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SE-I and SE-II

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Our conversations seem to be drifting on state reciprocity and minimum
standards for compliance of the SE-I. The SE-I and SE-II exams will make the
practice of structural engineering much more fair - especially from the test
taking position. My concerns with the proposal, however, is not the minimum
requirements for practice, but the attempt to define the limits of practice
of the SE-I. This is not how the Title Act in California is defined and the
attempt to draw a line based on assumed competency is in my opinion
The title act is based on the 1933 Fields Act and the 1971 Hospital act
which separates responsibility by the level of risk to lives the building
must be designed to. It establishes the line between Civil and Structural at
Essential Facilities and leaves all other issues to the local

It appears from the proposals that changing to a Practice act requires
defining the responsibility of the SE-I which may, in my opinion, restrict a
qualified engineer from practicing as he has for years.

I believe that there is only one solution as I noted earlier:

1. A panel represented equally by SE-I and II level engineers must make this
decision and not leave the control of the profession to the SE-II level
alone. Reasons were stated in past posts including the likely event that the
SE-II has little or no experience with low-rise wood structures and
residential homes.

2. The line should be blurred to allow for interpretation and compromise
when an engineer can prove his abilities without additional testing (in
cases of grand-fathering).

3. I am a strong believer that the existing restrictions defining the
difference by essential facility are sufficient. The protection of the
public stems not from the incompetent engineers practicing structural
engineering (however, expert witnesses make a great living working for
attorneys suing SE's) but rather from the unqualified engineer who uses the
umbrella of the Civil license to work outside his level or experience.

I would strongly urge all who have an opinion on this issue to review the
documents available and write your SEA chapter with your comments. CE's in
California represent almost 50% of the membership of SEAOC and should have
strong opinions as to the definition of the division of responsibility. This
does not even match the number of CE's practicing structural engineering who
are not members of professional organizations.

This is not the time to be APATHETIC and uninterested as the results of this
proposed change can have profound affect on your ability to practice.

Dennis S. Wish, PE
The Structuralist Administrator for:
AEC-Residential Listservice
(208) 361-5447 E-Fax

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