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RE: Arch. Engr. Programs but no Arch. Engineers

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Dangerous territory….

I have been mulling this over since ASCE decided to establish an institute specific to it and NCEES developed a PE exam for it.  At the risk of potentially offending someone out there… I honestly find the notion a little disturbing, particularly in states like mine which do not have SE registration and actually don’t even assign your registration to a specialty.  As a PE here who took the SE1 exam, as I understand it, I could legally practice in …. Electrical Engineering… IF I felt I was competent at it and nothing I turned out produced any red flags…  

So, now we may be producing a group of engineers who potentially feel that they are competent to provide all those services (A/MEP/C/S).  Now the vast majority of us are ethical about that sort of thing but I see a real potential for it to be abused and I don’t know how it is in other states but I believe we currently have less than 3 inspectors who are put in the position of being responsible for all regulated professions from Engineers to Beauticians so enforcement is not “abundant”. 

I guess I am protective of our specialty in the sense that I don’t think one can ‘dabble’ in it and be current.  Heck, its all I can do to keep reading the new structural codes and design structure- I’m not sure how well anyone can keep up with all the disciplines simultaneously and be a proficient engineer. 

I think the degree has three potential places 1. Residential Construction, 2. Construction Management (one of our older EITs here who does a lot of our construction admin is going this route but does not do actual design), and 3. as a bachelors degree before specialization with a structural masters deg (or mech, elec, etc).   I’m iffy on the second due to a lot if run ins with CM’s that think they know how to do everything better than us already…. But that’s another whole conversation for another day.

So I can see the degree having some merit, but I am concerned about someone coming out and trying to be a Jack-of-all-trades. But as pointed out by Bill, good engineers can come from all backgrounds. I just think if you want to design and go with such a broad platform at the BS level you really need to specialize afterwards. 


The big picture is a good thing- but each stroke is what makes the image.


My meandering thoughts…


Michelle Motchos, PE

Stevens & Wilkinson of SC

PO Drawer 7. Columbia SC 29202-0007




-----Original Message-----
From: Jeremy White [mailto:jwhite(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2006 2:25 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Arch. Engr. Programs but no Arch. Engineers


I’ve had a question that I asked myself previously, but never came up with a good answer to.  The question is: Why are there Architectural Engineering programs but no architectural engineers?  If you graduate from an AE program why is there no distinction?  There is and AE Institute but there are really no AE’s just mechanical engineers, structural engineers, etc. with AE degrees.  Some would say graduating from an AE program gives you an advantage since you know a breadth of the various building related disciplines to go along with specific option.  Mechanical AE’s focus on mechanical engineering as it relates only to buildings, but is there any real advantage to being a structural AE over a civil structural.  I’m willing to bet the civil guys say no. 


It seems to me that the building industry is almost ripe for an AE professional, that is, people who are well versed in all the technical aspects of buildings.  These people could be the coordinators of the building project.  Why do we leave that crucial task up to architects?  No offense to architects, but I would prefer a structural engineer running the show rather than an architect.  Because of the nature of the profession, I believe structural engineers are just as intimate with the building as the architect, but have the technical and practical expertise to be able make critical decisions.  All points of view are welcome to weigh-in J


Jeremy White