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RE: Engineers and Lawyers

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>   I find it very sad that we have engineers trying to decide
> if a slab on grade is a structural member or not and what
> section of the code they should use to design it.  We have
> been turned into jail house lawyers instead of engineers.  I
> was under the impression engineers used there experience and
> education to make decisions on how to build structures.
> Looking for clarification between "footing" and "foundation"
> for a element designed with 2500 or 3000 psi concrete is very
> sad to me.

Please don't consider this an attack - it's more of a series of comments.

First, practicing engineers usually live in the real world, and money
matters quite a bit there.  As pointed out earlier, the price difference
between 2500psi and 3000 psi concrete is significant (once you factor in
full-time inspections and testing).  If an engineer routinely requires
3000psi concrete where it's not needed he starts costing owners large sums
of money.  When owners start to avoid him he stops receiving checks.

Conversely, if an engineer routinely specifies 2500psi where the code
clearly requires a minimum of 3000psi he can get into serious trouble.
Projects can be delayed during the plan review process (costing owners
money).  Even worse, if anything goes wrong with the structure and people
start pointing fingers, non-compliance on such a simple matter as the part
that the entire structure relies on for support can look bad.  Lawyers can
point to that as "evidence" of incompetence.

That's why I like this list so much.  I am quite grateful when an obscure
paragraph in the codes is pointed out during the discussions.  I make it a
point to read all of the codes (at least those parts that concern my
project), but I'm far from perfect.  

Jason


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