I don't believe formal calculation
submittals and plan checks lead to a better engineering
Neither do I!
Obviously your firm
probably practices good engineering judgement and it appears to be reflected in
the lack of lawsuits, even frivolously, brought against you.
Thank you for that compliment, if that is what you
Unfortunately there are a lot of people who
try to practice poor engineering and about the only way that they can be
discovered before their structures go down or settle or break or something else,
is by the plan check process by a third party.
Texas, we police our own. State law requires that all PEs report
suspected violations. Last year, I filed a complaint against a
structural engineer who, on behalf of a contractor, tried to subvert the
permitting process on one of my projects. Earlier this year, the Texas PE
Board suspended that engineer's PE license for three years, fined him $5,000,
and forced him to attend a remedial course in engineering ethics.
Considering his age, this punishment probably amounts to a forced
retirement. The incident happened during construction, and would not have
been discovered through a plan check or calculation review.
I'll change my statement
from "I'd hate to have to try to defend you in court." to it might be
interesting to be on the other side against you and your firm for not being able
to produce complete calculations for a project which you did eight years ago (my
perception of when a guy who's screwed up will usually get hit with a
said anything about not having calculations? I and my team prepare
comprehensive calculations on every project, although they might not be very presentable and might
not even be comprehensible to anyone other than the EOR. Of course, if you
want to see my calculations in your role as a plaintiff's expert, you will first
need to get a subpoena! In my experience, by the way, lawsuits most often
occur when a project is 9 years and 364 days old.
reflecting last night with some of the old-timers at a SEOCC meeting in
Sacramento, I realized that I had been in engineering just a little over 50
years and that I'm still learning.
Congratulations, but I hope that I never have to acquire that much
experience! I fully intend to retire fat and happy after 40-45 years of
experience. You must have started your career in 1950, the same year that
Halff Associates (my firm) was established.
The idea of an
engineer not being involved in residential design (at least in California) is
kind of ridiculous. The problem is that some of these homes are in the one
to five million-dollar ranges and that the owner has a lawyer on full time
The reality in California is obviously different than
elsewhere. The vast majority of single family homes east of the Rockies
are not engineered structures, not even the expensive ones. In Dallas, the
local home builders are building $5 million (25,000 s.f.) spec homes without any
engineering whatsoever, except for the foundation. In fact, I don't think
that I've ever even met a local engineer who works with stick-built wood frame