In southern Florida…every set of building plans must show the minimum finish floor elevation to qualify for flood insurance under FEMA standards.

This finish floor elevation is taken off the lot survey and usually requires the finish floor to be at least 18 inches above the crown of the street, although this dimension changes for different communities.

Building plans often come into a city or county without showing the finish floor elevation and the plan checker must then return the set of plans to the builder for correction.

Again in southern Florida, many other omissions on building plans occur over and over…such as not showing the garage slab seven inches below the house slab elevation…not identifying an egress window as a secondary means of escape…not calling out 60 square inches of garage vent per car, etc.

The builder must then pay construction loan interest for every day the plans are not approved…while the architect is correcting mistakes and omissions found during city plan check.

Many cities and counties have a generic check list of building code violations that commonly occur during plan checking.  One of the questions a builder should ask when choosing an architect is whether the architect has a plan review check list for the city or county in which the project is located…and for other adjacent cities as well.

The builder should also begin compiling their own plan review checklist…expanded from the city or county version…so the plans can be reviewed in-house for code violations before submittal.