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RE: Ethic's Question

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David,
Never before has this saying been more appropriate :>)

"Some day's you're the dog...Some day's you're the hydrant!"

To answer one question raised by Thor - in the US an Architect has full
authority to design and wet stamp his own engineer. I've met only a few
who are competent and those who are, tend to prove their competency by
taking the PE exam.

Before you place your job in jeopardy, let me suggest that you review
the provisions of conventional (prescriptive) construction and determine
if the building you are designing will comply with this provision. If it
does, then the question is whether or not the architect's modifications
will meet the minimum conformance to the prescriptive methods. If you
follow the 97 UBC, the provision is located in chapter 2320.

If the building complies with the provisions of this section, then your
employer is within his right to modify "his" design (you are employed by
him and a representative of his firm) so long as he can prove that he
meets minimum compliance with at least one of the two design
methodologies.

If you are providing Observation services (generally not required for
prescriptive methods, but left to the discretion of the building
official), you should judge compliance to the code that he is following
or to the design drawings so long as it conforms to nothing less than
the minimum requirement of the section he is using. In either case, he
is responsible - not you and you can do only so much without cutting off
your nose to spite your face.

Personally, I would get the hell out of the office and look for another
employer. Based on his standards, I would not consider him a valid
recommendation for apprenticeship needed to qualify for your PE exam. If
work is hard to find, then you may have to bite the bullet and hope that
he changes his methods of design to accommodate a minimum compliance to
the engineering section of the code (Chapter 16 of the 97 UBC).

I will probably have some of you jump down my throat on this because I
am vocally against prescriptive methods of construction that do not
establish a baseline on the same level as a minimum compliance to an
engineered design. The issue is not whether or not I agree with the
intent of the code. The issue is to determine compliance to the code -
the law. If it allows the architect to design prescriptive methods for
his homes and even to address only the non-compliant sections for
partial engineering, then there is nothing that you can do to stop him.
If his work drops below the minimum level of compliance for the method
that he has chosen, I would notify him of this fact. If he refuses to
follow code, then you might want to quietly draw attention to it through
the building inspector and suggest that he look like a hero by
recognizing the non-compliant features and writes it up for correction.
It need not be made public that you brought it to his attention if he is
expected to do his job properly.


Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
The Structuralist.Net Information Infrastructure



-----Original Message-----
From: Gerard Madden [mailto:gmadden(--nospam--at)duquette-eng.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2002 4:13 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
Subject: RE: Ethic's Question

David,

It sounds like you are in a bad spot. I see your choices as follows,

1. Report him to the state board and suffer the consequences of the
embarrassment to your employer

2. Quit and report him to the state board

3. Call anonymously (or give your name) to the building department and
tell
them that the construction is not code compliant - then get fired. Then
file
suit for wrongful termination.

4. Ignore it and wait for the next time when he tells you rebar is not
required in concrete.

Good luck in your choice.

Perhaps you could call the inspector during the next company ski trip or
whitewater rafting trip and that way you can have an alibi  :)

-gerard
SJ, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: David Gorton [mailto:david(--nospam--at)jl-architecture.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2002 3:46 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Ethic's Question


I would like to hear some feed back from some fellow engineers
concerning a possible ethical problem that I have encountered with my
present employer.  My engineering design of some wood shearwalls was
changed on the field by my employer, who is an Architect.  I have
informed him that I do not agree with the changes that he has made, and
that they do not follow the current UBC code.  While I did perform the
structural design, he stamped the drawings. (I am not registered to
practice engineering in the state in which the building is being
constructed)

My employer is now requesting me to perform another inspection on the
shearwalls to verify what he changed is performed to his instructions.
My question is, do I have an ethical responsibility to report what I see
as not being constructed to code, or should I perform my duties as a
company representative and just verify that the changes are constructed
to his requirements?

I have informed my employer of my dilemma, but was given only one
option, do my job as a representative of the firm.

Your inputs and thoughts on this matter are greatly appreciated.

David Gorton, PE


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