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Fwd: Re: building code minimums for wood frame

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<< As long as there is this type of rationale used to set our fee structure,
is it any wonder the client feels he should "shop" around.  We have ourselves
to blame and also, personally I feel in addition we have gotten little
support in the area of proper fee structures from SEAOC.>>

Before feeling too sorry for ourselves, we need to keep in mind that things
are no better in other fee-for-service disciplines as well.  In my family
there is a CPA, an attorney, and a MD.  All of them have worked for large and
small organizations.  I can say with definite knowledge that fee-setting
practices in those professions are no more rational, fair, or "professional"
than in engineering.  In fact, there are much greater variations, with
effective hourly rates ranging from the low one-hundreds to the

<<<I agree with your comments on how you arrive at a fee structure,  and I
don't know if that should change even if it could. I'm a  big fan of the free
enterprise system...I think SEAOC has fallen short in promoting the
PROFESSIONALS vs. the profession.>>>

A sure way to increase the *average* compensation of a profession is to
increase the public's esteem and valuation of the services it provides.  In
the old USSR, engineers were paid more than doctors, mainly because
production of goods was viewed as more valuable to society than personal
services.  A different relative-worth paradigm operates in this country.
 Changing the paradigm is difficult at best because the supply/demand
principle still has to operate.  I just hired a COBOL consultant to help with
our "Year 2000" problem (our large and complex computer applications are
written in that old language), at $200 per hour, the demand-driven rate at
the moment for such folks.  That figure is likely higher than I or most
readers of this listserv can command.

We need to remember more often the non-monetary satisfaction we receive from
our work, those moments when we drive by a completed project and think to
ourselves or point out to our family that we contributed to something that is
tangible, useful to society, and longlasting (whether or not our name appears
on a building credit plaque).  Particularly enjoyable are those projects
where we came up with economical or elegant solutions to difficult
challenges.  This 'psychic' component of the total compensation is higher in
engineering than in most fields.  As I recall, a WSJ article on the subject
some time ago said the burnout/dropout rates among engineers 5 years out of
school were fairly low, while the percentages for lawyers and auditors were
over 33%.  The pressures for billable hours in the early years of their
careers, coupled with unsatisfying and tedious grunt work (such as legal
research), were the reasons cited most often by the departed folks.

We can take solace that some high-paying professions need that balm to offset
low public esteem.  What is the only difference between a lawyer and a
vulture?   Ans:  The vulture doesn't get frequent flyer miles.

Franklin Lew, SE

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Richard Lewis, P.E.
Missionary TECH Team

The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.