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RE: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

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I think Bill Allen finally understands my frustration and concern. There are
members of SEA who support Conventional Framing. Not to criticize, but a
member once sent me a note to support SEAOC's work on this section of the
code and actually told me that the '94 and '97 UBC's were much more
restrictive than prior versions.
The problem is that these members who have responded do not design single
family residence and don't run into the same greed mongers that we do who
use the code to line their pockets and who are aware of all of the
Bill mentioned that the Architect was hired to perform structural
engineering. I think the designer was duped. The Architect appears to have
provided a service that the designer could have done on her own as long as
the size and shape of the structure complied with Conventional provisions.
Is it structural engineering to regurgitate the Conventional Framing section
of the code and put your stamp upon it. Developers profit, Architect gets
his fee and possibly a reuse fee for each house and he never had to run one
Bill hit it on the nose - "Ignorance is Bliss".

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Allen, S.E. [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 1998 7:01 AM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

To clarify a couple of issues:

This person is an architect but has been hired by my friend to do the
structural engineering only.

There is a one line paragraph in the B&P code which addresses architects
doing structural engineering. I forget the paragraph number, but if you
insist that I look it up, I will. However, I believe you are correct in that
the way this paragraph is worded, it is something like "architects are
exempt from these provisions..." or something to that effect. This is the
one paragraph which I have consistently stated that should be removed.

My friend has prepared about thirty sheets in her drawing package to cover
the non-engineering issues of the project. The structural "package" consists
of ONE sheet.

If this "standard of care" is acceptable and prevalent in certain areas, no
wonder we structural engineers are considered too expensive and guilty of
"over engineering".

Whether it is BORPELS, BAE or the state legislature, someone somewhere has
allowed a hole in the provisions regulating structural design and this hole
should be closed by someone.

If the true culprit is the Conventional Framing Provisions then there is
something wrong with these provisions. A prescriptive standard should be
more restrictive than a detailed engineered design. Look at the Energy Code.
At least when I was involved with it, there were actually three ways to
check for energy compliance. A prescriptive method was available whereby one
would follow a list of features (max. glazing, min. insulation, etc.). This
method was the easiest (in terms of time) to apply but the most restrictive.
The second method was the "point system" whereby one could do tradeoffs.
This required a little more time, but no computer runs were required. The
third and most comprehensive method was the computer budget method (CALPAS
or MICROPAS) where one would model the energy envelope and determine the
annual energy usage and compare it vs. a standard.

If the true culprit is the Convention Framing Provisions, what we have here
is a case of a simplified method (which costs less in terms of man hours)
being the least restrictive. This application is a true gift for the
untrained designer (and building official) who unknowingly subscribes to the
concept of "ignorance is bliss".

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Greenlaw [mailto:cgreenlaw(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 1998 9:33 PM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

At 05:35 PM 5/20/98 -0500, you wrote:
>IS this a situation that needs "tightened regulations?"  Or is it a case
where the existing regulations are being flouted?
>Check with BORPELS and see if you can get this person cited.
>-----Original Message-----
 What will it take to get BORPELS to tighten the
>regulations on who can do structural engineering (especially in seismic

        "This person" is reportedly an architect. The work done is clearly
included within the practice of architecture, which is exempt from
regulation by the PE Board (BORPELS), but is regulated by the Board of
Architectural Examiners (BAE). If this architect's work is questionable, BAE
would be the place to notify.

        BORPELS often forgets, but it is constrained to enforce only what
the legislature has authorized it to enforce. Same for BAE. The legislature
authorizes architects and civil engineers to do structural engineering for
residential woodframe projects (among other kinds) regardless of seismic
zone. For non-exempt portions of otherwise exempt woodframe residences, the
legislature expressly requires the design to be prepared by an architect or
civil engineer. If this policy appears ill-advised, perhaps you have an
issue to take up with the legislature. But not BORPELS.

        Charles O. Greenlaw, SE    Sacramento CA