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Re: SE by Education?

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First, I am not trying to offend SE's, I am only stating a point. You can
just as easily pass the SE exam without knowledge of Residential lightweight
wood framing. This is because residential construction other than multi-unit
residential was not considered sufficient experience to compensate for the
requirments to take and pass the SE exam. It may have changed over the last
few years but the last time I played with the idea of taking the SE exam
(which I have not done to date), I was informed that the extent of
residential design work I did would not be sufficient experience.
Fortunately, I had a very strong background in years of Seismic retrofit of
URM buildings - which does qualify. I have never worked for nor have I
designed tall steel structures, concrete framed buildings, tall masonry (I
have done one or two), parking structures, bridges, and the like. My
practice has been pretty basic - stick to what I do best and know well.
There are PHD's that have gained enough experience from education to take
the SE exam in California. I know a few. Now, they have been licensed for at
least fifteen years and possibly the regulations have changed. Let me know,
I would be interested in this knowledge.
Finally, one of our list members has been writting back and forth with me as
he intends to work his way into timber construction. He has had no prior
experience in this area as his experience is in concrete and steel. He is
qualified to take the SE exam without the knowledge of wood.
So what makes wood different from other materials except that the buildling
codes have considered the cost of life of one family compared to
multi-residential, commercial and industrial, to be of low risk importance
and therefore not worthy of of SE's who have more experience and need to
work on projects more in keeping with their proven status.
I am deliberatly being cynical since I believe that wood design is as
important as any other material and am pleased to have a very strong
knowledge of it.
Suddenly, after Loma Prieta, Northridge and Hurricane Andrew the Insurance
Industry has shifted their concern and attention to wood construction and
the necessity for hazard mitigation and improvement in the construction and
detailing phases. Why should the Insurance companies be the main motivation
for our concern whether a family is devasted by loss of life or by loss of
assets. Either way you look at it a displaced family or a dead one is a
So don't misunderstand my comments. Having an SE designation is not a
guarantee that the individual is any more competent than his CE
counterpart - it is only that he is expected to be.
Dennis Wish PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom.Hunt(--nospam--at) <Tom.Hunt(--nospam--at)>
To: SEAOC(--nospam--at) <SEAOC(--nospam--at)>
Date: Friday, January 23, 1998 5:01 PM
Subject: SE by Education?

>     Dennis Wish wrote:
>     "Bill, I really wasn't trying to point fingers, just make a statement
>     of fact. There are SE's out there who obtained the designation by
>     education alone (PHD's etc) or by working on public works projects and
>     who have little or no experience in the private sector."
>     -------------------------------------------------------------------
>     I hope Dennis is not referring to Licensed SEs.  100 PHDs will not get
>     you an SE license in Calif. (unless you were old enough for the
>     grandfather clause, i.e. very old).  Just to take the exam you need at
>     least three licensed SEs to verify (under perjury of the law) that the
>     applicant has in fact performed real world structural engineering.
>     There is also a minimum requirement for the number of years worked
>     past obtaining your college degree.
>     Thomas Hunt,
>     Fluor Daniel