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Re: Error in Phone Book - Structural Engineers

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Lynn Howard wrote:

> dennismc wrote:
> > You are a Civil Engineer and nothing else, no matter what area you
> work
> > in.  What ever your license says you are is what you are.
> I have misinterpreted these statements before in the recent past, but
> surely
> you say this in jest!  To suggest that Dennis is not a capable
> structural
> engineer is amazing.  He is in fact licensed to do structural
> engineering in
> the State of California on any structure except schools, hospitals,
> and high
> rise buildings.  I really really hope you are just saying this is
> jest.

Partially in jest but certainly not questioning anyone's capabilities.
I know Dennis and don't question that.  All structurals were at one time
civils doing structural work.  A vast amount of the engineering work is
done by civils.  My point was that being a Civil Engineer already
defines their right to practice structural engineering with limits. The
debate is over a fine line of definition of services by various
professional categories.

> > If you want to continue to talk the talk, take the dam exam and
> prove to
> > yourself and the rest of us that you are worthy of the title.
> Now he has to take the "dam" exam!!!  I thought it was Civil engineers
> that
> design dams, and his license already says he is a Civil, right!!  So
> is
> Dennis a dam engineer or not??

Of course he is.  A dam is a structure whether it is wood, concrete or
dirt and needs to be designed to resist the forces imposed on it.  It's
just a different shape than a building and the forces are induced a
little different.  Very similar to a retaining wall.  I practice little
land civil but I have designed wood and concrete dams, as a structural

I would also rather set through the exam for a couple of days than waste
my time doing continuing education courses.  There are plenty of other
things to do and learn besides engineering.   If I run across a subject
I am not up to snuff on, I'll most likely have the information I need in
my hands in a few days and be up to snuff shortly there after.   One of
the benefits of this list server is that we can and do help each other
to find information and share experiences and information.

> >  Anything short of this is just verbal retoric justifying your
> inabilty to
> > go the distance.
> If anything is "rhetoric", and is not truly representative of a
> persons
> ability to provide structural engineering services, it is the
> Structural
> Exam.  It speaks more to ones ability to take exams than anything
> else.
> Both myself and my partner took the exam in 1984.  We studied together
> 3
> nights a week for 3 months.  We both knew this stuff inside and out by
> exam
> time.  I passed, he didn't.  And I can assure you, as can anyone else
> who
> knows my partner (Greg Van Sande), that he is every bit as capable as
> I am,
> and I know that some think he is a better structural engineer than I.

You get no argument from me on this Lynn.  A lot of it, I think, is just
luck that you might get enough problems on the exam you are familiar
with.  What you need to do is become experienced in many different types
of systems.  Being able to work quickly and in an organized manner is a
great assest in passing exams.  Isn't that what is being tested in the
exam anyway, one who is proficient in many types of structural systems
and one that can quickly or instintivly know solutions.

> I vote we let Dennis advertise under the category as "Structural
> Engineer",
> and give him a special license to include the design of schools (I
> have yet
> to figure out what is so special about school buildings.  The vast
> majority
> are wood framed type V buildings).

The big difference in doing school/hospital work is the quality
control.  A real licensed structural engineer (not some failed
contractor turned inspector or some draftsman that became a cheker by
being able to read plans and fill out forms) will read and check every
calculation, cross check it with the plans, and check it very closely
with the code and the ever changing current policies of ORS/DSA.  They
will most likely take the most conservative interrpetation of grey
area.  After that, his supervisor will review his work and yours.  2
structural engineers will have checked it.  The code requirements are
not that much different than UBC, some load factors are different and
you may not get some of the UBC increases.  Detailing requiraemnts are
different and a greater number of details and drawings (show every
connection from every view) will be required than on a normal UBC job.
You will find that things you have had approved hundreds of times before
with no problems before are suddenly no longer acceptable.

The field work is much more intense.  Every single verbal instruction or
change you make will have to be documented and processed.  You will be
required to make several field visits, make many reports and sign an
affidavit that everything was done according to plans and
specifications.  A licensed structural engineer from ORS/DSA will also
make field visits to make sure the testing lab, full time inspector,
contractor, special inspectors and you are all doing your job.

I've never seen any city or county agency under UBC jurisdiction that
will come close to this level of quality control which extends from
planning to final occupancy of the project.

Other than that, little difference.

> I know that if anyone calls on Dennis
> because of seeing his listing in the phone book that they will not be
> defrauded.  And that is what we are really concerned with isn't it.
> The
> issue isn't that we want to limit competition by eliminating people
> who are
> indeed qualified, but haven't passed a test that would allow them to
> design
> buildings that they don't design anyway.  This shouldn't be a tool
> used to
> limit competition.

I'm not worried about the competition.  I actually live 600 miles from
Dennis.   I don't generally like or want the jobs I get from the phone
book either.  Now that I am an architect, I hardly ever offer my
services as structural engineer anymore.   I go for the architectural
contracts and being structural engineer is just one of the many hats I

Bottom line is Dennis Wish wants to create a new category to distinguish
between land civils, structural civils and structurals.  I don't.  I
think structural engineering is too close to structural engineer.  (One
is a thing and the other is what the thing does, does that make sense?)
The public is not going to be anymore enlightend by trying to
distinguish between these 2 definitions, or in most cases care.  If
anything they would be more confused.  Maybe they should be called
building engineers.

Since we are on my 2 cents worth, there is a definition I found in the
SEAONC newsletter I think of quite often when reading some of these
debates over very minor things.

Which do you think is a more realistic definition of a structural

Definition No. 1

     Structural Engineering is the science and art of designing and
     making, with economy and elegance, buildings, bridges, frameworks
     and other similar structures so that they can safely resist the
     forces to which they may be subjected.

Definition No. 2

     Structural Engineering is the art of molding materials we do not
     entirely understand into shapes we cannot precisely analyze so as
     to withstand forces we cannot really assess, in such a way that the
     community at large has no reason to suspect the extent of our