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Re: Crane Design; SE v. ME

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Drew,

Your question, insofar as it concerns which PE branch is the "proper" one in
California for the manufactured crane apparatus, appears to be a question of
law. The BORPELS Executive Officer is a ME and there are staff CE and ME
personnel, plus experienced legal counsel available to them. It is part of
their duties to answer questions like yours. 

You may look up the definitions of the PE branches on the PE Board website,
which is  http://www.dca.ca.gov/pels  (I'm personally acquainted with the
BORPELS staff and their legal counsel, but I like to look up these things
for myself.)

CE is defined in the PE Act proper; all other branches are defined by Board
Rule (in the California Code of Regulations.) SE is a specialty follow-on of
CE, so the CE definition governs SE. (see PE Act sect 6731 and Bd Rule 404)

If the crane is manufactured by a corporation, it is exempt from needing to
have been designed by any PE. (see PE Act sect 6747)

CE (and thus SE) is defined in the PE Act as including structures, etc., for
"fixed works", generally understood to be non-mobile things such as buildings. 

The original California Board was a CE Board, and adopted the definition of
CE by regulation soon after its start-up in 1929. They sought to distinguish
CE from ME by use of this "fixed works" proviso of the definition, that in
1931 was moved into the Act by the legislature, where it remains. (source:
1930 Board report to the legislature, from state archives) 

According to Sect 6737.2, CE's (and thus SE's) are permitted by the
California PE Act to practice any branch of PE "in connection with or
supplementary to" a CE project. Therefore a SE could undertake to design
cranes and other mechanical apparatus for a particular project without a
licensing problem, subject to the personal competency provisions of Board
Rule 415. Christopher Wright's reply amplifies on that line of reasoning.

I think you will find general agreement that self-propelled cranes are
typically in the ME world. PE Branch definitions are concocted to reflect
existing realities, but aren't so carefully written that all overlap is
precluded. One reason is the existing reality of lots of overlap in the real
world. The definitions are used to sweep in qualifying experience for
licensure, not just to disqualify non-PE's and wrong-branch PE's from
practicing.  

It is possible to turn the PE Branch definitions inside out in the effort to
show who should or should not be designing what. Prominent BORPELS members
have done just that many times in recent years, to no useful or even
honorable effect, and the resulting turf wars have squandered the state
legislature's former good regard for the Board. Unless the legislature
enacts an extension this calendar year, and the governor signs it, existing
law causes the Board to lose all its Boardmembers, and after a certain
additional period, to go out of business totally. The current SEAOC
president two months ago cited two credible sources, one a Boardmember and
the other an engineering society lobbyist, who believe the California Board
has only a 50-50 chance of surviving past this year, with an extension for
only two more years as the best possible alternative. 

A recent thread wondered whether California was going to give SE's exclusive
turf for the engineering of building structures, or raise the experience
requirement from two years to four, to get into a PE exam. It seems less
than likely in the near term, except in the fool's paradise of our minds. 

I have no knowledge of Cal-OSHA.   Jim Fruit points out the building
official's interest in ascertaining the crane complies with building code.
Or would it be mechanical code? I don't recall anything on the moving parts
of cranes in building code. While the building official may require a PE
even if licensing laws don't (according to the building code), it has been
interpreted by legal counsel to the PE Board that local building officials
may not override the state PE Board's statutes and regulations on which
branch is privileged to do what.

Charles O. Greenlaw  SE    Sacramento CA