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RE: California Plan Stamping

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The issues I've reported and BORPELS responses have actually happened. I gave my name on the later case where the non-engineer was misrepresenting himself so that BORPELS would contact me with the decision on the matter. They never did contact me and the non-professional knows it was me who turned him in. In fact, he requested that I not plan check his future projects since he does not understand why I reported him to BORPELS and the registration board appears not to have done much more than make him change the company name from his full name to his initials.
California is experiencing a money crunch (and I assume most states are in the same boat) and BORPELS was to be disbanded and their authority given to the Department of Consumer Affairs (which currently keeps track of licensing for all professionals and specialties in the state). My wife is a nurse and her nursing registration board was also to be dismantled. However, it appears that the Governor has lost his efforts to consolidate all licensing issues (including investigations of complaints) into one office under Consumer Affairs and BORPELS is still in business. I can only guess that their funding was severely cut. In fact, we just received a call from my wife's nursing union to remind us that here dues can not be used in California for any political lobbying as per the Governor. The only way to support government intervention by the Union's in the state is for the union member to donate money and they ask for anything the member can give per her or his pay period.
I heard from another engineer who has contacts in BORPELS who confirms that their authority is severely limited by the size of the staff and the importance of the complaints made. This leaves us open to a great deal of abuse with little intervention as we had in the past. However, let me say that in the past there were times when BORPELS was strongly accused of abusing their power over the engineering community - its a damned if you do and damned if you don't but we need some representation that will help bring balance and fairness to our practice in this state.

Stan, as to your comment related to some Architects that understand truss analysis: I apologize, you are correct. There are a lot of savvy Architects out there who understand structures and many of them are Polytechnic graduates. NEVER use never in a sentence (or ALWAYS). In this instance, the Architect is simply earning a few extra dollars putting his stamp on the truss calculations. I liked the client who hired me and the choice to change the truss company was done by the framer because he could obtain delivery in a shorter time frame. I had warned the owner, designer and framer not to use this truss company during our pre-construction meeting and was forced to invoice the client for the hours of additional work needed to justify the framers work. I told her that I would help her collect it from the framer or the truss company since the location and details for all drag trusses were clearly indicated on the drawings but ignored by the truss company.

The bottom line is that most of the work done to improve building codes is intended to improve life safety and performance. The intent is defeated once regulations are not adhered to and unqualified professionals are allowed to place their approval on work without responsibility until failure or death occurs. Engineers had regulations to mitigate possible hazards, while Architects are not responsible or held such until after the damage occurs. This is a giant gap in the credibility of building codes and the desire to improve quality of construction without unnecessarily penalizing the public for our lack of compromise.



Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
Structural Engineering Consultant (Photo Blog) (Launch to Professional Discussion Blogs)


760.564.0884 (office - fax)

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