DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
When we had our two-story garage built in 2006, we didn't finish out the 2nd floor. At that time, the builder asked if we wanted to designate on the plans whether the 2nd floor was a "game room" or for "storage." We elected storage, because the taxes were lower. Now that we are finishing out the 2nd floor, the city noticed on the plans on file that the 2nd floor stated "storage," and said that in order to pull the permit, we need a letter from the engineer confirming the structure will support a fully furnished gameroom or apartment. An administer at the builder's office said that the plans aren't different for such and they don't build differently for game room or storage -- and that the structural integrity is not a problem.

A delay in getting the letter is that the original engineer is no longer on retainer by the builder, hence causing a delay. There is a new engineer, however.

How can this situation (delay, problem) be rectified? Can the new engineer who did not design the initial plans write a letter and stamp it? Will that work, or do you suppose the city will line up the letter, the plans, and the specific original engineer? Can I hire an engineer to review the plans (I have a copy) and then sign/stamp a letter?

I realize the city is sometimes like Rome 2000 years ago when it comes to doing anything, but are there any solutions you could recommend for getting this unstuck?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37,261 Posts
Any engineer should be able to look over plans or better yet come look at it and sign off.
What size and type are the floor joist, checked to see if there's a code approved egress window?
Add a closet and they may concider the area as possible bedroom which will add some other issues, health dept, zoning, Arc fault outlets Ect.
No one knows where you are so where going to have to make some well meaning guesses.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,842 Posts
When you deny the citizen the right to do it themselves, what do you have.?

I'm glad I don't live where you do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
723 Posts
When you deny the citizen the right to do it themselves, what do you have.?

I'm glad I don't live where you do.
Standards?

If a citizen wants to build something and pass an inspection, he should absolutely be able to. But if he wants to design something or to certify that he's done the math and knows a room will support a certain live load, you need some way to know that he knows what the hell he's talking about. Otherwise you're putting the life of anyone in the structure at risk, not to mention the financial costs of structural collapse.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
40,279 Posts
No one knows where you are so where going to have to make some well meaning guesses.
Only assumption he asked about, is can the GCs new engineer stamp teh drawings. So location doesn't make a bit of difference. He didn't ask a dang thing that requires location.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kwikfishron

·
Administrator
Joined
·
40,279 Posts
When you deny the citizen the right to do it themselves, what do you have.?

I'm glad I don't live where you do.
If the citizen has no engineering background. You have a a place that is trying to prevent unsafe conditions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks for the responses -- very helpful. Yesterday the engineer said he wanted new plans for what we were going to do, which is a separate issue from the city requesting a letter from the engineer specifying the structure will support a "gameroom." We can send the engineer new plans for the wall framing, bathroom, closet, etc., but recall the garage builder said they didn't build different structures based on whether the 2nd floor was for storage or was to be a gameroom (he knows this, but I never discussed this with him).

(note: on the original plans, there was a stamp on the 2nd floor, which originally had "GAMEROOM STORAGE" and on our plans GAMEROOM was crossed out leaving only STORAGE to be visible. At the time of initial construction, we were not going to finish out the 2nd floor for a while, and the builder said taxes are higher if the plans state "GAMEROOM," so we went with "storage" status -- so the builder must have crossed out GAMEROOM.)

When our new contractor (who will finish out the 2nd floor) was at the city code office last week, he said they almost gave him the permit, but someone in engineering dept said their dept. needed a letter. So I guess the city didn't want new plans involving new joists, sheet-rock, bathroom, closet, etc. upstairs -- they just wanted the letter confirming structural integrity.

Shall I tell the engineer to not worry about new plans, and just send me the letter confirming structural integrity of a gameroom based on the *original plans*?

The city doesn't know the builder didn't have two build options based on the 2nd floor status (storage vs gameroom), so they're just getting academic and trying to fill a square on a checklist that looks like "[ ] Confirm structural integrity for a living space" to ensure safety.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,842 Posts
Architects and Engineers, their our family, friends, neighbors, even co-workers, and we love them.
But there's things we don't need them for..
House
Garage
Shed or barn

Then there's things we do need them for.
High rises
levees
bridges
Etc..

There's reason for all those charts and the code book.
It's not just for contractors
It's for the DIY'er too

If the home owner can prove it meets code a permit should be issued.
Nothing unsafe about it.

If the Land Use Office has inspectors that can't go over the plans and determine if they are sound, they have no right being there.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
40,279 Posts
Thanks for the responses -- very helpful. Yesterday the engineer said he wanted new plans for what we were going to do, which is a separate issue from the city requesting a letter from the engineer specifying the structure will support a "gameroom." We can send the engineer new plans for the wall framing, bathroom, closet, etc., but recall the garage builder said they didn't build different structures based on whether the 2nd floor was for storage or was to be a gameroom (he knows this, but I never discussed this with him).

