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RE: SE Tests

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>I was under the impression that the SE designation
>in California and Hawaii came about because of the
>feeling that additional qualifications were needed
>for some type of building designs in these states
>and that this was related to seismicity.  You can
>design some types of buildings as a PE in California.

California has a title act, which allows PEs to design buildings, except
things like schools and hospitals. Why are schools and hospitals special?
Well, schools and hospitals made major press in past earthquakes and the
public demanded answers. The answer, which was partly political in origin
(officials need to be viewed as doing something for their constituents), was
to institute and require an SE license for the design of those structures.

>I am not sure what is special about Illinois that
>would require greater qualifications than other states.
>I was told (by an Illinois SE) that it came about
>because there are so many structural engineers in
>Chicago, and certain design firms wanted a way to
>distinguish individuals with additional qualifications.

Illinois has a practice act, which requires an SE to design any and all
buildings. It is one of the few states to be so restrictive. I'm not sure
why it came about, except the SE coalition in Illinois is and has always
been very strong and the license was implemented long before anyone thought
of opposing SE licensure. In other states where SE contingents have tried to
get separate licensure have more often failed than succeeded, which I think
is unfortunate. Interestingly, ASCE has been the prime opponent to separate
licensure of SEs.

I'm not originally from here, so I can compare what I see in Illinois to
what I saw elsewhere. I can see a great benefit to public safety in the
separate license as it is implemented here in Illinois. We do not have
mechanical, electrical, or other non-building engineering PEs designing
buildings. I also don't see civil engineers with little or no background or
experience in building structures designing buildings in Illinois. From my
perspective, these are good things.


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