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- To: addseaoc(--nospam--at)euken.com
- Subject: Fwd: Re: building code minimums for wood frame
- From: rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org (Richard Lewis)
- Date: 30 Jul 1997 14:35:26 GMT
Excerpts from various postings to this thread deserve additional comments: <<Pendyala - ... As a responsible and compentent engineer he/she should have the courage of conviction for their designs and not at all be intimidated by developers. If you get sued prove your case.>> <<Wright - ... A certain amount of over design certainly isn't an error or an omission. ...if this guy were my client I'd want to have a chat with him about professional judgement and responsibility. If he won't listen to reason, you don't need him as a client. He'll cost you a lot more sweat than what he'll pay, and you can bet he's only started cutting corners.>> These and similar high-principled sentiments expressed in the postings are unassailable. And it's not surprising, coming from a self-selected group of engineers who take their professionalism seriously enough to participate in the seaoc listserv. Unfortunately, their pronouncements are preaching to the choir, and do not acknowledge some realities. To his credit, Dennis Wish addresses them in his postings, albeit with some anguish: <<Wish - ... Developers and Builders are not really interested in the safety of the finished product. These clients search for the lowest engineering price, but even more important, the most creative and ecconomical design. The judge this on their history of building by either "conventional construction standards" that don't require an engineer's stamp, or by older code requirements. ... But as long as there are those out there that will accept this work inadequate designs will exist. ... I must tell you that advise such as "don't accept the work" is not the answer I'm looking for if I want to continue working in this field. ... Mr. Pendyala, I wish I had the type of client that was so enamored with my ability that he would rather give into my demands rather than go up the street to my competitor who will happily design the way he wants. ..courage of conviction is fine if you have the only engineering practice in the area.>> Wish indeed tells it like it is, and as building department staffs see it. In my years in code enforcement, I checked a ton of plans, and saw countless more that my plan check staff involved me on over issues of code compliance. The variations in competence and professionalism would astound many listserv readers. The common denominator is very low, for the reasons I mentioned in a recent posting excerpted below: <<Lew - ... And some engineers will do the developer's bidding and produce inadequate designs and/or rubberstamp the plans rather than lose the job. In any given region, there usually are a few such ethically-challenged individuals or firms that wind up with a disproportionate share of the design work. Some builders just want minimal plans and calcs to pull permits and don't care about design quality or details because they are going to build it the way they want to anyway. These spec and cheap-o builders quickly learn the identities of the cooperative offices.>> To varying extent, the issue of ethical flexibility is one faced by practioners in many other fields. I've a daughter who was a CPA for a big six firm, and I'm aware that the levels of diligence in designing audits, and hence the costs, are very different between these firms and solo practioners or small offices. The latter have more incentives to be cost-conscious, not only due to the need to get the work and to eat, but also to establish ground floor relationships with smaller companies that may grow larger and need more extensive services. Another example is an MD friend who recently joined an HMO, and is adjusting to arguably lower standards of care imposed by cost-containment panels. The reality is that, in all professions, there are more bottom-line oriented clients than there are quality-oriented ones. For engineering work, the work volume from the first is an order of magnitude higher and more common. There's a saying that the difference between a professional and a technician is that the first is focused on doing the right thing, while the second is focused on doing things right. In an ideal world, engineers would do both. In the real world, the balance between doing the right thing (to high professional standards) and doing things right (to "meet code" and/or pass muster with building departments) will be answered differently by each of us. Franklin Lew, SE --- Internet Message Header Follows --- Received: from server1.seaoc.org (bqe.com [220.127.116.11]) by host1.texramp.net (8.8.5/8.8.5) with SMTP id OAA26993 for <rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org>; Mon, 24 Feb 1997 14:35:36 -0600 (CST) Received: from emout19.mx.aol.com by server1.seaoc.org (NTList 3.02.10) id qa004410; Mon, 24 Feb 1997 12:18:25 -0800 Received: (from root@localhost) by emout19.mail.aol.com (8.7.6/8.7.3/AOL-2.0.0) id PAA19129 for seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org; Mon, 24 Feb 1997 15:16:00 -0500 (EST) Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 15:16:00 -0500 (EST) From: IteUrsi(--nospam--at)aol.com Message-ID: <970224151600_177889230(--nospam--at)emout19.mail.aol.com> To: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org Subject: Re: building code minimums for wood frame Reply-To: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org Error-To: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-Loop: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-Info: [SEAOC] Owner: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-POP3-Rcpt: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-Sender: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org Precedence: list X-ListMember: rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org [seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org] __________________________________________________ Richard Lewis, P.E. Missionary TECH Team rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org The service mission like-minded Christian organizations may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.
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