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Plan Check Engineer

Definition of the Position
Definition of the Position:
Under general supervision, performs professional engineering work in checking plans, calculations, specifications, technical reports, and other submittal documents for compliance with Federal, State, and local building codes, ordinances, and regulations; receives and checks plans and designs for complex structures, new and remodeled commercial, industrial and residential buildings to ensure compliance; assists inspectors, contractors, design professionals and the public regarding construction requirements; provides expert technical and professional assistance to the Chief Building Official; and performs related work as required.
Examples of Duties
Management reserves the rights to add, modify, change, or rescind the work assignments of different positions and to make reasonable accommodations where appropriate so that qualified employees can perform the essential functions of the job.
  • Performs difficult structural analysis and reviews plan check submittal documents for permit applications for complex construction, alteration, or repair of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings for compliance with the Orange Municipal Security Code, California State Building Code, disabled access requirements, energy conservation requirements, Uniform Building Code requirements for size, occupancy, exits and construction methods and materials, and National Electrical, Uniform Plumbing, and Uniform Mechanical Code requirements; investigates building violations requiring citations or legal complaints.
  • Refers to a variety of manuals, documents and books including California Codes, California Building, California Plumbing, California Mechanical Codes, California Electrical Code, I.C.C Research Reports, and Orange Municipal Code.
  • Reviews and evaluates construction documents including plans, drawings, blueprints, specifications, engineering calculations, and energy calculations for compliance; makes judgments as to whether structural designs or plans conform to applicable codes.
  • Confers with architects, engineers, contractors, homeowners and others relative to construction or building projects; coordinates plan examining activities with City departments and other agencies; confers and corresponds with other professional personnel in connection with building code interpretation and application; acts as an information source in person or by phone by answering related technical or code questions; discusses complicated issues with engineers and architects in terms of structural engineering items, building codes, etc.; responds to questions and concerns and resolves disputes.
  • May visit construction sites and assist building inspectors in the field where engineering problems are encountered; advises on engineering matters and technical judgments.
  • Provides training to new staff in terms of city policies, procedures, rules and regulations; ensures uniform application of the appropriate codes, rules and regulations.
  • Prepares plan review reports or comment sheets noting plan deficiencies.
  • Coordinates project approvals with staff, other departments, and outside agencies.
  • Oversees coordination for all building permits and plan reviews by other departments, divisions or agencies.
  • Responds to public inquiries over the telephone or at the counter concerning questions regarding permit processing, building, or other construction-related questions; calculates permit fees; assists applicants in achieving compliance with various codes and regulations.
  • Attends meetings to review and discuss plans, documents, and code requirements; performs field reviews as necessary.
  • Prepares reports and correspondence pertaining to structural engineering problems and building code enforcement; maintains records of plan checking activities.
  • May assist with the training and supervision of office personnel and plan checking activities.
  • Performs related duties as required.
Typical Qualifications
Knowledge of:
  • Principles, practices and methods of structural and building plan review.
  • Practices for documenting plan checking procedures, correcting discrepancies and carrying through on court procedures.
  • Civil engineering principles, techniques, policies, and procedures.
  • Construction methods, materials, tools and equipment used for complex residential, commercial, and industrial construction, and principles of structural engineering.
  • Methods, materials, tools, and safety practices of the building, plumbing, and electrical trades.
  • Applicable Federal, State and local laws, codes, regulations, policies, technical processes, procedures, requirements, and building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, life safety, energy and related codes.
  • Legal processes and considerations involved in prosecuting violations of the building codes and ordinances.
  • Modern office practices, methods, computer equipment and computer applications.
  • English usage, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation.
  • Techniques for effectively representing the City in contacts with governmental agencies, community groups and property owners, contractors, developers, business owners and the public.
  • Techniques for providing a high level of customer service by effectively dealing with the public, vendors, contractors and City staff.
