In a message dated 5/17/99 8:04:12 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
<< Christopher Wright P.E. >>
I kind of lost you on the analogies. However, I'm not sure we disagree at all.
First, it's important not to misunderstand my intention. There really is only
one individual to protect from a practicioneer who is unqualified to practice
and that is the building owner. It doesn't matter the incompetent is an
engineer, architect or some layperson who decides that he or she can by an
engineering in a shrink-wrap.
However, you can't really expect that the software developer or retail outlet
that sells the product is capable of determining the users competency.
Therefore, the only line of protection that the public has is the same as we
have for incompetence who operate manually - the building official.
One problem is that this is a heavy responsiblity to place on the official
and even he is not immune to abuse of his power.
This does not mean that he should ignore the situation, but we have to trust
that when a professional or non-professional does not show a level of
competency in his work, the building offical should be reqired to investigate
and carry it to the state licensing / registration level if needed.
I don't agree that the owner is responsible for who he hires. In the case of
engineers, most homeowners believe that the architect does all the work and
rarely understands when he is told that he has to pay thousands to an
engineer for services he does not understand. Owners also believe that when
the building official places his permit stamp on the drawings, everything is
equal - including quality of construction.
The reason is that the public is simply ignorant of the professional
responsiblities and why not? They may enter into contract with an engineer
only once in their lifetime. Why not trust your contractor or architect who
you may use more than once?
I believe that incompetence should be captured at the plan review stage and
steps should be taken to prevent those who abuse the priviledge from
practicing until they become competent.