Subject: Re: Foundation Design Without Site-Specific Geotechnical Reports
From: Charles Greenlaw <cgreenlaw(--nospam--at)speedlink.com>
Date: Sat, 13 May 2000 01:17:10 -0700
At 03:43 PM 05/12/2000 -0500, you wrote:
>The Texas PT Board has begun to vigorously enforce their policy that
>foundations cannot be designed without site-specific geotechnical reports.
>Here are two examples of recent disciplinary actions, excerpted from the
>Spring 2000 Texas PE Board Newsletter
I read most of the astonishingly large number of disciplinary actions in the
referenced newsletter. Very few dealt with inadequate results in the
engineered project, whether actual or prospective.
It is apparent that Texas PE law and regulations differ vastly from
California's, especially as to what is grounds for disciplinary action.
Nothing said that the Texas Board has a "policy" about foundations that is
independent of what they regard as "generally accepted engineering
practices". Nothing was said that connected "not keeping with generally
accepted engineering practices" to a violation by another name, such as
In California, it is generally accepted engineering practice in most places
(and not inconsistent with bldg code) to design residential foundations
without site-specific geotechnical reports. Additionally it is not
necessarily a disciplinable offence to "not keep" with generally accepted
practice. Negligence, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, etc., as set forth
in the PE Act, must be shown.
The Calif Board has in the past attempted by staff-invented policy to take
"departure from standard practice" as the same as negligence, but that was
patently an unenforceable "underground regulation" and at odds with the
established definition of negligence in jury instructions. It blew up in
their face at their Nov 1992 meeting. The Board's monumental mid-1990's PE
Act rewrite curiously never attempted to define negligence, and got nowhere
in the legislature anyway. The Calif State Legislature's Joint Sunset Review
Committee recently chided the Board for not having an established definition
of negligence. The Board is presently maneuvering with its liaison Deputy
Attorney General to develop such a definition. This matter definitely bears
close watching by the various PE associations in California.
Charles O. Greenlaw SE Sacramento CA