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RE: Certification of Structural Engineers

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Definitely an idea whose time has come. I wish the NCSEA utmost success in
accomplishing this. I just have a concern regarding the two-tier
registration that is being proposed. As noted earlier by Jeff Coronado the
cleanest way to accomplish this is by just having an SE registration rather
than SE-I and SE-II. I like a program similar to the ones states of Illinois
and Washington have in place. SE registration would be required for the
design of all but simple (i.e. 3 stories or less with some limitation on the
occupant load) structures.

My two cents

Ben Yousefi, SE
San Jose, CA

	-----Original Message-----
	From:	Ron O. Hamburger [SMTP:ROH(--nospam--at)]
	Sent:	Tuesday, October 03, 2000 7:50 AM
	To:	seaint(--nospam--at)
	Subject:	Certification of Structural Engineers

	Here's some more info on the recent press release by NCSEA.

	NCSEA had previously adopted a resolution to work towards obtaining
	structural engineering registration in all 50 states.  The fact is,
as indicated
	in the paper by Shipp, Warren and Castle, currently, only 6 states
	structural engineers, as such, and require such registration as  a
condition of
	the right to design structures.  Four more states have "civil"
	that includes structural engineers as well as other branches of
civil engineers.
	The remaining 40 have generic PE registration.  In most such states,
to obtain
	registration, you must qualify by education, experience and testing,
in a
	particular branch, for example "civil", but are permitted to
practice in any
	area in which you are competent and qualified.  Who determines if
you are
	competent or qualified?  You do - or at least you do until someone
	and brings proceedings against you.

	Of all the various engineering disciplines, structural engineers are
the persons
	with the most direct responsibility for protecting the public
safety.  If a
	structural engineer performs negligently, buildings, bridges and
	structures they design and have responsibility for fall down, and
kill people, a
	lot of people, in the process.  In fact, most structural engineers,
over the
	course of their careers, are responsible for protecting more lives
than most
	MDs.  An MD may see a few thousand patients in their life times.
SEs design
	buidlings and other structures that tens of thousands will reside
in.  Yet in
	most states, there is no separate recognition of structural
engineering as an
	identifiable and important profession, worthy of independent

	It would be highly desirable to have a uniform practice of separate
	of structural engineers, in all 50 states, using criteria that are
	rigorous that the registration is meaningful, and sufficiently
uniform that
	comity and right to practice across state lines is assured. NCSEA
and the member
	organizations of NCSEA (now 32 different SEAs) should and will seek
to pursue
	this.  However, this will require working with 50 different state
	and wending through the hurdles put forth by other interests.  It
will take a
	long time to acheive this.  It can not be done on a national
(federal) basis,
	because the U.S. Constitution precludes the federal government from
	activity (not expressly - but by not reserving to the Federal Gov't
the right to
	do this - it becomes a State's Right).

	Certification, provides our profession with the opportunity to begin
	self-regulation, to estabilish meaningful continuinig education and
	development criteria, to transport rights to practice across state
lines, and
	most important to build value in the title Structural Engineer.  In
essence, it
	permits SEs to begin to build a "brand" behind the title that is
	something.  Would you go to a dentist who is not ADA certified?  Why
should a
	developer or architect go to an engineer who is not SEA certified?
	Certification should be something by which we identify ourselves on
	cards and advertisements.

	Note that what NCSEA has resolved to do is to form a committee to
propose a
	certification program to the membership.  An initial study was
conducted last
	year, and was positively received by the membership.  The membership
	nearly unanimously  to proceed and see what would be involved in
	the certification program.  At this point, representatives from the
	states will begin to meet, and see if we can find common ground in
	what the certification would look like, and how it would be

	This program is without doubt, the most ambitious project that NCSEA
has ever
	undertaken.  Stay tuned for more information.