Author Topic: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans  (Read 6212 times)

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Offline 85ray

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Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« on: February 10, 2013, 10:07:32 PM »
We are hoping to build 20 x 30 1 1/2 story in Pierce county Washington. Has anyone built here and had a hard time with the county? Did you have to get the plans stamped by an engineer? Does this seem to be a problem for anyone or a pretty simple procedure?

Thanks

Offline rick91351

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2013, 07:00:06 AM »
If no one weights in ---- I will offer it is easiest is to call the county building department and just ask.  If it is in a county like where our property is located there is no stock answer.  On the flat or in the valley areas a 'stock set' of plans will work most times.  However if you live in the mountain areas it is hard to even build an outhouse without an engineers stamp.  (Well not that bad but.....)

I have found going through two or three engineered plans as of late the cost of engineering and drafting has not went down just because building has slowed.  Actually those left there are very busy.

Here if the plans have to be engineered they will have to be redrawn and the engineering data will have to be submitted along with the plans.  The people I used I have found you have more contact with the architect or a draftsman.  They are sort of the go between you and the engineer.  You hand him over a set of floor plans and the location per the survey.  He and you go over it and he tosses out some ideas.  He and the engineer work out the tech stuff.  Then you see the 'go between' again a couple times for a plan reviews.  Sort of where in the @#$#@$# did that wall come from?  Why is there a door there I never said anything about a door......  Oh my wife I'm sorry.... Yep it gets a big old door and a big old wall.  Then at last they are printed and the engineering is printed and most the time bound.  You hand over a couple checks and go to the county when you are ready to pull permits.  There you hand over more checks.  You remember these checks a lot when pounding nails and lining walls with a sludge hammer.  Might not get you check back but you feel better.                 
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Offline suburbancowboy

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2013, 07:32:19 AM »
My experience was like what Rick described.  I had to get the plans re engineered and stamped and that still wasn't good enough.  Finally I had to get the engineer and the building office on the phone to agree upon something.  You have to love local small government. d*

Offline cholland

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2013, 06:07:53 PM »
Engineered plans seem like a wasted step if building small and using standard approved methods. It's unfortunate your county is so narrow minded.
I live in California and feel like we have excessive process as well. I understand the purpose but come on.
Even here though, the building dept. told me if I followed code and used standard construction methods I would not need an engineer stamp.
With a little understanding of sheer/brace walls, a 20x30 is really easy. It's a little tricky if you try to figure out getting closer than 4' to your corners. But it shouldn't require an engineer when the code allows for alternative brace walls and is specific on spacing etc. A 20x30 would not need any interior brace walls for example.
I drew my version of a 20x32 1 1/2 story and only had to make a few corrections to get a permit. Doing this as an owner/builder may make a difference? Although I'm still subject to inspections and meeting code for everything including California 'Green' building requirements and residential fire sprinklers.
I am however using engineered trusses from a local company. That's another place where trying to maximize useable space in the loft pushes the limits of standard construction methods. Getting their stamp for the trusses only, just required a deposit on the final truss package.  Far better deal than having to engineer the whole thing.

Good luck Ray, I've found my building department to be helpful. Although I work in government and have an understanding of following 'the required process'.

Offline SouthernTier

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2013, 06:41:14 AM »
A related question.  My cabin design will be needing a PE stamp because of the ridge beam (non prescriptive).  I work for an engineering company so this should not be a problem (I'm a chemical/environmental engineer without a PE, but plenty of civil/structurals here that will help me out).

I know this probably varies from town to town, but when the building department wants to see the plans, are they going to want to see the electrical plan as well?  What about the plumbing?  Plumbing has to be thought out ahead of time because it can impact the structure, but electrical isn't so critical.

Even though all I have focused on is the structural so far, I will probably have the plumbing figured out by the time I am ready to go for my permit (if nothing else, I have a friend local to the site who is a plumber and heating contractor who can help).  But will I not get the permit unless I show the electrical plans as well (i.e. outlet locations, lighting plan, etc.)?  I'd have to start from scratch learning that notation (and code requirements).

I wonder if there is a default set of drawings that they are looking for.  i.e.

  • cover sheet
  • site plan
  • front elevation
  • side elevation
  • foundation plan
  • first floor plan
  • plumbing plan ???
  • electrical plan ???
  • etc.

I will have to get the sanitary permit separate from the health dept.  That's probably the first thing I do.

Offline rick91351

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2013, 07:26:34 AM »
Lucky I am packing a set of the last plans we had drawn here in the fifthwheel a thousand miles away from the site so it seems! Closer to like 950 miles  ;D

A0 Site Plan
A1 Foundation / truss plan
A2 Structural Details
A3 Floor Plan
A4 Elevations
A5 Exterior Column Detail (Funky arts and crafts - craftsman style porch holder uppers)
A6 Cross Sections
ME Mechanical / Electrical 
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Offline rick91351

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 07:43:50 AM »
First thing I would do is the septic because it might not be able to go where you all want it to go.  Get your prec tests done where you fell the best spot is going to be.  If it tests okay then you can start laying out septic here.  Well has to be a minimum of Hummm 100 foot or  ??? I guess I don't remember for sure from the septic.  However your local heath department will sure tell you.  Plus there are restrictions around live water, property lines, neighboring wells and such.  Septic here, well there, house here, out building there.  Drive or road here.  If in cold areas and lot and lots of frost avoid water lines running under roads unless you are willing to go to China with them.     
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Offline SouthernTier

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2013, 07:59:09 AM »
Thanks.  Sounds like I will need an electrical plan   :(  More code books to pour through  :-[

Yes, septic placement is the first thing to consider.  Everything else revolves around that.  I have 11 acres so not a problem with property lines, neighbors and such.  But I do have a creek which governs things the most.  Need to stay 100 feet from that.  Water will come from a spring uphill from the cabin site if that works out (will try to develop that this summer).

