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[Regulating Profession] - Opening Remarks on sub section "How do we regulate the structural engineering profession?
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nilesh_shah
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:38 pm    Post subject: [Regulating Profession] - Opening Remarks on sub section "How do we regulate the structural engineering profession? Reply with quote

Dear SEFIANS,

It is great pleasure to interact with you in the E-Conference through its subsection on "How do we regulate the Structural Engineering Profession?" I thank organizers for this wonderful opportunity to initiate discussion on subsection and share my views.

In the past -be it academics or professional practice- field of structural engineering has attracted best engineering brains. The nature of work demands mathematical and creative abilities along with sincere and hardworking attitude. To many it appears that the profession does not offer lucrative remunerations, dignity or social status commensurate with high intellect, sincerity, responsibility and hard work which the profession demands. There is something wrong with the way structural engineering profession is regulated (or not regulated) in our country.

Important issues that relates to regulation of Structural Engineering Profession are listed below. This is just a tip of an iceberg. It is not a complete list and subject to addition/alteration.

1. The first and the foremost issue is our professional identity. Though we call ourselves professionals, we are not professionals in legal terms. There is an urgent need to give legal status to our profession like that of other professions such as Architecture, Medical, Chartered Accountancy and Lawyers. This is important to ensure ethical practice, security, dignity and welfare of engineers in general and the society. Engineers Council of India was established in 2002, which took up the task of facilitating draft of Engineers Bill. It still awaits formalization amongst various government departments and nod from the parliament. The Engineers Bill is general for all branches of engineering. The question is - Even if the said Engineers Bill is enacted, would it give us a professional identity befitting to the stature of Structural Engineers? The IE(India) does offer PE to Engineers. But in absence of relevant legislation, does it give us legal identity? Again, IE(India) is a general body covering several branches of engineering.

Let us peep into the present scenario. Currently the licensure as Engineer/Structural Engineer is undertaken by local authority (Generally at city or town level) as per their norms and procedures, which may vary by region or state. Following that, person with recognized degree in civil engineering can get a license from concerned local authority to practise as Engineer/Structural Engineer within its franchised area. This appears to be an open but laissez faire system for such an important task. For efficient practice and regulation of structural engineering profession:

a. Do we need a single apex body formed through legislation - specific to the Structural Engineering Profession, which grants us Professional status, based on recognized academic qualification and minimum relevant structural engineering experience? This body may have region or state branches for deliberation of work and smooth functioning. There may be a two tier system of Registered Structural Engineers (having required minimum qualification but not having required minimum experience) and Professional Structural Engineers (having both, required minimum qualification and required minimum experience)
b. Do we need further categories within the designation of Professional Structural Engineer, based on their academic qualification (Bachelors, Master and Doctorate) and number of years of relevant experience?
c. Do we need a mechanism to track performance of Professional Structural Engineers and their participation in continuous education? Such records may be referred, when someone wish to migrate to a higher category. This will ensure that challenging jobs are in safe hands of more qualified/experienced structural engineers. It will also ensure that new or less experienced structural engineers get opportunities to work on challenging jobs under a senior and expert guidance.
d. Do we need a framework under the aegis of apex body for continuous education and updating of Professional Structural Engineers?
e. Do we need standards of duties, responsibilities and norms for practicing the profession of structural engineering?

2. Any regulation would be effective only when it is backed by legislation and a system for its strict compliance. We do have regulations, applicable to those possessing license to practise as an engineer/structural engineer within the domain of respective concerned authority. Neither have we had legislation to back professional practice nor a system to track compliance to regulations. We need clear norms to practise structural engineering that has legal meaning; Clear identification of duties and responsibilities of Professional Structural Engineer, Authority, Client and Users of the building. We need a simple regulatory system to check technical compliance of structural engineering norms in practice.

Moreover, it would be appropriate to have a legal cell constituted under the aegis of apex body to facilitate issues between Professional Structural Engineers and judiciary/Legislative body relating to professional practice.  

3. There is an issue with first hand understanding of Structural Engineer’s liability. Whenever a structure collapses, it is most likely that fingers would be pointed to concerned structural engineer. We should create awareness in the society that Structural Engineers are responsible only for “design of the structure”. Apart from that, several reasons contribute to failure of a structure. It is time that we have a standard set of contract agreement which all practicing structural engineers can refer to and follow if they wish. And that it incorporates “defect liability period” for our design.

