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RE: More "Responsible Charge" Stuff

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I agree with Bill Polhemus in the following statements: "I believe that it
is possible to 'directly supervise' work remotely. I think we need to take
into account the advances in technology and automation that make such things
possible." 

But it is also reasonable for Stan Caldwell to point out the potential
conflicts with Texas PE laws. I believe that such laws are intended to curb
two things: "plan stamping" and outsourcing. Missouri is currently
considering a proposal requiring that the person receiving the "immediate
personal supervision" from a PE "must work in the same office where the work
is being performed". It's stated purpose is to "keep non-licensed firms from
offering professional services that they do not personally provide" and to
keep someone from being hired "just to 'plan stamp' drawings that were not
prepared or supervised by him/her." 

While I agree with placing restrictions on "plan stamping" and emphasizing
the importance of regular involvement of the responsible engineer throughout
the project, I feel that the laws are also infringing on legitimate
practices. 

I work for a large national firm with many offices, and we have sometimes
shared design work between offices. The responsible engineer must maintain
communications and perform direct review of the work periodically, but I
feel that "direct supervision" of the work product is still feasible.
Sometimes those performing the work from another office are registerd PE's
in another state but are not registered in the state where the work is being
performed. Thus, they are experienced engineers but still must work under
the supervision of the licensed PE. It is also possible for a PE to provide
more direct supervision of work in a different office to a greater degree
than a PE in the same office where the work is being performed but who pays
little attention to the work until time to seal the drawings.  

I believe that there are PE's in both large and small firms that effectively
"plan stamp" - i.e., they do not provide sufficient direct supervision
during the design, but do a final review and sealing of the drawings. I
believe that licensing laws need to be worded sufficiently to make it clear
that such practices are not acceptable. 

In addition to multiple design offices in the US, my employer has a design
office in India. They mostly work on overseas projects but I have used
structural engineers there to help with a couple of preliminary design
studies and their design work was very professional. The work is still
reviewed in detail here to ensure that they understand our codes,
construction methods, etc. Since we typically perform detailed checking of
structural design calculations, I believe that it would be possible for
engineers there to develop a design and then complete the design checking
here, and still have a professionaly developed project. But some PE laws
might make this practice illegal. 

PE laws should be written as "performance standards" rather than defining
the means and methods to accomplish those standards. 

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