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City of Torrance
Class Code: 3530

Class Designation: Civil Service

June 1993

Representation Unit: Engineers Association &Torrance Fiscal Employees Assoc.


Plans Examiner


Under supervision, reviews, checks and approves various structural engineering and grading and paving plans, specifications and reports to insure compliance with State and local codes and ordinances; advises applicants for permits; checks building permit applications; and does related work as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Distinguished from Structural Plans Examiner in that incumbent does not review or approve plans for complex building designs (i.e., structures of more than two stories) nor does incumbent supervise other employees; Distinguished from Building Inspector in that incumbent does not routinely perform field inspection work to insure proper construction.

Examples of Duties

Examines plans for residential, commercial and industrial projects for compliance with applicable City and State codes and ordinances, including structural and fire safety features; makes engineering calculations of loads, stresses, hydrology, hydraulics, slope stability and other related factors prior to approving proposed plans; works at a public counter to accept and check plans prior to the issuance of building permits; consults with and advises architects, engineers, contractors and building owners regarding methods of construction, design features and applicable regulations; analyzes occupancy factors, weather factors, soil factors, and seismic and other natural disaster factors that may affect structures; prepares technical reports relating to structural and geotechnical problems; issues corrective notices for owners and designers of structures; reviews applications for building and grading permits, rechecks conformance to plans from correction sheets and issues permits; maintains plan check records and logs; reviews output of computer programs relative to the plan checking process; may perform field investigations to determine compliance with approved plans and to verify and approve solutions to unforeseen problems that arise during construction.

Minimum Qualification

Knowledge of
  • City building codes and ordinances and State codes;
  • Methods and engineering principles used in calculating structural loads, drainage, geotechnical engineering, soil mechanics, stress and other design tolerances to approve plans;
  • Nomenclature used in plan checking;
  • Properties of construction materials;
  • General building construction practices.
  • Ability to
  • Read and interpret plans, blueprints and specifications;
  • Calculate structural loads, hydrology, hydraulics, stress and other calculations necessary to approve proposed plans;
  • Interpret and explain City building and grading codes, and State codes to architects, contractors, engineers and the general public;
  • Prepares technical engineering reports on a wide variety of structural and other engineering problems;
  • Communicate effectively, orally and in writing;
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with engineers, architects, contractors, soil engineers, geologists, fellow employees and the general public.
  • Experience

    One year professional experience in plan checking of residential, commercial and industrial projects for a municipality of county or one year professional experience in engineering or architecture involving structural design or soils engineering. Possession of an ICBO Certificate as a Plans Examiner or State registration as a civil engineer is desirable.


    Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering or Architecture or possession of an Engineer-in-Training Certificate from the State of California.