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RE: non-engineers

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I would have zoned out and daydreamed that I said " thank you for your insights on value engineering" and then bent him over with a good sucker punch.  They always say that - just another day on the job.
Scott Haan
-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Kester [mailto:akester(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 5:12 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: non-engineers

I wonder if power line workers say to each other, "Man is this transformer ever over-engineered, what was that EE thinking. This is only 440 volts."
 Or the guys at Boeing in the factory, do they say, "Man, are you kidding me with all these screws and welds in this 747 wing?! What an over design."
So while running on the treadmill at the Y yesterday I was watching "Dream House", where they show the design and construction of an extremely high end custom home. This house was in Portland I think, on the side of a large hill, multi level, part of the house on columns (like stilts), with huge concrete cast in place walls, etc. Some of the retaining/bearing walls were 16 ft tall. There were embed plates and base plates, and all types of cast-in-place concrete walls and columns, heavy-duty stuff for residential.
The contractor states normally a home basement requires about 800lbs of reinforcement steel, but this one took 5 tons. But he seemed to see why, due to the magnitude of the project why this was necessary. Well, the home owner's dad shows up, and he is a former home builder, and he starts ranting and raving about all this concrete and reinforcement and what a waste it is. "This thing is way overengineered and overdesigned! When I did basements it was half of this concrete and foundation. This thing isn't going anywhere. A lot of wasted concrete there." (I have heard that line before.)
Anyway, I must have looked silly mouthing at the TV, "Oh yeah, you did the calcs. You have done lots of design and have a license in engineering too. All that talk but will you sign your name on the drawings and take full responsibility? You wanna pay for your son's new house when things start settling and cracking and...."  Then I looked around and realized nobody was watching, listening , or caring, and if they saw me they would think there is something wrong with me.
Sorry for my random rant.
Andrew Kester, PE
Longwood, FL