4. There is one more issue which I wish to put forward. Whenever a doctor deals with his client -mostly a patient- he deals with risk of one life. When a structural engineer deals with his client for design of a structure, he deals with risk of several lives. More over lots of money is at stack for his single design. That way, we shoulder greater responsibility. How many of us think about safeguarding themselves against such risk. Many leading insurers abroad classify Structural Engineering as medium hazard activity. Even when we buy a two wheeler, it is mandatory to buy insurance including third party coverage. It is high time that we have a system in place for insuring our professional practice through professional indemnity. Rarely insurance company in India would offer professional indemnity to practicing structural engineer. Leading engineering organizations may proactively take up this issue and make it available to practicing structural engineer.  

At times such thoughts appear too ideal, but they are very much required in place. They may be difficult to realize in short run, but not impossible. Recently, someone quoted in media that India is too democratic. But for sure we are intelligent and capable enough to come out with a strong document that betters the scenario and helps regulate the structural engineering profession in our country.  

Please share your views and contribute towards betterment of our profession.

Regards,
Nilesh Shah
Sr. Partner, SHAH ASSOCIATES, Surat
Fellow, IE (India); M.Tech. (Civil); Design and admin experience of more than 25 years.
Served as visiting faculty to SVNIT, Surat and SCET, Surat
President, The Surat Tennis Club
Certified SCUBA Diver

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girish.marathe
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:57 pm    Post subject: [Regulating Profession] - Opening Remarks on sub section "How do we regulate the structural engineering profession? Reply with quote

Dear all sefians,
We are discussing a lot on mail. Why can't we meet every month,  draw action plans and work on them.
Also can senior members organise training for juniors like me say one every month. I believe meetings will give us more purpose to act. Let's meet district wise. Senior members of ISSE please suggest ways to group us and then meet.
Regards
Girish Marathe
Entech Engineers. On 8 Feb 2016 19:14, "nilesh_shah" <forum@sefindia.org (forum@sefindia.org)> wrote:
Quote:
           Dear SEFIANS,

It is great pleasure to interact with you in the E-Conference through its subsection on "How do we regulate the Structural Engineering Profession?" I thank organizers for this wonderful opportunity to initiate discussion on subsection and share my views.

In the past -be it academics or professional practice- field of structural engineering has attracted best engineering brains. The nature of work demands mathematical and creative abilities along with sincere and hardworking attitude. To many it appears that the profession does not offer lucrative remunerations, dignity or social status commensurate with high intellect, sincerity, responsibility and hard work which the profession demands. There is something wrong with the way structural engineering profession is regulated (or not regulated) in our country.

Important issues that relates to regulation of Structural Engineering Profession are listed below. This is just a tip of an iceberg. It is not a complete list and subject to addition/alteration.

1. The first and the foremost issue is our professional identity. Though we call ourselves professionals, we are not professionals in legal terms. There is an urgent need to give legal status to our profession like that of other professions such as Architecture, Medical, Chartered Accountancy and Lawyers. This is important to ensure ethical practice, security, dignity and welfare of engineers in general and the society. Engineers Council of India was established in 2002, which took up the task of facilitating draft of Engineers Bill. It still awaits formalization amongst various government departments and nod from the parliament. The Engineers Bill is general for all branches of engineering. The question is - Even if the said Engineers Bill is enacted, would it give us a professional identity befitting to the stature of Structural Engineers? The IE(India) does offer PE to Engineers. But in absence of relevant legislation, does it give us legal identity? Again, IE(India) is a general body covering several branches of engineering.

