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RE: Architects Doing.. Response to Chris Wright

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I believe that there has to be a minimum measure of competency for any level
of professional registration. The Civil exam may not be appropriate as
written to determine the competency of someone wishing to design buildings.
For that matter, it may not ask the appropriate questions for others
designing bridges, or land developments.
Until a point is reached where an engineering applicant can declare his
specialty and become appropriately registered to practice in a narrow or
specific area of competency, we have no choice but to weed out those who
cross the line of competency and abuse the system.
Dennis Wish PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Wright [mailto:chrisw(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Sunday, May 24, 1998 11:14 AM
To: SEAOC Newsletter
Subject: RE: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

> the issue ... infiltrated by
>unqualified professionals who, by the current licensing acts are allowed to
>design structures.
Precisely. And the civil structural field is by no means alone. I heard
tell the other day of an 'engineer' doing seismic analysis who didn't
know the difference between a response spectrum and a time history. My
point is that you don't sort out such people with a one or two day test.
Especially a single problem test that cannot address all the things real
engineers need to know. Passing a test is a first step, like a college
degree-- no test or no degree makes a good engineer or a responsible
engineer, and it doesn't distinguish an engineer who thinks 1 year's
experience repeated 15 times equals 15 years experience. Constant
exposure to new ideas and the experience of other engineers is the only
answer. That's means real continuing education, not just paging through
Engineering News Record in the men's room.

>...specific engineering classification needs to be assigned
>to distinguish those who can prove competency
Classifications aren't the answer either--looks to me that all the
squabbling over SE vs. CE is an outgrowth of trying to protect turf by
making distinctions that don't exist in the real world. The
criterion--the first and great commandment if you like, is thou shalt not
practice in an area where thou art incompetent. My classification doesn't
automatically qualify me for anything: whatever I call myself--if I don't
understand the current standards of practice for what I'm about to do, I
refer the work to someone who does. This is the law that needs to be

>It seems ludicrus that those of us who use are registration to practice
>area's that we are competent need to further prove our skills simply to
>out the bad seeds.
Too true. Especially because a test has about as much diagnostic value as
slamming the door of a used car. I learned how to take tests as a sprog
undergraduate; the notion that someone can take a test and emerge as a
fully formed, technically skilled, responsible, prudent engineer who
knows the art as well as the craft of the trade--there's ludicrous for

>HOWEVER, I would be willing to make the sacrifice if it meant that we can
>finally bar those who cross the line and prevent them from endangering the
How about sacrificing a few hours per year for continuing education ?

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