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[SEAOC] Re: [SEAOC] Re: Quality of Engineering - Checking

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Your point is well taken. The general feeling, from EVERYBODY,  is that
large public agencies are easy pickings and can (and do) absorb any and all
cost overruns, mishaps, bankruptcies, thefts, and just plain incompetance.

At 01:10 PM 9/21/96 -0400, RPixley(--nospam--at) wrote:
>>... the reviewer for the Office of the State Architect would
>>not sign off on the design because he felt it would not survive an
>>earthquake. The contractor shopped around and got one, or was it two,
>>engineers to certify the design. The structure was built, and it did indeed
>>collapse. My question is, how often does this happen, to your knowledge? Are
>>the forces so very difficult to predict? Are there any sanctions against the
>>hired guns?
>There are several things that could be done, depending upon the situation. If
>the owner of such a structure feels that a case can be made that the
>engineer(s) who certified the design should not have done so, they could sue
>them for damages.  (That's what professional liability insurance is for.)  A
>district attorney could bring criminal charges against them if the DA
>preceives that what they did was not in the general interest of the public.
>(Talking jail time here.)  And the licensing board could revoke their
>license, which should put an end to that person's career. (Maybe I should
>have used "may" instead of "should", but lets not debate that!) 
>Of course, to do all that one needs to be able to hire lawyers, fund an
>investigation, hire other experts who can withstand cross-examination, put up
>with a legal/criminal-justice system is sometimes unpredictable, etc.  If
>doing this is important enough to the person who was damaged, they will spend
>the money.  If not, well . . .
>An interesting twist may be that the owner insured his building for such a
>calamity.  In that case, the insuance company was damaged, and they probably
>have a lot of full time lawyers on staff that specialize in going after
>malpracticing engineers if they think its worth the effort.  (There are times
>I think insurance companies should "license" engineers, not government
>bodies; but that's another discussion topic.)