Let us peep into the present scenario. Currently the licensure as Engineer/Structural Engineer is undertaken by local authority (Generally at city or town level) as per their norms and procedures, which may vary by region or state. Following that, person with recognized degree in civil engineering can get a license from concerned local authority to practise as Engineer/Structural Engineer within its franchised area. This appears to be an open but laissez faire system for such an important task. For efficient practice and regulation of structural engineering profession:

a. Do we need a single apex body formed through legislation - specific to the Structural Engineering Profession, which grants us Professional status, based on recognized academic qualification and minimum relevant structural engineering experience? This body may have region or state branches for deliberation of work and smooth functioning. There may be a two tier system of Registered Structural Engineers (having required minimum qualification but not having required minimum experience) and Professional Structural Engineers (having both, required minimum qualification and required minimum experience)
b. Do we need further categories within the designation of Professional Structural Engineer, based on their academic qualification (Bachelors, Master and Doctorate) and number of years of relevant experience?
c. Do we need a mechanism to track performance of Professional Structural Engineers and their participation in continuous education? Such records may be referred, when someone wish to migrate to a higher category. This will ensure that challenging jobs are in safe hands of more qualified/experienced structural engineers. It will also ensure that new or less experienced structural engineers get opportunities to work on challenging jobs under a senior and expert guidance.
d. Do we need a framework under the aegis of apex body for continuous education and updating of Professional Structural Engineers?
e. Do we need standards of duties, responsibilities and norms for practicing the profession of structural engineering?

2. Any regulation would be effective only when it is backed by legislation and a system for its strict compliance. We do have regulations, applicable to those possessing license to practise as an engineer/structural engineer within the domain of respective concerned authority. Neither have we had legislation to back professional practice nor a system to track compliance to regulations. We need clear norms to practise structural engineering that has legal meaning; Clear identification of duties and responsibilities of Professional Structural Engineer, Authority, Client and Users of the building. We need a simple regulatory system to check technical compliance of structural engineering norms in practice.

Moreover, it would be appropriate to have a legal cell constituted under the aegis of apex body to facilitate issues between Professional Structural Engineers and judiciary/Legislative body relating to professional practice.

3. There is an issue with first hand understanding of Structural Engineer’s liability. Whenever a structure collapses, it is most likely that fingers would be pointed to concerned structural engineer. We should create awareness in the society that Structural Engineers are responsible only for “design of the structure”. Apart from that, several reasons contribute to failure of a structure. It is time that we have a standard set of contract agreement which all practicing structural engineers can refer to and follow if they wish. And that it incorporates “defect liability period” for our design.

4. There is one more issue which I wish to put forward. Whenever a doctor deals with his client -mostly a patient- he deals with risk of one life. When a structural engineer deals with his client for design of a structure, he deals with risk of several lives. More over lots of money is at stack for his single design. That way, we shoulder greater responsibility. How many of us think about safeguarding themselves against such risk. Many leading insurers abroad classify Structural Engineering as medium hazard activity. Even when we buy a two wheeler, it is mandatory to buy insurance including third party coverage. It is high time that we have a system in place for insuring our professional practice through professional indemnity. Rarely insurance company in India would offer professional indemnity to practicing structural engineer. Leading engineering organizations may proactively take up this issue and make it available to practicing structural engineer.

At times such thoughts appear too ideal, but they are very much required in place. They may be difficult to realize in short run, but not impossible. Recently, someone quoted in media that India is too democratic. But for sure we are intelligent and capable enough to come out with a strong document that betters the scenario and helps regulate the structural engineering profession in our country.

Please share your views and contribute towards betterment of our profession.

Regards,
Nilesh Shah
Sr. Partner, SHAH ASSOCIATES, Surat
Fellow, IE (India); M.Tech. (Civil); Design and admin experience of more than 25 years.
Served as visiting faculty to SVNIT, Surat and SCET, Surat
President, The Surat Tennis Club
Certified SCUBA Diver
     



     



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James_Cohen
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:20 pm    Post subject: [Regulating Profession] - Opening Remarks on sub section "How do we regulate the structural engineering profession? Reply with quote

Dear SEFIANS,

A question from abroad, to add to the excellent suggestions already made. Does the Structural Engineering profession in India subscribe to a Code of Ethics and, if so, are there any industry-internal means by which allegations of unethical behavior can be investigated, judged and published? Even without legal backing to enforce penalties, this can be a powerful means to elevate the profession.

