Archive for June, 2011

Robert Reich on the economy:

On You Tube:


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How does one select a structural engineer? Is structural engineering for a project a commodity (an article of commerce) or a professional service (the performance of a duty)? If structural engineering is a commodity, like lumber or copper pipe, it might make sense to select the cheapest structural engineer. However, if the engineer is considered the provider of a professional service, lowest price may not be the appropriate primary motivator.

The Administrative Hearing Commission of the State of Missouri, when evaluating the performance of the structural engineers for the design of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency after the 1981 collapse of the suspended walkways determined the following:

“In summary, this Commission rejects [the engineers’] evidence characterizing the role, duties and responsibility of structural engineers under the custom and practice, wherein they contend that licensed professionals are merely additional contractors on a project. The custom and practice urged upon us by [the engineers] smacks of cost benefit analysis run amok and is improperly inserted out of place in a system requiring professional judgment and integrity. It imputes to the licensed professional the same financial and economic motives as are held by the construction team. This attempt by [the engineers] to join the construction team leaves the owner and the public unprotected from a hazardous activity for no greater purpose than [the engineers’] convenience and financial benefit. To the extent [the engineers] do and did perform their functions as professional engineers in accordance with such an unauthorized view of their role and responsibility, their practice is not in accordance with acceptable standards of engineering practice.” (Emphasis added.)

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