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RE: Survey, final result (Corrected)

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I must be ill, but I agree with Bill on his suggestions for weeding out the
non-structural professionals. I like the idea of his one problem exam - this
makes sense (gosh, I can't believe I am sitting here agreeing with him on
this issue rather than feeling threatened).
I think Bill's idea of E&O insurance is ludicrous (just so no one will
accuse me of becoming an Allen sympathizer). The only advantage to his
argument is to support the over inflated legal profession. However, to be
fair, if he thinks that cure the plague of frivolous lawsuits and
Cross-complaints that plague us all, we might rethink having coverage. As
long as the pot of gold exists to insure an attorney a return compensation
for his time to work on contingency, E&O insurance will remain nothing more
than a tasty bait for the legal sharks.
Maybe if Bill dumps his insurance, he wouldn't have the "hellhounds on his
tail" and he would be able to pocket more profit rather than establishing a
trust fund for the insurance and legal piranhas families.
Dennis Wish PE
-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Allen, S.E. [mailto:billallen(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 1998 5:36 PM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Survey, final result (Corrected)

Even though we were joking, I believe you deserve a better (and more
complete) answer than my previous response. My concern is not with
professionals with your education and experience. IMO, you would be well
qualified to practice here in CA. Something that you may not know is that,
in CA, Architects and Civil Engineers are also allowed to stamp and sign
structural drawings. Architects here generally have about a semester and a
half of structural engineering courses (I don't know how detailed the
curriculum gets) and Civil Engineers can (or did, I think it may be changing
to 4 years) get a PE two years out of school. Many CEs here in the US get a
BSCE degree which means a lot of their engineering courses are not
structural. Further, a lot of Civils don't do structural engineering on a
regular basis; just maybe when the economy gets slow and there are no
subdivisions to design.

My solution if in charge (scary thought, huh?) would be a simple one.
Assuming that the general background of those holding a CA SE is
satisfactory (they generally have to work 3 years for a licensed SE and take
a 16 hr structural exam after passing the CE), my focus would be on the
"others" who are allowed to practice structural engineering. These "others"
are Architects and Civil Engineers. I would require all Architects and Civil
Engineers who wanted to practice or advertise an expertise in structural
engineering to take a simple, one problem exam. This exam would be a two
story, "L" shaped building. The materials can be anything (wood walls and
wood diaphragms, masonry walls and wood diaphragms, steel frames with metal
deck and concrete fill or reinforced concrete frames/shear walls with a
concrete slab). The requirements would be to:

1. Develop the base shear stating all assumptions
2. Perform a vertical distribution of the base shear.
3. Determine the stresses in the diaphragms
4. Prepare a preliminary/schematic design of the diaphragms
5. Determine the forces on the lateral force resisting elements
6. Prepare a preliminary/schematic design of the lateral force resisting
7. Design the connections such that there is a continuous load path from
roof to foundation.

Only a calculator would be acceptable and the forces in moment frames (if
used) could be estimated using any logical method ("assuming a point of
inflection at the midheight of the columns, the moments in the columns would
be..."). Sketches, explanations, etc. would count a great deal (maybe more
than the calculations) and partial credit would be liberal (I hate that

Another element I would propose is mandatory E&O insurance (just like the
requirements to register a car here). The goal of this requirement is to
mitigate competition with "moonlighters" who have no overhead costs and, in
a weak economy, drive down engineering fees to a dangerously low level. For
all of the moonlighters reading this, don't get upset. I have no problem
with what you do on your own time, just charge the same as you would if you
had to pay for an office.

Bill Allen

-----Original Message-----
From: John Nichols <cejn(--nospam--at)>
To: seaoc(--nospam--at) <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Wednesday, April 29, 1998 4:41 PM
Subject: Re: Survey, final result (Corrected)

>Dear Bill,
>I have a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours and a University Medal,  I am
>almost completed a PhD in Masonry, in dynamics  at Newcastle University
>under Adrain Page,
>I have won awards for repairs to St Andrews Church from the Institution of
>Engineers for seismic retrofit to the Church.
>I canna practice under your  BORPELS rules.
>How much more restricitve do you wanna get
>John Nichols
>(this is a leg pull off as my 3 yr old daughter would say)
>At 13:13 29/04/98 -0700, you wrote:
>>Now that this survey question is complete (I guess we can have job posts
>>here), should we ponder the next survey question? Maybe we should query
>>whether BORPELS should be more restrictive on who can practice structural
>>engineering in seismic zone 4?
>>Bill Allen
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Shafat Qazi <seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)>
>>To: seaoc(--nospam--at) <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
>>Date: Wednesday, April 29, 1998 12:21 PM
>>Subject: Survey, final result (Corrected)
>>>Here are the final results: (Corrected)
>>>62% Voted YES
>>>38% Voted NO
>>>A total of 137 people participated in the survey.