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RE: SEAOC - Plan Review Comments - Outrage!!!

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I can't believe we are back on the SE vs. CE issue. Dennis, the SE exam is 
about more than just schools, hospitals and high rise buildings. In fact, I 
don't recall any questions on the exam that distinguishes between the CA 
version of the UBC and the "regular" UBC. The exam requires an additional 
three years of experience and passing the exam demonstrates that the 
examinee is more than a casual user of the structural provisions of the 
code. I know you don't like tests, but you should at least order some of 
the past exams to review the material. Once you have reviewed the exams, 
and then compared the SE exam with the structural problems on the CE exam, 
you will readily conclude that, in general, the examinee passing the SE 
exam has demonstrated more expertise in structural engineering that he/she 
did taking the CE exam.

If you were really interested in public safety, which I do not believe is 
your motivation on this issue, you would support the adoption of the 
California Building Code (at least for seismic zone 4) for all structures 
excluding single family residences. I believe your real motivation is that 
you want to be able to call yourself "structural engineer" without paying 
the price. As you are aware, the CBC is more than just requiring a SE 
stamp. There are mandated tests and inspections which drastically improve 
the quality control of the structural system. Short of this solution, the 
two tier approach would be the only other palatable solution.

Bill Allen

-----Original Message-----
From:	Dennis S. Wish [SMTP:wish(--nospam--at)]
Sent:	Wednesday, March 25, 1998 10:38 PM
To:	Seaoc@Seaoc. Org
Cc:	Hassan Zarenejad; Williston Warren IV; Pat Buskovich; SEAOC; Don 
Subject:	SEAOC - Plan Review Comments - Outrage!!!

I received my copies of the March 1998 Plan Review. First off I'd like to
congratulate SEAOC on producing a very good looking and informative
newsletter. I do have strong opinions on two of the articles and warn the
reader that this post is long.


I support an exam that more rigidly addresses the provisions of Chapter 16
of the UBC and comparable national codes. I don't feel that an engineer
practicing in Missouri, for example, needs to have any less knowledge of
lateral force distribution than an  engineer in California. I believe that
no area of this country is free from the effects of seismic or wind.
Therefore, it is important, in the very least, to have an understanding of
the forces which govern.

A national exam will allow an engineer reciprocity in other states as well
as unify compliance for those who wish to move where the work is. I believe
that BORPELS and NCEES need to combine efforts, utilizing the strengths of
each, to unify the exam process.

It's no surprise to most that I am an advocate for two-tiered structural
engineering licensing. In this respect, I am seriously concerned about the
tone of the last paragraph of this article. It states:

"As SEAOC continues to look at the registration/licensing of structural
engineers in California and the nation (in cooperation with the National
Council of Structural Engineers Associations), the findings of this
Subcommittee may help point us in a direction which we may wish to 
The report points out that most states are now using the NCEES Structural 
Examination as the first licensing examination an applicant takes. The
BORPELS Subcommittee found this examination is not specifically developed
for use as a "mastery examination." A 'masters' level would be for licensed
engineers wishing to pursue registration or title authority to distinguish 
level of competency substantially above entry level licensing. The report
further points out that in fact, "The California Structural examination is
defined by its use as a "mastery examination" for purposes of the 
engineering title." Viewing the practice of structural engineering in terms
of two levels of competency may provide us with fertile ground for further
discussions on the licensing/registration for structural engineers."

I object to the term "Entry level" exam. An exam should NOT be given that
would allow the use of any title nor grant any authority to any person who
has not proven an acceptable level of competency in the field of practice.
Entry level implies room for error and the need to be supervised, novice 
beginner - certainly not the picture of an engineer competent to practice
under sole proprietorship. With respect to those titled SE, the only
difference in testing should be in the additional special knowledge (code
compliance) required of the practice on essential facilities and structures
above 160 feet (or heights as designated by governing codes).

The implications in this article originate from the assumption that the
existing CE exam is adequate for engineers who have not specified a field 
expertise. The purpose of a two-tiered system is not simply to leave the
public in jeopardy of the bottom-feeders who decide to cross lines of
competency in order to profit from natural disaster. Nor should it simply
elevate the mastery and clarity of the SE title to set it farther apart 
those equally qualified to practice "structural engineering". The real
purpose of a two-tiered title should be to limit the applicant who wishes 
practice structural engineering and test those skills necessary to prove
competency in this field. Let the Civils who wish to devote their practice
to land have full use of the CE title, if only for the sake and clarity
needed for the general public to understand the difference in titles. This
fosters protection and eliminates confusion by non-professionals.

Before we solve the problem of what title to designate on a two-tiered
system, those decision and policy makers must understand that the change in
examination procedure must start at the very basic level for the simple, 
most important reason - the protection of the public.

Therefore, I would request that the members of the Professional Activities
Committee re-define their goals to our membership in clearer and more
definitive rhetoric. I also suggest that the membership not allow a 
to be taken by SEAOC without debate as to what the members actual expect of
the agreement between BORPELS and NCEES.