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I like what Stan is saying here.  He is making a very good point about what seperates engineers from construction technicians, in that we provide advice to our clients based on judgement and technical capability and the calculations are done for our benefit to document our decisions and not for the city building official to store in a warehouse somewhere.  I also believe that the whole construction process would be better served if we as engineers spent more time on the specifications and drawing presentation, rather than producing three sets of three volumes of cross referenced calculations for the file drawer.  Now if the client wants to pay for it and to budget time, then they are more than welcome to ask for them.
Practicing on the West coast I am more familiar with submitting calculations for everthing and I can guess that maybe 10% of what gets submitted actually receives a serious review.  We would be much better off hiring another engineer to peer review our designs, if that is what we choose, rather than play the game with the building department.  This is not a jab at building departments, because there are some plans reviewers that are very competent, but most cities don't have the budget to properly staff a plans review department so that it would actually mean something.
Curt La Count
Jacobs Engineering
Portland, OR
-----Original Message-----
From: Caldwell, Stan [mailto:scaldwell(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2001 4:10 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'

Gerard wrote:

Submitting a calculation package is more likely to produce an efficient and safe design in my opinion. Omitting its need is putting too much faith the EOR.


I don't see anything wrong with relying on the EOR.  After all, he/she is the one doing the heavy lifting and is the one who is ultimately responsible for the adequacy of the structural design.  Does your doctor provide detailed backup on how he/she arrived at your diagnosis?  Does your lawyer provide detailed backup on how he/she arrived at the legal advice that you sought?  Believe it or not, as a licensed engineer, you also are being paid primarily for your judgment.  Your are not being paid to run numbers or draw sketches.  All structural engineers that I know run numbers and draw sketches every day.  It is a necessary step in clearly thinking through a problem and communicating with co-workers.  However, in most jurisdictions east of the Rockies, it is neither necessary nor beneficial to submit those calculation sets for review by anyone outside your office.  To the contrary, I would be concerned with the competence of any structural engineer who might falsely derive any degree of comfort through the calculation submittal and review process.  I would also be concerned with their efficiency.  Good engineering practice has nothing to do with calculation submittals.

Stan Caldwell in Dallas, Texas

The buck stops here!
 ... Harry S. Truman