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Fwd: Re: building code minimums for wood frame

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tarek wrote:
> I have always thought that the lack of a standard of engineering is
> THE biggest problem we have.A few years back ( 1991?)I was elated when
> seosc started discussions to come up with a standard of care for different
> types of buildings.however that died quickly .I dont think any reputable
> engineer is
> afraid of competetion, however when you lose work to that guy that
> charged the $500. for the calc and sketch you get mad. now mind you that
> guy will make more money than any one on this net, reason being
> he will calc 3 or 4 beams and the rest are similar plus two shear
> walls and the rest o.k by inspection, red marks a floor plan, he attaches
> his circa 1980's typical standard sheets and 4 hours later he got 500
> bucks.
> so you see it is not the chevy or the benz it is rather the field
> that is not level.
> Tarek Mokhtar
> consulting engineer( 1.2 on the cynical scale )
When I originally posed the question, I wasn't trying to propose
more government regulations or fee fixing. I do think that some
regulations can be improved. Arizona has much more stringent
regulations than California with regards to who can do what. For
example, in every other state where I've applied for reciprocity,
I've had to get two licenses: Civil and Structural. In Arizona, I
have "only" a Structural license. That's because I've never done
anything Civil in my life!!! In AZ, Architects do Architecture,
Structural Engineeers do Structural Engineering and Civil Engineers
do Civil Engineering. This is a state where they only have seismic
zone 2B! Now, in California, we have zones 3 and 4, over 30 million
people, billions and billions of dollars of property improvements and
a significant amount of construction potential near fault zones. But,
you can get a Civil degree, get two years of experience (I think that's
changing to 4), and you can stamp and sign plans for just about
anything short of schools, hospitals and buildings over 160 feet in

In the free market vein, I agree with a lot of what Lynn Howard said.
The only problem is that we are forced into building a Cadillac when a
new code regulation comes out that complicates the analysis. How much
time has it added to our wood framed projects when NDS changed the CF
factors for different sizes of lumber? Even putting a steel frame around
a garage door opening has become a pain. These issues (and many, many
more) drive up design time even if all we are trying to do is to apply
due diligence; not build a caddy. I think that it would be very
productive if someone (like SEAOC) would publish a guideline showing how
much time is reasonable to perform or that should be spent to apply an
adequate level of due diligence. That should provide us with our lower
limit when we are dropping our fees to get work. That way, when we are
presented with a project to match another bid of $500 for a single story
"calc and sketch", we can confidently respond with something like "I'm
sorry, but, even with a discounted hourly rate, I cannot apply the due
diligence as recommended by the Structural Engineers Association".. or
something like that.

It would also be interesting to see more constructive suggestions along
with the complaining. There appears to be enough interest in this topic
for all of us to participate in some informal surveys. I'm not trying to
set any rules here(to: Dennis Mc.), but if the format was conducive to
an informal survey, then I believe someone can collect the ayes/nays to
particular topics and relay them to the appropriate organization(s). For
example, I believe the Structural Engineers Association can/should do
more to improve the practicing engineer's business practice. This would
include (but not limited to) tighten the B&P code as to who can practice
structural engineering, provide seminars on business and legal issues
and consider some public awareness campaigns to educate the public about
the importance of the role of a structural engineer on a construction
project. Are there any ayes or nays out there?

Bill Allen

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