(note: on the original plans, there was a stamp on the 2nd floor, which originally had "GAMEROOM STORAGE" and on our plans GAMEROOM was crossed out leaving only STORAGE to be visible. At the time of initial construction, we were not going to finish out the 2nd floor for a while, and the builder said taxes are higher if the plans state "GAMEROOM," so we went with "storage" status -- so the builder must have crossed out GAMEROOM.)

When our new contractor (who will finish out the 2nd floor) was at the city code office last week, he said they almost gave him the permit, but someone in engineering dept said their dept. needed a letter. So I guess the city didn't want new plans involving new joists, sheet-rock, bathroom, closet, etc. upstairs -- they just wanted the letter confirming structural integrity.

Shall I tell the engineer to not worry about new plans, and just send me the letter confirming structural integrity of a gameroom based on the *original plans*?

The city doesn't know the builder didn't have two build options based on the 2nd floor status (storage vs gameroom), so they're just getting academic and trying to fill a square on a checklist that looks like "[ ] Confirm structural integrity for a living space" to ensure safety.

It's the engineers license on the line when he says something is structurally sound

So his wanting new plans is normal
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
40,279 Posts
Architects and Engineers, their our family, friends, neighbors, even co-workers, and we love them.
But there's things we don't need them for..
House
Garage
Shed or barn

Then there's things we do need them for.
High rises
levees
bridges
Etc..

There's reason for all those charts and the code book.
It's not just for contractors
It's for the DIY'er too

If the home owner can prove it meets code a permit should be issued.
Nothing unsafe about it.

If the Land Use Office has inspectors that can't go over the plans and determine if they are sound, they have no right being there.
If the home owner can prove it meets code. The the home owner will have no problem getting an engineer to stamp the design. And remove structural liability from the home owner and contractor building the structure.
 

·
Licensed P.E./Home Insp
Joined
·
757 Posts
Being able to DIY the thing is not the issue. The town already approved signed and sealed plans that say "Storage". If the town official went ahead an accepted the original plans as sufficient for a game room, he essentially takes full and complete liability for deviating from a set of plans that were sealed by a design professional. It doesn't matter a hill of beans that the framing is in fact up to code. Signed and sealed plans now exist that say storage.

It may seem like a minor point for some, but in the engineering field, that is incredibly huge. If something ever happened, god forbid like a fire, and a neighbor got hurt and sued, you can bet your bottom dollar that the engineer and the town would be named as one of many defendants. If I as an engineer were named as a defendant in a suit involving my plans, and my lawyer discovered that the township official deviated from my plans and allowed a game room, I'd be sitting pretty, and that official's career would probably be over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
207 Posts
It's the engineers license on the line when he says something is structurally sound

So his wanting new plans is normal
Yes, as a PE you must be able to show the calculations and probably the most common complaint against a PE is them rubber stamping things. My day job doesn't require me to stamp anything even though I am licensed, but I'd pay another engineer to stamp house plans if something was required at the ivory tower.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,842 Posts
If you guys wish to get an engineer to put a stamp on your projects, That's fine by me.
It's your money, you spend it anyway you want.

The land use office in your area should have all the charts and calculators it needs, as well as a list of all the products that have been approved.

I'll say it again..
" If the Land Use Office has inspectors that can't go over the plans and determine if they are sound, they have no right being there."

If the plans meet code, who will be responsible.......
If the building meets the codes, who will be responsible....

Meeting the codes means no fault....
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
40,279 Posts
If you guys wish to get an engineer to put a stamp on your projects, That's fine by me.
It's your money, you spend it anyway you want.

The land use office in your area should have all the charts and calculators it needs, as well as a list of all the products that have been approved.

I'll say it again..
" If the Land Use Office has inspectors that can't go over the plans and determine if they are sound, they have no right being there."

If the plans meet code, who will be responsible.......
If the building meets the codes, who will be responsible....

Meeting the codes means no fault....

Without an engineers stamp. The land use office would be responsible. And the home owner.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
207 Posts
If you guys wish to get an engineer to put a stamp on your projects, That's fine by me.
It's your money, you spend it anyway you want.

The land use office in your area should have all the charts and calculators it needs, as well as a list of all the products that have been approved.

I'll say it again..
" If the Land Use Office has inspectors that can't go over the plans and determine if they are sound, they have no right being there."

If the plans meet code, who will be responsible.......
If the building meets the codes, who will be responsible....

Meeting the codes means no fault....
Are you suggesting there is benefit to going into the municipal office and arguing with them about their rules that you don't like?
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top