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RE: Marketing Structural Engineering Services

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Thanks for the support, Barry. I've already started to take things in hand.
I gave the web address incorrectly in the first post - it's
http://www.structuralist.net. It is not up and running yet, but I expect to
post it in a day or so even though it is a work in progress. I am launching
the site with home owners and builders in mind first, but there will be a
separate site for professionals and others in the building industry to come
together through educational topics.

Any portion of the site accessible by the public and most of the
professional services will be free. There will be some fee based services to
support the cost of the site and the upkeep, but there will be plenty of
free information for homeowner, builder and professional alike.

You can support the site by writing articles which you intend the public to
read. I will post them and if you prefer, you can write the article on your
own website and I will post the links.

I think that SEAINT is very important for the process of making change,
however, I have a strong opinion that very little will happen until the
differences that separate the members of the profession are resolved. Until
that time comes, the public will gain their own perspective and opinion on
how will the professional building industry (Architects, Engineers, Builder
etc.) are working together to protect their interests.

SEAINT, NAHB, BIA, AIA, ASCE, NCSEA - all of these are important
organizations who the public should know about and I intend to tell them.
Maybe public pressure can help put the problems in perspective and resolve
the conflicts.

The most effective support for a site like this is to post links to the
website and assure that it shows up on various search engines. Most
important is to help the home buying and building public find it. Enough
diversification in writing and participation from builders, architects,
engineers, building officials and others interested in improving the quality
of construction will do the trick. If you want to help, support me in any
way you can. The focus on the site is to take the common rumors that we hear
in our own practices and put some truth to them. For example;

1. Two homes in the same neighborhood, with the same floor plan, square
footage and price. Yet one will experience significantly more damage in an
earthquake or tornado (possibly a hurricane) than the other. The public does
not know about prescriptive methodology and the fact that buildings are
allowed to be designed and constructed without professional involvement.
Although the intent is to follow the provisions of the code, few contractors
or builders have ever read the code provisions and few building departments
enforce the problems that occur in the field.

2. The public has no real understanding of Structural Engineer. The site
attempts to educate the public by explaining the difference between
Architects, Designers, Civil and Structural engineers.

3. Most of the public believes that when they have a Home Inspection done
during escrow that the inspector will disclose structural problems. This is
simply not the scope of the home inspection service - they are not
qualified. The public needs to know this.

4. The added cost of restraints in a new home can greatly offset the cost of
repair to a home damaged in an earthquake or high wind. The public needs to
understand the cost to performance issues and how it is used by builders to
maximize profits at the publics expense.

5. We are sorely in need of disclosure laws that will make it mandatory to
disclose to the buyer of a home the level of compliance to the code that the
structure conforms to. In other words, was the home built using Prescriptive
methods or was it designed to the minimum engineered standard. This will
allow the homeowners sufficient information to weight the cost of repair
against the cost of purchase.

The list goes on. Create articles that help explain this from multiple
sources. Also, there is a consultation forum on the Homeowners site where
they can ask for help on issues. Please participate in this forum as a
service to the public.

If anyone wants to make suggestions to improve the site or services to add,
please send your comments to me directly at structures(--nospam--at)engineer.com.

Regards,
Dennis S. Wish, PE

Barry H. Welliver wrote:

"I like your thinking here Dennis and wonder how to endorse these concepts.
One of the outlined efforts for the SEAU web site was to provide better
public access and education. I know other organizations also provide some
useful information for homeowners and others.
Making better information available on web sites is a good start. It will
also be necessary to get into the print media with articles about structural
engineering for buildings. Sunday papers offer a great spot for homeowners
to educate themselves on all sorts of issues related to houses. Better PR
here should also be a priority.
Like most engineers, I view the owner and developer as two distinct
personalities and worthy of different approaches. The quality issue will hit
some as important just as furniture and fixtures will delight others. I
agree however that everyone who pays for something is entitled to sufficient
information to help in it's evaluation. Most particularly to understand, as
you say, that not all buildings are created equal.
I'm for making a dent in this ignorance.
Barry H. Welliver "