Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Plan Analyst has been sold since 1986. Thousands of offices have purchased Plan Analyst making it the most widely used software tool for code studies and plan checks. We have users in all 50 states and around the world. Most of our customers have purchased multiple versions through the years. Code studies and plan reviews for thousands of projects are completed every year using Plan Analyst.
After you have placed your order you will receive an email with a download link and license key. You are not physically mailed anything. You will also have ongoing access to the download link and license via the “My Account” link on www.plananalyst.com (you created your username and password to My Account during the purchase process).
Plan Analyst is a Windows based program and does not have any special system requirements. It will run on computers using Windows 10, and older versions of Windows including 95, NT, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, etc. Plan Analyst requires about 5mb of space on your hard drive.
All states use the IBC and IRC as the base for their building code. Some states publish a building code with their state name on it, but it is still mostly the IBC/IRC. Other states publish a separate book of their modifications. Almost all requirements in a code study created by Plan Analyst will apply in every state and local government agency.
Plan Analyst provides you with the ability to modify or add requirements to many of the code requirements to produce reports that reflect local requirements. All of the questions in the checklist and most of the analysis report items are stored in files that can be edited. You also have the ability to add code requirements and to add to the checklist. You can make these changes permanent by changing the data file using the setup section of Plan Analyst, or you can edit specific reports for special conditions.
Note: Changes you make are limited to wording of the code in areas where most local changes are made. We do not allow user changes involving calculations, e.g., allowable height, allowable area, number of exits, exit width, etc. Incorrect changes made in these area could affect the safety of the building.
The input (project description) for a project can take from several to 30 minutes, but ultimately depends on the complexity of the project. For example, a 20 story office building can be evaluated in about 20 minutes. After you complete your building description input the analysis report is created in seconds.
This happens when the display resolution is set too low.
- For standard screens, the minimum resolution is 1280 by 1024 pixels.
- For wide screens, the minimum resolution is 1366 by 768 pixels.
To check and/or change:
- Open your Control Panel
- Select Display
- Select Setup
- Move pointer until you get the correct setting.
- Click OK
Note: This procedure will vary slightly depending on your operating system.
The Sign Calculator handles up to 2 supports.
Nearly every version of the IBC moves code requirements around in the code. When a new use is added, it moves all the rest of the uses below it up one number. Example: In the previous code, you selected office but when you run it with a newer code, you get parking garage. If this file was copied to a newer Plan Analyst code version, there would be some wrong code references. The exception is the 2018 cycle. There were no new uses added in the 2018 code cycle, so Plan Analyst for the 2018 IBC can read (.CSb) files you created with Plan Analyst for the 2015 IBC, but that would not be the case for other versions.
Also, we may add new features to Plan Analyst. Similar to the above, modification to the Plan Analyst databases might be needed. Database modifications result in a project description from an old version of Plan Analyst not working in a newer version as it would be attempting to get data from the wrong place in the database.
Plan Analyst is a design tool (like CAD is a tool for designers) to help designers comply with building codes and structural design requirements – it performs a plan review / code study. It does not replace the requirement for plans to be stamped by a design professional.
Most requirements are the same between the fire and building codes. The IBC covers new construction while the fire code is more the guidelines for maintaining safety requirements after construction (the biggest difference is hazardous materials where the fire code goes into greater detail). Many fire departments get involved in the construction phase using the logic that they can’t maintain it if it was not built to code.
The primary focus of Plan Analyst is on the life-safety sections of the code, so Plan Analyst for the IBC does not contain structural requirements.
You can add standard structural requirements to the code study by typing them in another category.
We recommend you add your structural information to the Roofing requirements section of the code because this one is blank and roofing requirements are added to all projects.
