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Re: Salary Survey

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Scott Maxwell wrote:

> I would disagree with your comments about architects.  Yes, for the most
> part an architect is not trained to do what we do as structural engineers,
> but they typically do have some minimal structural courses.  Can an
> architect do what we do?  Generally, no.  But can we do what an architect
> does?
>

I disagree with your statements.  I've never seen nor heard of architect that
could do what we do; but I know a lot of them that think they can.  Can I do
what an architect does? No, but I also don't pretend that I can.  I repeatedly
sit in meetings or have discussions with architects about the size of
structural members.  They always think that they can suggest the size for the
member; they are always very surprised when they here the size that is required
because it typically is substantially larger than they expect.

Just because someone has had a course in structural engineering does not mean
that they understand engineering principles or are capable of making decisions
based upon the little knowledge they have of the subject.  I had a course in
psychology once; I guess by your theory that means that I am qualified to make
reasonable assumptions that would be about the same as a qualified psychologist
would make.  I can tell you this much, I wouldn't even be able to come close.

I am licensed engineer - I took the civil exam.  Therefore, I am technically
qualified to practice in any field of civil engineering.  I only practice
structural engineering because I don't feel that I am qualified to practice in
the other disciplines even though I have the background in those disciplines.
Exposure to structural engineering doesn't give architects any idea of what it
really takes to design a structure.

The problem is that the public perception is that all buildings are
"structurally designed" by architects.  Architects give the perception that
they are responsible for the stability of the building and not just the
appearance.  This is repeatedly enforced through the media.

Our salaries will not escalate until the public becomes educated about what we
do.  When buildings collapse due to natural causes, the media blames everything
on "shoddy construction".  I'll admit poor construction is a large factor in
many failures, but what about the cases where it was poor engineering.  These
cases don't seem to gain media attention.  If the public new that the reason
the building collapsed and killed 50 people was because an engineer screwed up,
they might be willing to pay more for the best engineering services that they
can possibly buy.  Until the perception changes about the importance of our
work, salaries will not escalate.