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RE: More "Responsible Charge" Stuff

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Getaz [mailto:jgetaz(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Friday, August 27, 2004 6:43 AM
> To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
> Subject: More "Responsible Charge" Stuff
> 	Bill,
> 		I understand that in Virginia an engineering firm with a
> branch office must have a P.E. assigned full-time in that office. I think
> the P.E. is allowed to leave for lunch and go home in the evening, but a
> successful engineer cannot branch out by letting a drafter with a long
> commute to rent a storefront near home and solicit engineering work, even
> if
> all the work is performed by the founding P.E. I cannot cite Board action,
> but that's my understanding.

I'd have to think about this for a bit.

In my opinion, all this stuff is rather like the convoluted laws that were
in vogue in Judaism at the time of Christ: "Can't walk more than 2,000 steps
on the Sabbath," etc.

I think we need to cut through all this crud, and get to the heart of the
matter which is protecting the public.

Someone posted here a blurb about the engineer who was negligent in his
design, which "fell down" and caused property damage (and I don't recall if
any person was hurt or killed).

THAT is pertinent!

IN contrast, take this "honey-pot" of a scheme whereby, here in Texas, the
Texas Department of Insurance issued a "Building Code" for wind resistant
design (the most gosh-awful, poorly-written monstrosity of its kind I've
ever seen), and solicited engineers to become "registered" for the purpose
of conducting inspections.

First of all, IMO, any P.E. should have been able to do inspections of this
kind WITHOUT registration with the state Insurance Department simply by
virtue of being a Licensed P.E.!

But be that as it may, TBPE apparently saw a HUGE opportunity for a windfall
there, and began to pore through the many inspection reports, issuing
citations (and gathering lots of lovely fines) for engineers found
"negligent" through sloppy inspections and poor reports.

I can't help but wonder if this was all a "sting" operation: Let's find out
what Engineers are interested in doing these inspections (via the
"registration" process), then let's root around and see what we can find in
their reports to slap 'em with.

In this case, you can readily make the case that these actions were in the
interest of "the public good," but talk about your "chilling effect!" I
constantly get calls from people asking if I do these inspections, saying
they can't find any engineer who does them any more (gee, wonder why?) I
respond that I don't participate in the program because the risk is too
high. If I miss something, even in good faith, the typical monetary penalty
would wipe out any profit I might realize from this activity and send me
deeply into the red.

That's not to mention the collateral damage of having my name written up in
the Board newsletter for public consumption. Wonder how that might affect my
standing in the community?

Thanks, State of Texas, for helping prove that old adage: "No good deed goes
unpunished." (And believe me, at around only $200 per inspection, this
nearly qualifies as a charitable enterprise).

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