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Ethics Question

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it would be interesting to me to know a little more
background, along the lines of the following:

1) How much experience do you have, and how much does
your boss have?

2) What was the change, and how serious was it?
Potentially life threatening?

3) What were the reasons for making the change?  Are
they valid?

Based on what your initial post told us, I would:

1) Sleep on it.

2) Re-read Paul Feather's response.

3) Write a memo to your boss explaining that what he
did violates the building code (if you're sure it
does).  Stay factual.  Keep a copy.

4) Depending on the seriousness of the issue, tell the
building department.  Probably anonymously.  Let them
do their job.

5) GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE.  Get a new job.  With an
engineer or at least an engineering department in an
architectural firm, not an architect.

Restraint and a certain amount of humility are called
for in items 1-4.  Decidely not in item 5; it's time
for a job change, IMHO.

Mike Hemstad, P.E.
St. Paul, Minnesota

Paul Feather responded to you:

Subject: Re: Ethic's Question

Personally,  I would make absolutely sure that the
walls are not in
compliance with the applicable building code
(including the nebulous
"conventional construction" requirements).  I would
then proceed to
the walls as a company representative, write a report
of the findings
as to
whether the walls meet his instructions but also
include in writing the
facts and objections with regard to the code

What type of violation are we looking at?  Is this a
life safety issue
or is
the wall one inch short of making the aspect ratio
requirements?  Why
the changes required in the first place? If the
problem is a clear code
violation or potentially hazardous, I would also
inform the local
official and probably file a complaint with the state

Either way I would promptly begin looking for
alternate employment with
reputable firm.

Paul Feather
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Gorton" <david(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2002 3:46 PM
Subject: Ethic's Question

> I would like to hear some feed back from some fellow
> 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,
> that they do not follow the current UBC code.  While
I did perform
> 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
> My question is, do I have an ethical responsibility
to report what I
> as not being constructed to code, or should I
perform my duties as a
> company representative and just verify that the
changes are
> 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
> David Gorton, PE

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