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RE: PE/SE debate

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apparently california will now accept the seIII from washington

http://www.dol.wa.gov/engineers/cawase3.doc

if i tracked down the fees correctly, it costs about $275 to test in cal and
$900 to test in washington.  (that's the seII and seIII exams).  please
correct me if i'm wrong

David Adie, P.E., LEED A.P.

COUGHLIN PORTER LUNDEEN
413 Pine Street - Suite #300 - Seattle, WA.  98101
p 206 343 0460 - f 206 343 5691



-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)engin.umich.edu] 
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 11:59 AM
To: Don
Cc: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Unreinforced foundation walls and PE/SE debate


Don:

With regard to your question about structural licenses exams...

There are 4 structural test out there at the moment (I believe that it is
still currently 4).  There is the NCEES Struct I, the NCEES Struct II, the
Washington Struct III, and the California SE exam (aka the Western States
Exam).

The NCEES Struct I exam is equivalent to the Civil PE exam.  It is a 80
question (I believe) multiple guess exam.  The only really difference
between it and the Civil PE exam is that it is _ALL_ structural engineering
questions.  It is rather easy (in my opinion), much like the Civil PE exam
is rather easy.  If nothing else, it is certainly the easiest of the
structural exams.  It is an 8 hour exam.  It is used as the "first"
step/exam of many of the SE licenses and is also used by many states as the
PE license exam as an alternate choice to the Civil PE exam (i.e. for those
that only wish to do structural work).  FWIW, this exam, like the Civil PE
exam, used to be 4 hours of "short answer" (i.e. write out your solution and
get partial credit) in the morning and 4 hours of 40 multiple guess in the
afternoon but was changed to the 80 multiple guess format a several years
ago.

The NCEES Struct II exam is generally the "second" step/exam (not counting
the EIT) toward getting a SE license in many states that offer such a
license.  It is an 8 hour "essay" exam.  That is you solve problems and
write out solutions much like you do in day to day work...i.e. you get
partial credit.  It is currently a 4 question exam (you get to pick from at
least a building or bridge set of questions).  It used to be two 4 hour
questions that you could pass seperately (i.e. when I took it, you could
pass the afternoon question but fail the morning question and only have to
retake the morning part), but I believe that it is now pass or fail it all.
It is a reasonable hard exam.  The questions are very similar in nature to
what you will do in the "real" world, except you have serious time
limitations (you can still get it done in the time allotted, but think of it
as working on a project with a real tight deadline). Basically, if you know
the codes rather well (i.e. were to find stuff and how to use/apply the code
provisions) then you will likely do well.  It is DEFINITELY much tougher
than the Struct I or Civil PE exams.  In the past, the afternoon problem
would DEFINITLY have seismic design on it.  I am not sure how it is done now
that they have gone to the 4 question format.

The Washington Struct III exam is the last part of getting a SE license in
Washington.  At this point Washington is the only state that uses it that I
am aware of.  It is a 8 hour exam with 4 "essay" questions on it.  There are
2 mandatory questions and then for the final 2 questions you get to pick
between a bridge question and building question.  It is rather like the
Struct II exam in over all format (i.e. "essay" problems that you write out
your solution/calculations and get partical credit), except it is even
harder.  Most, if not all, the questions have seismic on them. FWIW, I
believe the passing rate is typically around 5% to 20% (varies from year to
year).

The California SE exam (aka The Western States exam) is only used in
California and supposedly is on its way out there as well.  Supposedly, the
California Legislature is pushing to have a "nationally created and
recognized" exam used.  So, they may end up using Washington's "system" or
something much like it.  The exam is a 16 hour "essay" problem exam (i.e.
write out solutions/calculations and get partial credit)...I believe
(haven't take it, unlike the others).  From everything I have heard it is
extrememly difficult, but since I have never taken it, I really cannot
compare with the others.  If nothing else the 16 hours (two day) is
daunting.

For most states with a SE license, they require the EIT, the Struct I and
the Struct II.  I know this is true of Illinois, but I also believe it is
true of the other states with SE licenses with the exception of Washington
and California.

Washington requires the Struct II and Struct III.  Since I was not an
"original candidate" in Washington (i.e. it was not my first license and for
me it was by reciprosity...at least partially), I am not sure if you take
the Struct I as part of the SE license process or if you take the Struct I
to get your PE license.  Since I had already taken the Civil PE (for
Michigan), the Struct I (for Illinois) and the Struct II (for Illinois), I
only needed to take and pass the WA Struct III exam to get my SE license
there (PE license was by pure reciprosity...i.e. fillout the paperwork and
pay the fee).

California requires the Western States exam (at the moment) to get your SE
license.  In addition, you must have three California SEs who will act as
references for you...and you must have at least 3 years (I believe) of
"structural" experience beyond your PE license (don't know if they will
consider 3 years beyond your initial PE license or if it must be 3 years
beyond getting your California PE license...in otherwords, if I got my PE
license in California this year, would I have to wait 3 years to apply for
the SE license or could I do it right away since I have had more than 3
years of experience since I got my PE license in Michigan? Dunno, but will
likely find out in the future).  And you must have your PE license in order
to get your SE license (this is true in Washington as well).  FWIW, getting
your PE license in California is not just a straight forward
reciprosity...they have two "extra" exams that civils must pass to get their
PE license...a surveying exam and a seismic exam (both are about 2 to 2.5
hours long if I recall correctly).

HTH,

Scott Maxwell, PE, SE
Adrian, MI

On Tue, 1 Feb 2005, Don wrote:

> Stan wrote:
>
> "Don't you use the soil pressure and calc. the masonry wall stresses? 
> If you do, you find that reinforcement is required for any height of 
> fill."
>
> Not necessarily.  Especially with a larger house, there is a 
> significant dead load placing the wall in compression.  In areas of 
> lesser wind loads, most of this dead load may always be there.  This 
> compression plus the minimal tensile capacity of the mortar joints 
> provide some bending capacity. So, even if an engineering analysis 
> were performed, a wall of a given height and thickness, unreinforced, 
> can withstand  a certain height of fill/lateral load.  I believe that 
> this analysis, plus tons of empirical experience, resulted in the 
> foundation wall tables of CABO, now IRC.
>
> PE/SE:
>
> I am a PE only (not "only a PE"), licensed in several east coast 
> states.  I took the civil exam, and answered every structural-related 
> question I could find.  It was the first year I heard of the SE exam 
> being offered, but I wanted the flexibility of being able to proctice 
> both civil and structural. Good thing, because I have done both.  I 
> now (for the last 5 years) practice structural only, and am intrigued 
> by the SE license/tests.  I do not think it would benefit my practice 
> significantly, but may add weight in a conflict between two engineers, 
> especially at the legal level.  So, finally to my
> question:
>
> Could someone please expalin to me what the three tests are, how long 
> they are, how difficult they are, and what SE states require which 
> tests?  Could you please reply directly to dbryant61(--nospam--at)cox.net as I am 
> in digest mode.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Don
>
> Donald R. Bryant, PE
> STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY
> 518 Bushnell Drive
> Virginia Beach, VA  23451
> 757-428-6471
> fax 757-428-6473
>
>
>
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