We are excited to talk with Bob LaCosta, Construction Official / Zoning Officer for the Township of Scotch Plains, located in north-central New Jersey. The Township has a population of ~25,000. Bob has been a user of our Plan Analyst code compliance programs for over 10 years.
I started out in property management for municipal buildings, and have now spent the last 45 years working in various building official capacities for the Township. I have been a member of the New Jersey Building Officials Association for 40 years and am a Past President. I have served on the NJBOA board and represented the Association at various ICC hearings.How many people work in the Building Department?
There are 10 of us. 4 staffers and 6 in the field.What type of construction happens in the Township?
I’d describe Scotch Plains as a bedroom community. There is some new residential construction and updating of the existing housing stock. We don’t do a lot of big commercial. Commercial tends to be fit outs of existing space.How do you use Plan Analyst?
I use Plan Analyst for the International Residential Code (IRC) on housing that has larger square footage. The majority of construction done in New Jersey is done by professionally licensed designers, and they typically do excellent work. I basically do a sanity check their designs with Plan Analyst.
Having been a building official for many years I’ve developed some of my own “cheat sheets”, but I frequently double check specific elements of a job with Plan Analyst. This helps me pick up on smaller issues that designers sometimes miss. When this happens, I print out the Plan Analyst review showing non-compliant items and have a conversation with the designer about the specifics. The designer is then able to quickly revise the specific design sheet and replace the old one accordingly.
I also use the Plan Analyst Deck Design and Compliance Calculator 3 or more times a week. The Calculator enables me to recreate an owner’s plan in the software and run a code analysis. This is especially helpful with span calculations and compliance.Can you quantify any productivity gains from using Plan Analyst?
I look at Plan Analyst as a tool that helps me to do a better job, enhancing my accuracy, efficiency and productivity. Trying to quantify actual gains would be cumbersome. For me, using Plan Analyst is a “no-brainer”.
Thank you, Bob!
Township of Scotch Plains, Building Department: https://www.scotchplainsnj.gov/index.php/departments/building-department
Plan Analyst: www.plananalyst.com
About Plan Analyst. The original Plan Review / Code Compliance software since 1986. Products include PA for the IBC, PA for the IRC, Deck Calculator, Beam & Column Calculator, Sign Design and Compliance Calculator. Plan Analyst – Performing the Science for Building Code Compliance.