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Re: non-engineers

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We've all heard this before and we have few opportunities to embarrass the people who are responsible for these kind of programs.  Apparently this program is broadcast by HGTV and I'm sure that they would love to hear your reaction, (which I as well as many other engineers concur with) and I'm sure that they would like to know that they have been exposed to thousands of engineers on this listserver to the type of baloney that the "former home builder" (who didn't say how many times he's been sued) spouted off with.

I suggest, with Andy's permission, that we all cut and paste this email and send it to HGTV.  You can access their "Comments" section as follows:,1783,HGTV_3080_4964,00.html

It might even goad the "Dream House" producers to talk to some engineers about some "Nightmare Houses" that many engineers are aware off (or have been involved in the lawsuit that eventually follows).

Neil Moore, S.E.
neil moore and associates

chairman:  Professional Practices Committee

At 09:12 AM 7/22/2004 -0400, Andrew Kester wrote:
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