To add structural requirements to Plan Analyst:
- Click the ‘Setup’ pull-down menu at the top of the form
- Click ‘Edit Code Study Requirements’ in the pull-down menu
- Click ‘Roofing Requirement’ on the list on the left
- In the box on the right, type in the requirements that you want to add
- Click ‘Save changes’ button
- Click ‘Done’ button
To add questions to the correction report:
- Click the ‘Setup’ pull-down menu at the top of the form
- Click ‘Edit questions for correction report’ in the pull-down menu
- Click structural questions on the left and modify or add questions.
Once setup (during the account creation process during your first Checkout from the store) you cannot change the Username for your account.
For organizational customers we suggest that you create a Username related to your organization, not a Username personal to the person creating the account. An organizational account may need to be transitioned to another person to administer at some point in the future, or if multiple licenses have been purchased access to the account may need to be given to multiple users in order for each to download the software.
Plan Analyst tries to run as a 64-bit program, but Microsoft never developed a 64-bit version of the Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0 driver so Plan Analyst has to run in 32-bit mode. We setup Plan Analyst to automatically install as 32-bit, but occasionally it may not. Also, we’ve seen where Microsoft does not include some of the drivers for Visual Studio 2008 and some drivers being removed when Windows is updated to the newest version. To rectify the problem, download and install the missing driver (Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0) via this link https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=13255
Plan Analyst requires Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 be installed. This will have been installed on most computers during the main Windows install. If you are prompted to install .Net 3.5 during installation of Plan Analyst, you can download it from the official Microsoft Download Center https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=21
Project files are given a .csb file extension. They are kept in the following location: Local Disk (C:) Program Files (x86) / Plan Analyst / Plan Analyst for 2015 IBC / Projects / filename.csb.
- The “Plan Analyst” folder may be named “Ben Weese & Associates” in older versions of the software.
- The product name (“Plan Analyst for the 2015 IBC” in the example above) will vary based on the product(s) you have purchased.
Overview of File Extensions used by Plan Analyst
Here are the extensions used by Plan Analyst so you can find the files you need to move. ProjectName = name used when saving the project
When you select ‘Save Current Project’, it saves a file containing number and words used by Plan Analyst to recreate the project when ‘Get existing (saved) project.
- Saved as ProjectName.CSb for IBC Projects and ProjectName.CSr for IRC projects.
When you select ‘Save code study for current project’, a copy of the actual code study is saved in Rich Text Format. This file can be printed or imported into Word or most other word processers. It can also be converted to a PDF file by a PDF converter program.
- Saved as ProjectName.RTF
When you select ‘Save Correction Report for current code study’, two files are saved.
- ProjectName.CSc saved only the raw data that is used by Plan Analyst when you ‘Get a previous correction report’ to load in the data necessary for Plan Analyst to allow the user to modify an existing correction report.
- ProjectName_CR.RTF is an actual copy of the correction report, like the ProjectName.RTF file, this file can be printed or imported into a word processer. NOTE, the _CR is added to the file name so that the two files can be saved in the RTF format without conflict.
The RTF extension is a Windows file extension that is recognized by Word. Using this extension makes it easier for word to import the reports.
The “Projects” folder, which Plan Analyst should create during installation, was not created. Sometimes, the Windows security settings on your computer do not allow Plan Analyst to create a folder in which to save projects and so projects cannot be saved.
To correct this, you will need to add the Projects folder manually per the instructions below (Note: Different Windows versions function slightly different so you might need to make minor adjustments to this procedure):
- Open Windows’ “File Explorer”. It is usually on your taskbar or your screen.
- Click “This PC”
- Double Click “Local Disk (C:)”
- Scroll down and find the “Program Files (x86)” folder. Double click on Program Files (x86)
- Scroll down and find the “Plan Analyst” folder. Double Click on the Plan Analyst folder.
- Find the Plan Analyst product that is missing the “Projects” folder and double click on it.
- You will see a list of Plan Analyst files in the folder. Find and right click on the PA Icon.
- Click on “New” then on “Folder”. A new Folder will show up at the top of the list
- Change name to “Projects” and press “Enter”
- Click X in the upper right corner to exit “File Explorer”
Plan Analyst will now save and retrieve projects correctly.