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Re: Should Structural Engineering be Separted from Civil Engineering

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I wholeheartly agree with the idea of separating Structural Engineering
from the other Civil fields.  It would allow other course work to be
substituted for that coursework which may not be useful. Some areas that
newly graduated structural engineers are sadly lacking in include:

1. being able to think in 3 dimensions (I have found Architects to be
good at this)
2. relating the practical to the theoretical
3. understanding of basic principals / theories
4. detailing
5. interacting with other disciplines
6. history of structural engineering
7. communication skills (oral and written)
8. being able to develop alternate solutions (Architects are also good
at this)

Perhaps some courses could be developed to address these shortcomings.
Milo had some very good suggestions with regard to additional coursework
and mentoring.

As far as licensing is concerned, I believe that the P.E. is too general
and should be for a specific area of practice only or other licenses
such as S.E. should be used. Cross over between disciplines should be
allowed only for minor work. I believe that Architects and perhaps other
Civils could be allowed to design perhaps one and two stories simple
buildings with no seismic loads. By the same token Structural Engineers
should be able to do all the engineering and architecture on one and two
story simple warehouse type structures that house a minimum of
inhabitats. I agree with the crossover of Structural Engineers into such
fields as stress analysis and aerospace.

Although I like the influence that a large organization like ASCE can
provide us, are they doing an adequate job in representing our needs?
Influence can also be gain through coalitions with other organizations.
We have been heading this way  with SEAOC, SEAINT, etc. We have all
these separate state organizations, but only CASE and ASCE on the
national level. I believe England also has a separate organization
representing Structural Engineers.

I think it would do alot to enhance our profession in status as well as
provide a better education for our young engineers.


Jim Kestner, P.E.
Green Bay, Wi.