Plan Review – Protecting the Public, Polishing Engineers

Plan review is a needed service that helps safeguard the public’s safety by verifying that the proposed design meets the latest requirements. It’s a specialized service that requires technical expertise that is up to date with the latest engineering requirements. Those technical requirements are rather fluid, as new methods of construction are continuously embraced by the building industry.

What Exactly Is Plan Review?

At its core, plan review involves review of drawings and substantiating data, such as calculations, with respect to the building code, as amended by the jurisdiction in which the project will be constructed to help assure public safety needs are being met.

Part of plan review is educating engineers about new building code requirements. The building codes and a significant portion of the code’s reference standards are revised and reissued every three years. It may surprise you to know that the code and its reference standards are consensus documents, meaning that the majority of voting members must agree with every change, or the change is not included in the respective document. Changes are thoroughly vetted and not taken lightly.

Another part of plan review work is finding inconsistencies and lack of coordination in the drawings; whether the inconsistencies are within the structural drawings or between the structural drawings and another discipline, such as the architectural drawings. Through this work, Reid Middleton has established working relationships with the engineering community as well as the jurisdictions that we serve.

Finally, plan review has value to the public and to engineering firms that produced the drawings. You might think that Reid Middleton has an adversarial relationship with other engineering firms whose drawings we review. On the contrary, Reid Middleton helps those design teams meet the current code requirements and aims to clarify the proposed drawings, which will be used by the contractor for construction. This improves the design and eliminates confusion, which can reduce costs to the project’s owner.

Reid Middleton’s Plan Review Practice

Reid Middleton is one of those unique firms that performs a variety of design work, including seismic retrofit of existing structures, design of new buildings, and design of seismic monitoring systems for buildings, which allow the facility manager to quickly determine possible seismic damage to the building after an earthquake. Additionally, Reid Middleton has been in the plan review practice for over 15 years. Our firm has reviewed over $4B worth of building valuations of projects. Reid Middleton brings all of this to the table when performing a plan review.