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BUST'M OR NOT

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I have read with interest, the discussion over the last weeks on 
whether a Civil Engineer who advertises himself as a Structural 
Engineer should be reported to BORPELs for violation of the 
Profession's Act.  As I replied, in private to the originator of this 
thread, a believe they should be busted.  It is likely that the 
indiviudals involved do not limit their mis-advertisement to the 
yellow pages, a relatively minor and insignificant publication for 
the advertisement of professional services, but indeed, advertise 
themselves as SEs whenever asked.  As many of you may be aware, this 
issue has been a subject of significant discussion over the last year 
by the SEAOC Board of Directors.  This dicussion was triggered by a 
BORPELs initiated rewrite of the Engineers Act that would 
reclassified all engineers (mechanical, electrical, etc.) as 
Professional Engineer.

SEAOC Policy, as developed by the Board of Directors, was highlighted 
in a recent "Plan Review" article, included in the Section 
newsletters.  It essentially noted the following points:

1- The proper design of buildings and structures is an issue critical 
to the public safety and only Civil Engineers who are appropriately 
qualified, as well as Structural Engineers should be permitted to do 
this.

2- It was noted by the Board that many Civil Engineers can and do 
obtain registration without demonstrating any significant 
understanding or knowledge of structural enigneering principles - by 
responding to examination questions limited to sanitary engineering, 
transportation engineering, soils engineering, etc.  It was 
recommended by the Board that all engineers (this includes Civil and 
Structural) should be required to demonstrate their qualifications 
through an examination that tests knowledge of Structural 
Engineering.  Such an exam could be the NCEE Structures I exam, the 
current Western States Structural exam or an other document, yet to 
be developed.

3-  It was acknolwedged that the State of California has recognized 
for many years, the need to obtain better earthquake performance for 
some classes of structures, notably schools and hospitals, than is 
provided for by strict adherence to the requirements of the building 
code.  SE registration is required by the State for such practice.  
The Board strongly supported the continuation of this requirement and 
also recommended extension of this requirement to the design of any 
buidling for which enhanced earthquake performance is required.  (For 
a definition of enhanced earthquake performance - refer to the Vision 
2000 document - recently published by SEAOC).

4-The registration seal for engineers qualified to practice 
structural engineering (or civil engineering of structures) should 
include designation of this qualification.

In the Interim, BORPELs has dropped immediate plans to rewrite the 
act.  There was too much opposition from SEAOC and others.  The Board 
is now considering lobbying to obtain a separate registration act for 
Civil and Structural Engineers, that would incorporate these basic 
polilcies.


Going back to my basic suggestion of bust'm.  There is no excuse for 
an engineer who regularly practices structural engineering, and 
believes himself to be competent in this area, not to sit for the 
Structural Exam.  Practicing engineers owe it to themselves and the 
profession to maintain our professional standards at a high level.  
If an engineer can not pass the SE exam, they probably do not have 
the basic skills required to act in repsonsibile charge of 
structures.  It is not that hard to do.  Nearly 4,000 engineers in 
California have done so to date.  Join the club.Ronald O. Hamburger, SE
Regional Manager
EQE International, Inc.
San Francisco, California