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Re: Texas PE Board Rules on Aggie Bonfire

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At least the P.E. will not have to deal with my everyday 
problem......accounting for log wall settling in the design

Peter McCormack




From:           	"Caldwell, Stan" <scaldwell(--nospam--at)halff.com>
To:             	"'SEAINT Listserv'" <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Subject:        	Texas PE Board Rules on Aggie Bonfire
Date sent:      	Thu, 15 Jun 2000 13:52:37 -0500
Send reply to:  	seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Organization:   	http://www.seaint.org

> Bonfire needs a professional, board rules 
> 
> State engineer laws cited 
> 
> 
> 06/15/2000 
> 
> 
> By Christopher Lee Austin / The Dallas Morning News 
> 
> 
> AUSTIN - If Texas A&M continues its venerated but risky bonfire tradition,
> the annual project for the first time will have to be designed and overseen
> by a licensed professional engineer, not students, state officials said
> Wednesday. 
> 
> 
> The nine-member Texas Board of Professional Engineers, meeting in Corpus
> Christi, ruled that the giant, six-tiered log tower amounts to a complex
> construction project that should be regulated by state engineering laws. 
> 
> 
> The board, which licenses engineers and enforces engineering standards, also
> agreed to launch an inquiry into last year's deadly bonfire collapse, which
> killed 12 Aggies and injured 27. The inquiry is scheduled to be completed by
> September. 
> 
> 
> "If it's a structure of this complexity, it will have to be designed by a
> professional engineer and properly constructed and supervised by a
> professional engineer," said E.D. "Dave" Dorchester, vice chairman of the
> board. "Our law requires that we make an inquiry in a situation where
> there's an engineering structure that causes harm." 
> 
> 
> A&M spokesman Lane Stephenson said the university needed more information
> before it could fully react to the decision. 
> 
> 
> "The university chooses not to respond until it has received official
> notification from the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and has had an
> opportunity to review its findings and possibly seek clarification," Mr.
> Stephenson said. 
> 
> 
> A&M President Ray Bowen is expected to announce this week whether the
> university will continue the bonfire tradition, an annual rite leading up to
> the Texas-Texas A&M football game. 
> 
> 
> Throughout its 90-year history, the bonfire has been designed and built by
> students, a particular point of pride at A&M. Wednesday's decision
> effectively means the school will have to swallow that pride and alter the
> tradition if it is to carry on. 
> 
> 
> But it does not mean the bonfire must end, said Victoria Hsu, executive
> director of the engineering board. 
> 
> 
> "It's A&M's decision, and if they decide to have one, then a professional
> engineer and appropriate personnel should be involved," Ms. Hsu said. "I
> don't have any doubt that if they decide to have another bonfire that it
> will be done in the most safe way." 
> 
> 
> A special commission created by A&M reported May 2 that the 59-foot,
> student-built bonfire stack collapsed because of poor construction and
> design practices made possible by a chronic lack of oversight from the
> university. 
> 
> 
> Investigators also found that over its long history, the bonfire evolved
> from a simple trash pile into "a complex and dangerous structure" that was
> "allowed to be built without adequate physical or engineering controls." 
> 
> 
> That finding, engineering board officials said, convinced the state agency
> that the bonfire was within its jurisdiction. "The report clearly stated
> that it's a complex structure that lacked engineering controls," Ms. Hsu
> said. 
> 
> 
> She said the board had been contacted by several Texas residents, including
> the family of one of the bonfire victims, urging state officials to become
> involved. 
> 
> 
> The engineering board's investigation will focus on whether the construction
> and design techniques complied with the Texas Engineering Practice Act.
> Under the act, a public work that costs more than $8,000 and requires
> structural, electrical or mechanical engineering expertise must be designed
> and supervised by a licensed professional engineer. 
> 
> 
> The bonfire can cost more than $50,000 a year. If the state investigators
> find that the bonfire violated state law, the board could impose fines of up
> to $3,000 per violation. The board also could reprimand or revoke the
> licenses of A&M faculty engineers who ignored their ethical duty under the
> law and failed to raise warnings about the unsafe structure, officials have
> said. 
> 
> 
> If state engineering standards are not met, the board also could issue a
> "cease and desist" order governing bonfire construction.
> 
> 
>