The Sitka Building Department is required by law to conduct plan reviews of public and commercial buildings. It conducts these reviews under its deferral of authority from the State Fire Marshal's Office. The following guidelines explain when stamped plans are, or are not, required. (Definition: "stamped" means plans prepared by an Alaska licensed architect or engineer.)
Section 106 of the Building Code requires plans to be prepared and designed by an engineer or architect licensed by the State to practice as such in the specific discipline. There are some exceptions.
Under specific written standards issued by the State Fire Marshal's Office, the Building Department must require stamped plans under Section 106 except as below.
Unstamped plans are only acceptable if they meet the exceptions outlined in Alaska Statute 08.48.311 as follows:
"Sec. 08.48.331. Exemptions. This chapter does not apply to:
Exceptions 8 and 10 are further clarified as follows:
Exception (g): "alterations or repairs to a building that do not change or affect the structural system or the safety of the building, or that does not affect the public health, safety or welfare."
As a matter of policy, the Sitka Building Department will accept unstamped/unsealed plans if the project is valued at less than $50,000; the alteration or repair is uncomplicated; and the plans submitted are detailed enough to answer all key/essential items for the plan review and are complete enough so that a list of additional information or details is not required. As a guideline, if over 10 additional items are annotated, the plans are not complete enough for review.
Exception (10): allows for unstamped/unsealed plans if the plans are drafted by and received from the owner.
As a matter of policy, the Sitka Building Department will accept plans under this exception using the following criteria:
In addition, Exception 10 requires that the building/structure must be an uncomplicated project and the plans must contain enough detail to provide all key/essential information to complete the review. As a guideline, if over 10 items an required, the plans are not complete enough for review.
All building structures of Type A (assembly), E (educational), H (hazardous), I (institutional), or R-l (residential) over four units, or buildings which require an area separation wall, fire protection system or is a mixed occupancy, are to be considered complicated and stamped/sealed plans are required.
While the above criteria offers a guide to the circumstances under which we may accept unstamped/unsealed plans, the Sitka Building Department still has the authority to order stamped/sealed plans on any building where drawings submitted are not, in our estimation, sufficient for review. In such a case our justification for requiring signed/stamped plans will be in writing if requested, and the decision will be discussed with the builder. This process is to ensure uniformity.
NOTE: "Uncomplicated" shall mean: Plans will not involve area separation walls, change of occupancy to a more restrictive category, and/or does not require more than minor changes to mechanical or fire systems.
If we receive plans that do not meet the criteria in the paragraph above the procedure is to write a letter back to the applicant and notify them that the plans are insufficient for review and a set of stamped/sealed plans are required. The Building Department will not normally provide list of over 10 items that still need to be included or detailed.
If the plans are stamped/sealed the same procedure applies except that our letter back to architect or engineer will state that we have started a plan review however there are too many problems with the plans to conduct a review. The letter may make a recommendation that they review specific sections of the UBC/UFC.
The following is to clarify on when a plan review is required for fire systems:
Notwithstanding the following, a plan review can be required by the Building Department any time a fire system is changed or modified if the Building Official determines a special circumstance exists which brings the system changes or modifications into question for compliance with the controlling standard.
A plan review will be required on all new fire systems whether the system is required or not.
A plan review will be required for a fire sprinkler system under the following conditions:
A plan review will be required for fire alarm systems under the following conditions:
A plan review will be required for special hazard systems under the following conditions:
In cases where changes are made to fire systems and a plan review is not required by this policy, the following actions will be required by the company/individual making the changes: