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Re: California: Legal and liability - using my stamp

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Now, it seems to me that if BOB did the design and made the engineering decisions for a building, then BOB MUST stamp/seal the engineering documents and CANNOT make his boss TOM sign them since TOM DID NOT have responsible charge of the project.  For those of you working in California, does that appear to be an obvious interpretation of the Board rules or am I missing something (which is entirely possible)??
Dave K. Adams, S.E.
Lane Engineers, Inc.
Tulare, CA
E-mail:  davea(--nospam--at)laneengineers.com


Oh, sure, but have you ever been in a firm where the head of engineering seals all the engineering drawings - structural, mechanical, and electrical - even though he's formally trained and only has hands-on calculation experience in structural engineering? How about when his "responsible charge" includes only the DD and CD plan checks, as he spend most of the time out of the office (on CA and marketing business)? I have.  Don't get me wrong - I think the work was competent, and was performed and reviewed by registered engineers in that discipline (except for a stint when they didn't have an EE PE). The EOR was also a very good engineer, and had "walking around" experience in the MEP stuff.  I won't name names, though there are people who read the list who know the players.  

(I should add a disclaimer that - although I practive as a strucutral, I did not take my PE in civil or structural.  I have a BS in Aerospace and spent 9 years doing structural analysis work with NASA and 2 years in industry, during which time I passed the ME PP exam. While in California, I receive a MS in (structural) engineering from Cal Poly, then spent almost four years in A/E practice before starting my own firm)

On other issues related...

My opinions are formed based on a very savvy construction administration coordinator who had a good backlog of personal experiences with who's responsible on a job site and after the keys are turned over.  Also, I don't trust corporate America - when faced with a six figure legal defense bill, I think most firms would hang you out to dry rather than pony up the bucks in the lottery system we call civil litigation.  And I don't trust juries - have you seen who ends up on those things?

I agree that "deep pockets" can be a danger, but I carry a hefty E&O policy anyway.  It's not the judgement I'm worried about - I haven't really got much in personal assets - it's the legal fees.  I can't afford to defend myself against an aggressive plaintiff, and I'm not willing to lose sleep over worrying about that possibility. I assume that no matter how well my design is, 1) I'm human and 2) I'm only a fraction of the equation, and something may still go wrong. It's that NASA stuff...mission critical must be at least 2 fault tolerant.  I can't put all that tolerance in my design or I'd never get hired, so I build in a buffer on the "oops" side.  I sleep better at night knowing that there are blood-sucking lawyers (to quote JP) on my side defending their own money along with my reputation.

Finally, as to putting the assets in my wife's name, the purchase is a good time.  We're downsizing, and she will qualify for the loan on her income alone. She'd better, as I'm sure my income isn't going to count for squat to a bank computer (no full year incomes from the business yet).  Most everything else is already in protected accounts - 401ks, IRAs, or in an irrevocable trust for my daughter.  If she leaves me, will I lose everything. Yes, including my sanity.  I am blessed to have found a soul-mate/best friend for my spouse, and I have no worries.  Nothing in life is guaranteed excpet death (now that Arianna Huffington has proven that even taxes can be avoided). Our marriage is a close second.

Jordan (who'd better get back to work if he wants a paycheck this week.)
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