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RE: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

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-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Wright [mailto:chrisw(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Saturday, May 23, 1998 9:36 AM
To: SEAOC Newsletter
Subject: RE: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

>c.. Require civil-civils who wish to do structural engineering pass a
>one problem, long hand test which will clearly demonstrate that the person
>knows how to design and detail a lateral load path (see my sample problem
>previously submitted). The civil engineers who currently practice
>engineering full time will have no problem whatsoever with this exam. This
>exam would be proctored and graded by SEs.
And and will this one problem test help grade those who do highway or
rail bridges or machinery supports or ag structures like bins? A single
problem test is way too narrow. Residential construction is important but
homes aren't the only structures and seismic/wind isn't the only hazard.

[Bill Allen]
No, but unfortunately here in CA, it is an area of practice where a lot of,
IMO, un-qualified/underqualified people are allowed to stamp and sign
drawings. This work represents a significant number of structures providing
habitat for lots of people.

Nor is any one or two day test a proper classifier of competence.
Engineering registration testing should be far more concerned with first
principles. My guess is that a thoughtfully planned continuing education
requirement will go a helluva lot further toward improving competence
than a one problem make-or-break exam.

[Bill Allen]
My proposal is not to replace the examinations already in place. IMO, the
civil exam and curriculum is too broad to develop a specialty in structural
engineering when practicing in high seismic regions. The concepts and
practices do not require a lot of sophisticated expertise, just a reasonable
amount mixed in with some practical experience and proper procedures to
ensure the structure is built the way the designer intended it. As I stated
earlier, I believe continuing education would be better served by architects
and contractors. We do plenty every time a new building code comes out.

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

Thanks for your input,
Bill Allen