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Re: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

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In a message dated 98-05-23 12:09:17 EDT, you write:

>  With regards to fighting NAHB, etc., an effort
>  could be assembled to demonstrate an increase in public safety as well as a
>  decrease in potential property damage which should get the state
legislature
>  and the insurance industry on our side to counterbalance the trade
>  associations.

Let me give you a historical example of what to expect when you play in the
legislative arena, and what it takes to achieve a measure of success.  I was
both a participant and observer as AB 717 (1995) evolved and became law.  It
was sponsored by the California Building Officials (CALBO), and was an attempt
to upgrade the level of knowledge and competence of building department staff.
To quote from the Legislative Counsel's Digest, "This bill would establish
specific certifications, training, and continuing education requirements for
construction inspectors, plans examiners, and building officials, as defined,
who are employed by a local agency ..." 
 
The bill as introduced would have had some effect and teeth, and over time
would have improved building departments.  But when the lobbyists got through
with it, the law was relatively toothless, leaving it up to each jurisdiction
to determine what types, if any, of certifications are to be required of its
building department staff.  CALBO tried to put a good spin on the outcome and
declared mission accomplished.   But B.O.s know better.  Readers can see the
chaptered version, and the 8 earlier amended versions that were created in the
tortuous path to approval, on this page:
www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_717&sess=PREV&house=B

The amended versions will give readers a sense, but not a clear or complete
picture, of the lobbying and jockeying that were engaged in by vested
interests as the bill evolved, including CALBO, the California Chapter of the
Building Industry Association (BIA is  comprised of major tract builders), the
NAHB, the Western Fire Chiefs Association, the Consulting Engineers
Association, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical
Officials, the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, the AIA,
etc, etc.  And oh yes, SEAOC at first took no position, and finally offered
support only after the bill had been amended into toothlessness.  As you would
expect, CBIA and NAHB didn't want more knowledgeable and competent staff.  Not
only would such folks cause more trouble during plan check and in the field
and raising costs, they'd want more money as "professionals", and that would
raise permit fees.  Other 'professional' groups were wary of encroachments
into their turf.  Still others wanted a piece of the action in certifying
people (the original thought was to use ICBO's certifications).  And so it
went, etc, etc. ad nauseum.  SEAOC wasn't viewed as a credible player until
the Sacramento office was established.  Up to that time, we were four
splintered voices that sometimes didn't agree among ourselves.  With previous
listserv postings of myopic opinions that the Sacto office should be closed
down as an alternative to increasing the dues $10 to support it, I doubt that
engineers will ever sufficiently united to make much headway in Sacramento. 
  
>  ... However, when it comes down to leaving the cuccoon and go outside to
>  take some action, for some reason the energy level drops dramatically. 

We do occasionally agree.  You've hit the nail on the head (or thumb). 

>  Unfortunately, Frank, I believe your opinion represents the (do nothing)
majority.

I'm a realist who has tired of playing Don Quixote.  It's your turn.

Frank Lew, SE
Orinda, CA