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re: solar panels/ liability

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Dennis,

You came to the same conclusion I had the moment I read your post, the risk to reward ratio is not there for this type of project. The same I have found true for mobile home foundations, truss “engineering”, swimming pools, wood decks, pool screen enclosures, tract home reuses, etc…. Someone out their will stamp anything in front of them until they are busted, and I read their names in every Florida Board of PEs newsletter. For the most part clients will not pay anything resembling even a minimum wage to do this type of work.

 

 The shocking thing for me is how often their PE numbers are very low, which suggests a certain older population of engineers in FL seems to be signing away anything. For example I am 60993 and am 33, and I remember there was a guy with number like 15000 who got his license permanently revoked after stamping residential drawings for the millionth time that did not comply after having action taken against them already. I am not sure if some people are retired and just don’t care anymore, but I hate to think there are engineers willing to do this for a couple hundred bucks.

 

We just had a project involving vehicle guardrail cable system, and it was sort of pre-designed and we were trying to make it work, though it was not even close in every regard: cable size, posts, embedments, connections, etc. We were maybe 60% through the design and taking longer than what the client wanted, and out of the blue they called us and said NEVERMIND. They needed S and S dwgs that day or they would lose the project. There would have been a lot of coordination with the EOR of the main structure to make the connections for the cables work, not to mention a complete redesign of the guardrails. But some other engineer was willing to S and S what they had done to get a permit. I can only hope that even though it is not allowed, once they get a permit they will actually have a real design that works done. But our hands are clean…

 

Engineering is a business, and some people just want YES men, good to hear you are not one of them Dennis. And that is why you will hopefully have a long and fruitful career without getting brought in front of a board who is wondering why all the solar panel attachments failed during a small wind event….

 

Andrew Kester, PE

Orlando, FL