Ability to:
  • Read and interpret building plans, specifications, and codes.
  • Examine and correct building plans, calculations and specifications in a rapid, uniform, and accurate manner.
  • Analyze, evaluate, and solve or recommend effective solutions to building and code problems.
  • Analyze, interpret, explain, and ensure compliance with applicable Federal, State, and local policies, procedures, laws, regulations, codes, and departmental policies.
  • Provide clarification and guidance regarding the application of codes, regulations, and ordinances.
  • Evaluate legal violations and take appropriate action.
  • Make structural calculations necessary to determine the adherence of structural plans to code requirements.
  • Prepare clear and concise reports, correspondence, and other written materials.
  • Establish and maintain a variety of files and records.
  • Make sound, independent decisions within established policy and procedural guidelines.
  • Organize and prioritize a variety of projects and multiple tasks in an effective and timely manner; organize own work, set priorities and meet critical time deadlines.
  • Operate modern office equipment including computer equipment and specialized software applications programs.
  • Use English effectively to communicate in person, over the telephone, and in writing.
  • Use tact, initiative, prudence and independent judgment within general policy, procedural and legal guidelines.
  • Establish, maintain, and foster positive and harmonious working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.
Education and Experience:
Any combination of training and experience, which would provide the required knowledge, skills, and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the required qualifications would be:
Equivalent to graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with major coursework in civil or structural engineering, architecture, or a related field and two (2) years of professional level experience as an engineer or architect in performing plan checking of complex commercial or industrial structures and/or the enforcement of building codes for a public agency.
Licenses and Certifications:
  • Valid California class C driver's license with satisfactory driving record and automobile insurance.
  • Valid certificate of registration as a Professional Engineer or Architect issued by the State of California. 
  • Certification as a Building Plans Examiner from the International Conference of Building Officials or the International Code Council. 
  • Sub-trade certifications from the International Code Council for Plumbing, Mechanical, and/or Electrical Plans Examiner is highly desirable.
  • Certified as a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) is highly desirable.
Supplemental Information
Physical Demands:
Must possess mobility to work in a standard office setting and use standard office equipment, including a computer; to inspect various commercial and residential development sites, including traversing uneven terrain, climbing ladders, stairs, and other temporary or construction access points; to attend meetings and to operate a motor vehicle and to visit various City and meeting sites; vision to read printed materials and a computer screen; and hearing and speech to communicate in person, before groups, and over the telephone. This is primarily a sedentary office classification although standing in work areas and walking between work areas may be required. Finger dexterity is needed to access, enter, and retrieve data using a computer keyboard, typewriter keyboard, or calculator and to operate standard office equipment. Positions in this classification occasionally bend, stoop, kneel, reach, push, and pull drawers open and closed to retrieve and file information. Employees must possess the ability to lift, carry, push, and pull materials and objects weighing up to 25 pounds with the use of proper equipment.

Environmental Elements:
Employees work in an office environment with moderate noise levels, controlled temperature conditions, and no direct exposure to hazardous physical substances. Employees may interact with upset staff and/or public and private representatives in interpreting and enforcing departmental policies and procedures.

Disaster Service Worker:
All employees of the City of Orange are designated by both State law and City ordinance to be “Disaster Service Workers.” In the event of a declared emergency or any undeclared emergency or natural disaster that threatens the life, health and/or safety of the public, employees may be assigned to assist rescue and relief workers. Such assignments may be in locations, during hours and performing work significantly different from the employees’ normal work assignments and may continue through the recovery phase of the emergency. 

City Mission, Vision, and Values:
Incumbents in all City positions are expected to exhibit the behavior characteristics reflected in the City’s Mission, Vision, and Values statements in the performance of their duties: The City of Orange is committed to excellent service for our residents, businesses, and visitors. As an organization, the City of Orange is the leader in delivering the highest level of service to meet current and future needs of the community. The City’s values include Teamwork, Integrity, and Excellence.