I talked to the health department a few years ago when I asked about the privy (yes, I even submitted a permit app for the privy).  He said most places around here don't perc and I'd need a sand filter, but we'll see.  The creek actually is a loosing creek and goes from roaring (uphill) to dry as it passes through my property.  The spot I have picked out for the septic is more like the soil where the creek goes dry, so I have my fingers crossed.  For a one-bedroom, looking at the NYSDOH appendix 75A (which governs septics) I would only need an inch per hour to go with the native soil and 250 feet of leach pipe (still cheaper than bringing in sand).

I'll post a land layout on my own thread (don't mean to hijack this one) tonight.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2013, 08:41:48 AM »
Here in NM a plumbing plan, drawn in isometric view, is required.

something like this...



or like so...


Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline cholland

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2013, 05:54:27 PM »
Where I live the setbacks for septic are 100' from well and 50' from property line. This can be a tight fit on something smaller than a few acres, unless grandfathered in.  On new lot division they won't approve until all new lots pass septic test. They do a site/soil survey, no perc. test.
I did not need plumbing or electric in plans, but I did have to note on the floor plan there would be at least two separate 20Amp circuits in kitchen and would be using AFCI outlets.
I feel it's a good idea to plan your plumbing. You do need to consider things like traps for a washing machine and vent stacks, where you will want to avoid load bearing walls. Having some type of 3D model helps visualize how everything connects for someone who is not a plumber. Also makes it easy to figure out exactly what fittings you need.
Does your county have a web site? I was surprised to find my county has a lot of information available online. Zoning maps, county plan requirements, building requirements, many of the forms and handouts available at the desk, etc.

Offline SouthernTier

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2013, 07:25:25 PM »
I hope I can get away with something as simple as you have for the electrical plan.  The county has a website, but I've actually spoke with the real people (the health department guy and the building inspector).  It's a very small town, the inspector is part time.  I just haven't spoken to them recently, since I will not be ready to build for at least another year.  It's good to talk to them early, but I don't want to too early for fear of coming across as another out of town dreamer hack (even if I am  :) )

But like I said above, I will definitely include a plumbing plan.  I am using TurboCAD for design which designs the building in 3D so it is easy to see how things fit together.

I went ahead and posted the site plan over at cabin planning thread (link in my sig below) showing I've got plenty of room for set backs, so long as I put the cabin far enough uphill of the creek.

Offline Don_P

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2013, 04:21:21 AM »
It is good to develop the plans far enough that you know what is going on regardless of what the building dept wants, electrons and paper are cheap. Departments vary widely on what they require on the plans. My last job was pretty large and the approved plan was an undimensioned set of architects elevations and concepts, the proverbial napkin sketch. My shop drawings for us to actually work from go to many megs. My sketches went to the various subs for input as we developed the plan. Our guys are very light on plan requirements which can be nice, but don't be fooled, that means plan review is actually happening at the framing inspection. That can be a favor early on, or a mighty long length of rope if its' wrong.

Offline davidj

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 08:33:28 AM »
I live in California and feel like we have excessive process as well. I understand the purpose but come on.
Even here though, the building dept. told me if I followed code and used standard construction methods I would not need an engineer stamp.
From my understanding you need stamped engineering in CA if there's a significant snow load or you're in a seismically active area regardless of the details of the construction.  This covers quite a lot of the state!  I think my plans were pretty much the last single family home submitted in (snowy) Plumas County without an engineers stamp five or so years ago before these rules were introduced.

I also think it's good to emphasize that there's a difference between an engineers stamp and doing engineering calculations.  There are plenty of beam calculations associated with my drawings and the county checked them but they weren't stamped by a licensed engineer.  However they didn't include any analysis of lateral forces, relying on prescribed wall bracing to stop the whole thing collapsing.  Anyone with a reasonable understanding of mechanics and some beam calculation software can analyze simple vertical loads but you need a much better understanding of how the whole thing works to do the lateral stuff - this is when you need an engineer.

Offline cholland

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Re: Engineer stamp questions for 20 x30 1 1/2 story plans
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2013, 06:28:21 AM »
Good point on the lateral loads David.
Fortunately for me I am below the 3000' snow load requirement and my soil type did not require siezemic design. For snow loading I think the only difference would have been in the truss design, which was engineered.
I do have brace wall panels but only needed to consider wind load, much easier. I got my permit just this last October.
BTW, love your place David. My design very similar to yours. Your build was one of the ones that influenced me to go with a 20x 1 1/2 story. You are in a nice area too. I lived in Portola between 2003-2005. Are you towards the Johnsville area? For some reason I pictured you on the 'C' road.

 

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