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re: Eng--Low Profile

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I do not believe the title 'P.E.' (or P.Eng. here in Canada) exists to
honour or convey respect to the holder, I believe it exists to inform  the
public that the holder of this designintion is qualified and professionally
obligated to act in the public interest with respect to engineering
matters. It exists to protect people such as myself, who procure the
services of engineers, from unscrupulous and/or unqualified persons
attempting to practice engineering. That is why the designations are
restricted to people who have met the prescribed criteria, and cannot be
used by others. I realize the matter is complicated by issues that have
been discussed at length on this list such as architects who are not
competent to do so offering engineering services and the civil vs
structural debate, but let's put those aside for the moment and just look
at the REAL (IMHO) reason the title of Professional Engineer exists:
people's safety. It has nothing to do with individual 'status' or
'respect', whether or not the letters P.E. convey 'status' or 'respect' may
be an interesting philosophical discussion, however that is not why those
letters (in this context) exist. 

We as a society, permit professionals, be they architects, engineers,
doctors or lawyers, certain *privledges* such as exclusive rights to
practice and exclusive use of certain titles, and *in return* professionals
have obligations to society that others do not. The fundamental obligation
that professional engineers have is to put public safety ahead of their own
self interest. The P.E. designation conveys that obligation. Every time you
put those letters after your name, that is the committment you are making. 

Maura Gatensby Architect
Vancouver, Canada