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Re: Stamping Calculations

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Monte Griffiths wrote: 
 
> Are we still professionals if we need someone to always check our work? < 
 
My question is "are we acting professionally if we don't have our
calculations 
checked?"  We shouldn't confuse pride with professionalism.  
 
> I mean to say, perhaps the problem is not enough time (read money) to do 
a proper job. < 
 
This is also a concern of mine - but extra time for one person will not 
necessarily prevent errors.  Rather extra time/money is needed for a proper 
checking job.  
 
> Do doctors or attorneys need their work independently checked before they 
can do their thing?. Should they? Typically no, they are considered 
professionals and as such, they are trusted to practice their profession
with 
the judgement and skill they supposedly are proven to have (by education and 
exam). < 
 
Professional Engineers must also exercise their judgement - but structural 
analysis and design involves alot of number crunching and detail development 
for each project.  This is where structural engineering differs from the 
practice of law or medicine.  In calculations it is very easy to make an
error 
in units, or load factors, or miss a critical design case, etc.  The checker 
should be responsible for not only checking the math but also the
assumptions 
and methodology.  But where there is disagreement on issues of judgement,
the 
responsible professional engineer should have the final say.   
 
Regarding doctors, it is generally recommended that a patient get a second 
opinion on critical non-emergency surgery.  And I would assume that detailed 
written medical procedures are reviewed by more than one physician.  In the 
legal system, I the court system acts as a "check" on the attorneys.  And on 
large important cases, usually a team of attorneys handle the case. 
 
> Are mistakes in structural engineering more critical than a physician in 
surgery? In some ways I would say yes.  But really, if we (structural 
engineers) cannot be trusted to competently design structures without
needing 
some else to perform a complete review of all that we did, I wonder if being
a 
S.E. (or a P.E. 
for that matter) really means anything, or if structural engineering is 
really a "practice". < 
 
As others have pointed out, the work of engineers can affect the lives of
many 
people.  I would also point out that our work involves projects of 
considerable cost and potential financial loss.  I think that as
professionals 
we owe our clients designs which have been confirmed to be without error to 
the best of our ability.   
 
If nothing else, engineering contracts should spell out whether design 
checking is required so that clients know what they are getting and 
engineering fees can be set accordingly.