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Re: [SEAOC] RE: Structural Engineer registration

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>Ron Hamburger wrote: 
>>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. 
>>If an engineer can not pass the SE exam, they probably do not have 
>>the basic skills required to act in responsible charge of 
>>structures. It is not that hard to do.    
>I do not agree that the exam is not hard to pass nor that it proves a lacking 
>in basic skills. 

It seemed pretty easy to me.

 A number of years ago, a previous employer of mine sent 12 
>engineers to take the California structural exam from out-of-state.  We 
>studied for months in advance, including taking the "Structural Engineering 
>License Review Course" on weekends.  I was one of only two that passed the 
>exam from that group.  The others were engineers I consider to be competent.  
>(A couple of engineers went back the next year and passed.)  I am proud of 
>passing a difficult exam 

I congradulate you, and you should feel proud.

and feel that passing it does indicate a higher skill 
>level, but I do not consider my colleagues lacking in basic skills. 
>The exam is very much a time test 

It certainly is.  In some of my previous correspondence, I indicated that
when I first started working for structual engineers at age 19, I was told
anyone can pass the test with enough time, and speed was a very important
element in passing the exam.  You have to know the answers immediatly and
respond to them,  there is not enough time to look everyting up.  It took me
10 of the 16 hours to take the exam.  4 hours for the civil exam.  They just
wern't that difficult because I prepared myself for them.

- some engineers might do better with more 
>time and resources.  In the real world you are not rushed so much.  

I beg to differ.  On fixed fee jobs, your profit is a function of how much
time you spend on it.  On hourly jobs, it is more important.  I charge
$90-120/hr.  If you were paying me, would you want me to spend a lot of time
looking up information I should already know?

Also, our 
>experience was mainly on heavy industrial projects, in concrete and steel.  
>But the exam required skills in timber and masonry design also - does a lack 
>of wood design skills make an incompetent concrete designer?  

No but it does not make him a complete engineer or a structural engineer.
The overwhelming majority of buildings are made of wood.

Or if an 
>engineer primarily designs light frame structures, are skills in high rise 
>steel design necessary? 

Only if they want to call themselves a structural engineer.

>If the law doesn't require a Civil Engineer to pass the structural exam for 
>certain classes of structures, why should the additional time and money be 
>spent to take the exam?  Taking the exam is a business decision, not just for 

It's your choice.

>I do think that Civil Engineers must be cautious in how they advertise their 
>structural engineering capabilities, to avoid conflicting with registration 
>laws.  But the general public cannot be expected to understand the differences 
>in licensing and exam requirements - if they want a structure designed, they 
>look for a structural engineer.  I haven't even sorted out the laws regarding 
>what needs to be designed by a structural engineer vs a civil engineer in 
>California - do we expect the public to read the California Administrative 
>Code before looking in the phone book?   

Not at all, it is up to us to make the distinction.

>(I've asked before without results - are the CA state laws pertinent to when 
>engineering must be performed by a structural engineer available on the net?) 

Not that I know of.  From what I recall, the difference is that a civil
engineer can do structures up to 160', which is about 13 stories.  The Field
Act also requires schools and now hospitals to be designed by structual
engineers.  Other than that, there are various agencies who require an se
vs. ce.

I tend to agree more with Ron Hamburger


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