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Re: Recent Ruling by California Board of Registration for Prof. Engineers

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Mr Higgins,

I respectfully disagree.

Around here, after completing a set of design documents, the engineering
design consultants routinely run over to the architect's office to stamp and
sign the drawings and specifications.  I support this practice because it
helps insure that someone doesn't "issue" a drawing or document without my
blessing.  My "blessing" is inferred by my seal and signature.

That same architect has several "progress" prints (plots) that came from me
or my agents, transmitted via email.  Am I to discontinue communicating in
this fashion for fear of misuse of the "documents"?  To me, they are not
really "documents" until I say they are.  They are ideas in progress.

A board doesn't need to "give a procedure for indicating when the document
can't be used for construction."  If the board can't understand such simple
words as "PRELIMINARY  -  NOT FOR CONSTRUCTION", then the board's purpose in
this matter is too inane for discussion.

To establish ridiculous, nonsensical procedures is equally inane.

John P. Riley, SE PE
Riley Engineering
Blue Grass, Iowa

PS:  "Is" means the present tense of being.


At the risk of sounding like a skunk at the garden party. The board does
have a point.

All engineering work must be done by engineers. That's the law we all
understand. Accordingly, such documents needed to be prepared by engineers,
and their signature/seal indicates responsibility/registration.The classic
case is plan "checking" of engineering designs. There are times when I have
to insist the "checker" either sign their "report" if he/she can, or get a
registered supervisor to do so. And, boy am I glad BORPELS backs me up on
it. You'd be surprised how hesitant a "reviewer" gets reticent when forced
to seal some of their drivel, or risk getting charged with practicing
engineering without a license.

Ephriam Hirsch has a point too. The board had better not expect us to be
legally responsible for a structure built from a cocktail napkin (seal or
no seal) when it clearly states "not for construction" or similar stuff. We
must have some way of communicating incomplete designs without generating
responsibility. If the board wants us to seal everything, they must give a
procedure for indicating when the document can't be used for construction.

SEAOC should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater while
appealing. We need to protect the public via restricting engineering
practice to registrants, and so shouldn't be reluctant to seal our work.
The board should recognize that a seal doesn't necessarily mean ready for
construction either.

I see no reason why we can't have both with a little common sense.

Peter Higgins, SE