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Fwd: Engineering Issues ad nauseum

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Starting last week, I have taken a new position trying to be efficient with
my list service posts and try to reduce the clutter I have created in the
past. I'm sure the majority of you will appreciate this effort. I will
continue to respond to issues for which I have an opinion (or knowledge,
regarding tech. issues) if the responses I have read do not necessarily
reflect mine. I will also present issues (again, attempting to be
efficient) when I feel they are timely and prudent.

First, the light stuff. I wanted to report back that I haven't had a
computer crash the past several weeks since the time I had so much
difficulty. I want to summarize some of the things I have done. Hopefully,
these actions may help some of you to avoid the experiences I had. During
my crashes, I spent in excess of 70 hours trying to get my system running
again. My primary suspicion is that one of my hard drives is going bad. The
IDE drives are typically rated at about 30,000 hours mean time between
failure (MTBF). If you leave your computer on (as I do), this translates to
approximately 3-1/2 years. To avoid the problems a failed hard disk
presents is to do regular backups. I automate my backups, doing a full
backup once a week and a daily backup of modified files. Since I leave my
computer on (the main reason I do) I do my backups automatically at night.
I feel the next highest probable cause was due to inproper installation of
software. To avoid this, you need to close down all of your programs
(except Windows) by pressing the CNTL-ALT-TAB keys to get the "close
program" diaglog box. Select every application (one at a time) except for
"explorer" which is Windows. After every app is closed down, install the
software according to the publisher's instructions. After you have
installed the software, reboot the computer (even if the instructions don't
require it). This process should be followed when you uninstall programs as
well. If you have to reinstall software, close down apps, uninstall,
reboot, close down apps, install, reboot. This is about the only way you
can avoid DLL conflicts. After you have installed or uninstalled software,
run scan disk. During my reconstruction process, I installed Win95B which
is not available off the shelf. I had to purchase it from a hardware
vendor. This is because Win95B is not guaranteed to work with every piece
of hardware nor with any kind of configuration. Microsoft would like this
version to only ship with new computers. However, it appears more stable
than Win95A plus I formatted my hard drive (>1023 mb) with 4kb clusters.
This process reduces wasted space. I assume these features will be
available with Win97 due to come out this August. I was also able to format
my hard drive w/o DOS and now Windows runs a little faster. Enough of that.

On a more serious side, I just received my copy of the SEAOC newsletter. I
found out something interesting about myself because the first thing I did
when I pulled the staple out was to look for the online section. To my
disappointment, it was missing. I'm not complaining because I know how busy
the editor is. I was just disappointed.

In the Plan Review section, the SEAOC Executive Director, Allen Goldstein,
discusses some legislative action going on in Sacramento. There is a short,
3 paragraph blurb about AB 969 which is the PE Act Rewrite. As you are
aware, this issue is very important to our livelihoods and I wish Mr.
Goldstein would have offered more detail and would have given instructions
on how we as Professional Engineers could participate. If anyone on this
list service knows Mr. Goldstein, maybe he could post a little more detail
here and give us suggestions on how we can submit our input.

The other two pieces of legislation discussed are sister bills, AB 376 and
SB 479. This piece of legislation would require any solicitation for a
design contract by the State of California in excess of 50K to be awarded
via a publicized competitive bidding process. I guess one side of the law
tells us we are unprofessional if we collaborate on fees (i.e., anti-trust)
but, if the amount is large enough, the State wants in. This is contrary to
Quality Based Selection and we NEED to encourage all of our engineering and
Architectural colleagues to get involved by contacting our state reps to
vote this down!!

The Plan review has a headline that reads "SEAOC TAKES A STRONG STAND ON
PROPOSED LEGISLATION" but does not give us much detail on the PE Act
ReWrite nor does it give us information about how we best can support SEAOC
on its position. I sure would like to see this section embellished to share
more detail and directions to get membership involved.

My most important issue is the one regarding unqualified persons performing
structural engineering. To digress from my apparent "hard line" position
about CEs doing structural engineering, I would like to focus purely on
Architects doing structural engineering. I would like each of you to think
of all of the Architects you have personally worked with who you feel is
capable of analyzing, designing and detailing the lateral force resisting
system for a simple structure, say a two story residence. Maybe not as good
as you would, but good enough to meet all sections of the 1994 UBC. Take
that list and also put on it the total number of Architects you personally
have worked with total. I think we should compile this list and send it to
SEAOC, ICBO and BORPELS. Of course, if (?) this percentage is low, the
question we have to ask ICBO and BORPELS is how can we allow people to
stamp and sign plans if they are not qualified? I realize an Architect's
curriculum contains structural engineering courses and I also realize there
are structural engineering sections on the Architectural exam. I have not
taken any of the courses nor sat for the exam, so I cannot compare them
with the courses and exams I have taken. However, I know one person who is
in the process of taking the exam. He is taking a few sections at a time (a
luxury we don't have) and the only sections remaining are the structural
engineering sections. This person does not have a college degree nor has he
taken any prep classes for the structural engineering sections. However, on
his first attempt, he missed passing the structural engineering sections by
only a couple of points. I think we really need to ask ICBO and BORPELS if
this background is sufficient to stamp and sign structural work,
particularly in Seismic Zone 4. I believe we have gotten at least a partial
answer. In the 1994 Proceedings, published by SEAOC after the convention in
Lake Tahoe (please, don't ask me why I was reading this!!), there is a
paper presented by Jon Traw and prepared by Susan Dowry of ICBO. This paper
was titled "Structural Observation-A Missed Opportunity". I encourage all
of you to read this article, but one paragraph caught my attention.
Regarding "Key Phrases in Section 1702", I quote:

"...the owner shall employ the engineer or architect responsible for the
structural design. During the development of this provision, it became
apparent that the typical structural engineer would like to observe the
construction of all projects, however competitive fees prohibited that from
happening in most cases."

What's wrong with this picture? Is the issue promoted by ICBO truely public
safety?

It's been my experience that the only structural engineering issue that the
Architect should be held accountable for and the only one they're capable
of is making sure the Structural Engineer of Record is paid. Period.

So, maybe we can get off this CE vs. SE issue (for a while, anyway) and
focus on this element.

OK. I'm done.

Regards,
Bill Allen



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From: "Bill Allen, S.E." <ballense(--nospam--at)concentric.net>
To: "SEAOC List Serve" <seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org>
Subject: Engineering Issues ad nauseum
Date: Sat, 19 Apr 1997 15:01:50 -0700
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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.