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Re: Bust'm or not?

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Dennis McCroskey wrote:
> >Dear Dennis:
> >
> >I vote not to bust them.
> >
> >Civil engineers practicing structural are the joke of the century. Poor
> >guys can do (by law) about everything that a SE can do, yet are not allowed
> >to compete fairly with SE.
> I have experienced that they do compete by charging less.
> >
> >A person how obtains his SE license should market in the areas which he
> >could not have when he was a PE. e.g. Hospitals, bridges, schools etc. If
> >he is marketing a Type V residential project, he should not be offended by
> >a PE who is also marketing in the same area.
> >
> >I am currently a PE and will obtain my SE next year. I know my SE will not
> >make me a better engineer than I am. Also, the only reason I want to be an
> >SE is because I like to design high-rise structures.
> >
> >My recommendation, change title of a PE practicing structural, to
> >"Structural Engineer" and change the title of current SE to "Special
> >Structural Engineer". That way we can prevent other PE not practicing
> >structural from doing structural inspections. We saw a lot of that after
> >Northridge. Now, that is dangerous, and they should be busted.
> >
> >Shafat
> >
> >
> If there is any changing to be done, keep the SE as it is.  Develop 2 CE
> types.  One that does not do any structural work and the other (let's say a
> CES) that is a civil who has passed a structural test and can practice
> structural design.
> >----------
> >From:  Dennis McCroskey[SMTP:dennismc(--nospam--at)]
> >Sent:  Sunday, January 07, 1996 1:28 AM
> >To:    seaoc(--nospam--at)
> >Subject:       Re: Bust'm or not?
> >
> >2 weeks ago I introduced the question about "Bust'm or not?  So far 4
> >responses have been received which have unanimously mplied they should be
> >busted.  I vote to bust'm also.  The complaint forms are in my office and
> >will be forwared to the state this week.
> >
> >My only difficulty is that both are friends.  One is a former employee that
> >I trained, got his CE and now works in the area.  The other is someone who
> >I
> >use as a consulting civil engineer occasionally and has been a friend for
> >18
> >years.
> >
> >
> >Dennis McCroskey
> >SE&A

Dennis, I have started to respond to this message and my machine 
crashed. I lost some really good responses - so I'll wing it again.

If the engineer who is advertising is unqualified to practice the work 
that he is contacted about, then I agree with you *bust-em*. But if it 
is a question of symantics - think again.

The problem may not be the result of the engineer rather than a *bad 
law* that has not provided for what the actual community needs. Since 
the CE is not advertising that he is an SE (if the condition is the 
heading of the phonebook directory only) then the assumption is that the 
engineer should not be advertising that he is performing *structural 
engineering* type work. Although we know this to be a conflict in the 
licensing terminology - the next logical step would be to restrict the 
CE from using the term *structural engineering* in the scope of his work 
since this *implies* an SE license. If the restriction applies then any 
CE designing structure is or should be illegal.

I think you can see where this leads. When I (and probably most) 
completed my courses in college (and we did have the choice of courses 
to take) I chose building structures as my specialty. When I (and 
probably most) took the CE exam - I answered the questions related to 
building structure and avoided the area I did not feel competitent in - 
land civil. In between school and the exam, I worked for practical 
experience in the field of structures to qualify for the work criteria 
of the CE exam and had other SE & CE's sign my qualifications. 

We are qualified to practice *structural engineering* - to a degree. But 
this degree of practice allows many of us to work without having to go 
the next step. To sacrifice for the SE exam and never practice on 
Essential facilites or high rise buildings defeats the need to take the 

The culmination of knowledge for the SE does not come from the exam, but 
rather the experience that leads up to the exam. The level of experience 
depends upon the type of structure you regularly design. If an SE passed 
his exams solely based upon book knowledge and review courses and has 
never practiced on essential facilities or (more the case) high rise 
structures - I would be as much afraid to hire him based upon an SE 
designation that I would a CE. 

The brain surgeon and Protologist are both MD's. I certainly wouldn't 
chose the Proctologist to remove a brain tumor. Yet both are listed in 
the phone book under Doctors and each is listed in sub-catagories under 
Doctors. This allows the public to understand what that person 
specializes in. Why is this any different with Structural Engineers.

Back to the original question - is the engineer falsly advertising or 
simply trying to correctly identify an area of practice that has not 
applicable catagory under the listings in the phonebook? And is (or 
should) the phonebook document that is used to determine qualifications 
by law? Or is the phonebooks intention only to catagorized businesses so 
the caller can *find* what suits their needs? The final determiniation 
is for the caller to ascertain the qualifications of the engineer to 
meet their needs. For example, what if the caller wants an engineer 
qualified to practice structural engineering on a the repair of a home. 
When the building official tells him he needs to hire a structural 
engineer - this official does not stop and explain that he can use a 
Civil qualified to practice structural engineering, but rather that he 
needs to find a SE - which is wrong.

Finally (I know I'm running this into the ground) - Shafat mentioned 
what I had also suggested days ago - reclassify the SE license not the 
CE. The proposed changes to the CE designation by BORPEL will not clear 
up the confusion where it needs clarification - with the client. It will 
only allow the state to identify infractions of the law by allowing the 
state to determine who is qualified and who is not - after the damage is 

Enough - my nerves are fried on this issue. I'll keep my thoughts to 
myself if I am truly in the minority.

Dennis Wish