan reviewer requesting electronic copy of structural design model

We had an argument once over the weight of a large structure with another firm that I was peer reviewing.  There were other problems like the drawings weren't completed and the calcs were suspect.  The building was modeled completely in a well known program but it was hard to follow the input.  The building had been built and approved and was ready for operation.  I requested the input so that I could check the foundation loads.  The engineer provided me with the input file and I ran the file - with no changes.  I was just looking for the vertical loading but the results had loads in the x, y and z directions.  Not likely.  I sent the file to the programs help desk which was returned in about 15 minutes - with the file corrected and re-ran the file - the results now about 1% from my hand calcs.  Unfortunately because the drawings had never been completed some connections weren't address and eventually the building was demolished and rebuilt.

We've also reviewed input for long cantilevered columns (poles) that were being analyze by the DAM method.  Unfortunately it appeared that this was the first time the engineer had used the method and didn't provide the correct input, such as dividing the pole into many sections and adding small horizontal loads.  They thought the program would automatically do all these things without understanding the process.  When we asked for the input, their lawyer said that all the engineer had to do was just fill in the blanks.  I still have the picture of the pole after it was cut down only 24 hours after erection.

I have another example of bad input and detailing - but that one just ended up with a lot of iron on the ground.

Even had one where the output for the bearing forces on a damaged bridge foundation was stable as long as the tension forces between the bottom of the concrete footing and the sand were glued together. Found that in the output on page 400 something.  The bridge was stable but was moving around when a few horses galloped across it.  We did salvage the bridge but the original consultant was gone.

Even had one project where we received this super colored output with the maximum forces provided on the graphic.  Still having problems with obtaining the drawings that the model was made from.  

We're still having trouble with engineers who provide huge finite element analysis but don't provide any connection details or additional documentation.   

 

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