Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

SECE - New Catagory, SOS

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

-----Original Message-----
From:	Bill Allen [SMTP:BAllenSE]
Sent:	Wednesday, October 08, 1997 6:55 PM
To:	'seaoc(--nospam--at)'
Subject:	RE: SE,CE ad nauseum
With regards to the topic itself, it should be obvious to all of 
those who have followed my comments on this topic the last 
several months that I feel that this is the single most 
important topic to practicing engineers in California. To 
capsulate, I have less of a problem with civil engineers doing 
structural engineering (particularly those of the caliber 
participating on this list serve) than I do with architects 
practicing structural engineering, the general public _thinking_ 
that architects provide structural engineering services and 
civil engineers with very little structural engineering 
experience being able to stamp and sign structural designs in 
seismic zone 4. I would prefer the discussion drift towards 
these areas, but I will participate no matter what direction 
this topic takes us.

I agree with Bill, but rather than be as verbose as most of you 
accuse me, I wish to point out that we can not address the 
important issues that Bill is concerned with until we complete 
Step One. IMHO, the first step is to re-define by title and 
license those professionals qualified to practice in the area of 
Structural Engineering. Before we can restrict Architects from 
practicing in this area, we must stop the flow of new engineers 
entering structural engineering who should be in land only. 
 Until the CE exam is rewritten, the only way to do this is as 
1. Have existing CE's declare their field of expertise by 
reference, review of past work or additional testing as a last 
2. Separate  the CE exam into two categories: CE/land and 
CE/structures. Have new engineers declare by application and by 
reference (experience) their specialty - land or structure. Let 
them take the exam that covers the area of specialty only. To be 
qualified in both areas would require a second test and addit  
ional work references (and additional experience requirements). 
In this definition, a graduate with two years experience must be 
working for those years in one of the other specialty.
3. Reclassify (I know many of you do not like this) the CE in 
the area of structures to SE and elevate the existing SE to SE 
expert or some such designation.
4. Redefine the B&P code to allow only SE designated engineers 
in seismic zone 3 and 4 to design structures - period.
5. Go after the Architects by using the new definition in the 
B&P code or by legislature.
6. Finally, start to weed out the unqualified engineer who 
sneaks in by allowing the building official to file complaints 
with BORPELS based upon review of submitted work. This is, 
perhaps the most troublesome part of the plan since it does not 
protect the engineer from frivolous complaints. This becomes 
time consuming for BORPELS, but is probably cheaper than 
creating new legislation and funding for public advertising.

None of these areas are perfect or fool-proof, but based upon 
our debates. However, this allows the community to weed out the 
unqualified, declare new applicants and limit the authority of 
architects with possibly the lowest cost to the public. The most 
pragmatic solution is that the public no longer has to be 
educated in the determining who is qualified, they only need to 
choose an SE or SE expert. Those that need an SE expert will 
generally not be the general public but larger businesses that 
already understand that they need the top authority in the SE 

We should consider the public's safety before we consider our 
squabble within the profession on titles. These steps are 
intended to protect the public from unsafe design, unethical 
business practices to profit from natural disasters and major 
loses to the insurance industry by poor or inadequate design and 
construction practice.

There is one more advantage to this plan, we will have more 
power to change those area's of the code that allow 
non-professionals from designing without understanding how to 
tie a load path together. The conventional framing section of 
the UBC is one such area. ICBO has too much power based upon the 
distribution of votes to their membership. SEA (including NSPE, 
CASE, ASCE and others) should be allowed the majority vote on 
issues of structural design. If this were true, I believe that 
we would not have the Conventional framing section of the code, 
or that it would be written with much stricter guidelines for 
design of interior braced panels and actual load distribution.

There are many outreaching advantages to something as simple as 
starting within our own profession and creating clear and 
distinct limits and titles.

Dennis Wish PE