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Re: Architects and Human Occupancy

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-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Allen <BAllenSE(--nospam--at)>
To: 'seaoc(--nospam--at)' <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Friday, October 03, 1997 3:03 PM
Subject: RE: Architects and Human Occupancy

Before this goes much further I want to put in my two cents worth. First of all, I realize there are quite a few civil engineers capable of doing a good job of structural engineering. Both the UBC and BORPELS allow civil engineers to do structural engineering. However, I think that if civil engineers want to use the title "structural engineer" then they should take (and pass) the damn test!! Although I have pointed out on my previous posts that I do not believe there is enough financial reward to justify taking the exam, I am proud that I took and passed an exam that most could not. Those who have not paid that price should not be able to use the title and, if they have to dance around the phrase "civil engineer doing structural engineering", so be it. Tough. If you don't like it, take the damn test!! 

We have gone too far in this discussion to take a step backward simply to protect a couple of words. This does not, in any way, denegate or degrade the goals accomplished by what is now termed Structural Engineers. In fact, as I understand it, SEAOC is considering the term Structural Engineer Expert to be attached to the existing SE.
BTW I had to respond this way since the new IE4.0 does not place a > symbol before existing text to differentiate it from the response.
We all seem to be in agreement that Structural engineering is a subset of Civil engineering. What we are trying to protect is the public, not our ego's.
No doctor, lawyer, teacher, engineer, architect or any other profession serving the publics trust should have to "dance around a phrase", it should be clear and concise and define the work that we do.
This protects the public by eliminating the "civil/civil" and architect from being associated with "structural engineering" AND it provides a way for the public to know who to trust to provide the work that they need. It also provides a very important protection for the public that prevents them from being taken advantage of by unqualified professionals.
It is not perfect, but it would eliminate much of the misrepresentation that exists today.
None of us who have responded want to be disrespectful to those of you who have worked hard to pass an exam that we recognize grants you the authority to practice in area's that we CE's can not. However, just because you passed the exam, you should not penalize the rest of the community who are granted similar rights by examination right to have representation that provides for their safety.

I never did like SEAOC allowing civil engineers becoming full members with voting priveleges. After all, it's the Structural Engineers' Association of California, not the Structural Engineers' and Civil Engineers Providing Structural Engineering Services Association. With regards to the distribution of membership between CEs and SEs, dues are cheap. For 185 bucks, you get a vote. Big deal.

SEAOC would not survive without the dues from member-CE's. They are undergoing financial crisis at this very moment and are looking for ways to generate income. Don't forget that this organization is devoted to the entire field of structural engineering and is not limited to the special skills required for high-rise and knowledge to design and stamp essential facilities.
The members and board of directors of SEAOC (and each chapter) must have recognized this in order to elevate the status of CE associates to members - which elevated our dues as well.
Without voting priveleges, the oportunity to sit on the board of directors (as Dave Brieholtz CE did for many years), and acknowledgment that the 40% of CE members serve the structural engineering community, membership in SEAOC would serve no purpose to CE-members. We deserve equal representation if you SE's are working with our dues. Many of the volunteer members that serve the committees of SEAOC (and those that created this List and write SEAOC Online) are licensed CE's - regardless of whether they wish to pass the SE or not. These members where integral members of committees that created the codes which SE's and CE's both use. Many CE's provided the minds and idea's - at their own expense - to work for the professional community while you try to prevent them for clearly defining the work that they do in the title they use. Please don't argue that the title CE defines their work - the public and other professional trades clearly do not understand this. I firmly believe that the majority of SE's and CE's who responded to this thread believe the title act needs reform.
If you want to think of SEAOC as really representing your own private fraternaty of SE status, think again how effective SEAOC would be without 40% of their membership. Think about how effective each of the committees would be had it not been for their CE volunteers. Think of how we would be debating if this list were not set up by members of the CAC committee that includes Shafat and I - who are CE's.
Having an SE attached to your name has nothing what-so-ever to do with Structural Engineers Association. This organization was intended to be a fellowship of engineers serving the structural engineering community and an organization devoted to "safer buildings through structural engineering".
Dennis McCroskey pointed out very clearly just why the term SE came to be in his post and I won't reiterate. Just remember that when SEAOC was started some sixty years ago, there was no SE classification.

No one should look for my support in blurring the line between CEs doing structural engineering and SEs. On this list serve, we should be focusing on the architects, civil-civils and others anyway. 

Great, because the intention is to sharpen and clarify the distinctions rather than blur them. Therefore, I would expect your support,  "SE-Expert".
Seriously, we are addressing the archtitects and civil-civil's by clearly defining the responsibility of those "qualified" to practice structural engineering. Once this is done, we can stop architects and CE/CE's from designing structures unless they can prove their ability. We can then define the line where structural design and architectural design meet.
Dennis Wish PE