John Ott asked:
> What can be done to bring the standard of engineering practices up to a
> of Code compliance?
In my opinion, there is a significant problem with the lack of definition of
what "Standard of Care" means in contract documents. It is obvious that the
meaning of standard of care can vary between structure types, different
engineering firms, and different individual engineers. Especially in the
area of structural engineering, which involves alot of number crunching and
interpretation of code requirements, I feel that clearer standards need to
be established in our profession.
As for my own pet peeve, I feel that all engineered structures should be
checked by a qualified individual other than the preparer. Everyone makes
mistakes, and as you have pointed out, even "judgement" needs to be at least
reviewed by someone else to make sure designs are reasonable. I have worked
in industries where checking of calculations and drawings is the "standard
of care", and I've rarely found a design calculation which is 100% correct -
some errors are minor and some can be significant.
In the past couple of years I have reviewed contractor submittals of sealed
design calculations for braced excavations, pre-engineered buildings,
prestressed concrete elements, steel connection calcs (non-seismic), and
alternate structure designs and have found that none have been checked
(unless it is clearly stated in the specifications that checking is
required) - and most have had obvious or significant errors. Since there is
no defined standard of care that says that checking is required, I must
either perform the checking myself or accept the unchecked design on the
basis that the standard of care for the submitter's industry is different
than mine. Consequently, I now add to my specifications for submittals with
design requirements that calculations must be checked by a qualified
individual and documentation of checking submitted.