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RE: VCR Alert:"Collapse: Failure by Design" on Discovery Channel

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Architects are the creative lead person in the design process of most
building structures while engineers are associated to mechanical wonders
such as bridges or forensic work. The public rarely associates engineers for
anything other than designing seismic resistance into a building and are
also perceived as working under the umbrella of the Architect who created
the design.
Why should Discovery Channel worry about changing the perception of how the
public interprets the roll of structural engineers when the term is used, in
most cases generically. No matter how often - out of fear of retribution by
BORPELS - I correct clients who introduce me as the structural engineer, I
can not change the perception of the difference between Civil and Structural
Engineer in California. Architects who know what license I posses are still
prone to introduce me as a structural engineer.
On the other hand, when the Architect informs a homeowner or building owner
that a structural engineer is needed, the owners seem surprised that the
architect can not provide the services and feel that the engineer is needed
only because it is something very unusual or restricted by local codes. In
most cases, the public perceives my roll in the design process as simply
reviewing the architects work, putting my stamp on the architects drawings
and writing a letter of approval to the building official. When he receives
my contract specifying my fee and scope of work, the owner is inevitability
shocked and prone to believe I am providing much more than is required.
The point is that the confusion starts within our own community by the
ambiguity of the title that defines our work (civil verses structural or
simply professional engineer) and extends to the building official who
generically calls an architect, civil or structural engineer as a
"structural engineer" to simplify the explanation to the owners, on down to
the owner whose perception of an engineer is shock that one would be
required to design a anything other than a bridge or high-rise skyscraper.
We need to build a good foundation on education and it needs to start right
here in our own community before we reprimand Discover Channels programming
staff.

Dennis S. Wish, PE


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Conrad Guymon [mailto:conrad(--nospam--at)karren.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2001 12:39 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: Re: VCR Alert:"Collapse: Failure by Design" on Discovery
> Channel
>
>
> I imagine it's some writer who decided that 'engineering brilliance of
> engineers' didn't read well, and changed it to (incorrectly and
> much to our
> chagrin) architects.  Besides that, when do architects build anything?
> Isn't that the contractors job?
>
> Conrad
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Bill Polhemus" <bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc>
> To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2001 2:39 PM
> Subject: RE: VCR Alert:"Collapse: Failure by Design" on Discovery Channel
>
>
> So what the **** is that all about? And when are we going to be
> able to get
> this straight in the minds of the public?
>
> William L. Polhemus, Jr., P.E.
> Polhemus Engineering Company
> Katy, Texas
> Phone 281-492-2251
> Fax 281-492-8203
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mike Murphy [mailto:mike_murphy(--nospam--at)Ameron-intl.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2001 3:15 PM
> To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
> Subject: VCR Alert:"Collapse: Failure by Design" on Discovery Channel
>
> Examine the engineering brilliance of architects who built a
> structure that
> withstood a 7.5 earthquake. “
>
>
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* 
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