Regards,

James S. Cohen P.E.
Senior Vice President
Thornton Tomasetti
744 Broad Street
Newark, NJ 07102-3802
T +1.973.286.6100 F +1.973.286.6101
D +1.973.286.6104 M +1.917.733.0204
JCohen@ThorntonTomasetti.com (JCohen@ThorntonTomasetti.com)
www.ThorntonTomasetti.com
40 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005-1304
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nimish.khanolkar
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:36 pm    Post subject: Re: [Regulating Profession] - Opening Remarks on sub section "How do we regulate the structural engineering profess Reply with quote

James,

Currently there is no code of ethics that i have heard of. The situation is just like what it would be, if a relatively new democracy which even hasnt completed 100 years, with a new constitution, is slowly moving ahead grappling with problems of red tapism, corruption etc. Probably we had more pressing problems to solve than regulating the Engineering Profession.

We do have local municipal regulations, like the icty of Mumbai needs certificates of stability, and other stuff to be issued by SEs.
However, these are considered mere formalities by both parties involved. Most responsible firms for SE do have a good emphasis on quality, and they most err on conservative side by giving more than less..!Especially in Mumbai where land rates govern selling prices than material savings.

So obviously, we do need the regulatory body, and only have to look to developed nations for good models, like UK(CE, IStructE, ICE relationships ) or USA (PE versus SE).


James_Cohen wrote:
Dear SEFIANS,

A question from abroad, to add to the excellent suggestions already made. Does the Structural Engineering profession in India subscribe to a Code of Ethics and, if so, are there any industry-internal means by which allegations of unethical behavior can be investigated, judged and published? Even without legal backing to enforce penalties, this can be a powerful means to elevate the profession.

Regards,

James S. Cohen P.E.
Senior Vice President
Thornton Tomasetti
744 Broad Street
Newark, NJ 07102-3802
T +1.973.286.6100 F +1.973.286.6101
D +1.973.286.6104 M +1.917.733.0204
JCohen@ThorntonTomasetti.com (JCohen@ThorntonTomasetti.com)
www.ThorntonTomasetti.com
40 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005-1304
T +1.212.367.3000 F +1.212.497.2488
D +1.212.367.2988 M +1.917.733.0204

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Dr. N. Subramanian
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:23 pm    Post subject: Re: [Regulating Profession] - Opening Remarks on sub section "How do we regulate the structural engineering profess Reply with quote

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Last edited by Dr. N. Subramanian on Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dr. N. Subramanian
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:31 pm    Post subject: Re: [Regulating Profession] - Opening Remarks on sub section "How do we regulate the structural engineering profess Reply with quote

Dear Er Cohen,

I am happy that a Senior Vice President of Thornton Tomasetti (which is a renowned consulting firm in USA) is participating in our e-conference.

Our Engg. Associations do have drafted code of Ethics. For example the code of ethics of Engineering Council of India is given in their website: http://www.ecindia.org/

Just for your info:

There is an Indian book: Professional Ethics, by R. Subramanian, Oxford Univ. Press, 2013, 520 pp, Rs. 350 [http://www.sefindia.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=61016]

My friend Er Vivek also drafted some Ethics for Structural Engineers:http://www.sefindia.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=21345-This link also contains the  Code Of Ethics drafted by Institution of Engineers(India)

My friend Er N. Prabhakar and I have also posted an article showing high professional ethics shown by (late) Er. William LeMessurier, one of North America's most respected engineers, while designing the Citicorp Center Tower-http://www.sefindia.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=64069 & http://www.sefindia.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8986

Perhaps, many of us are observing it in our profession, without knowing it. We need to have articles on Ethics similar to those published in the  Civil Engineering Magazine of ASCE.

Warm regards,
Subramanian


James_Cohen wrote:
Dear SEFIANS,
A question from abroad, to add to the excellent suggestions already made. Does the Structural Engineering profession in India subscribe to a Code of Ethics and, if so, are there any industry-internal means by which allegations of unethical behavior can be investigated, judged and published? Even without legal backing to enforce penalties, this can be a powerful means to elevate the profession.

Regards,

James S. Cohen P.E.
Senior Vice President
Thornton Tomasetti
744 Broad Street
Newark, NJ 07102-3802
T +1.973.286.6100 F +1.973.286.6101
D +1.973.286.6104 M +1.917.733.0204
JCohen@ThorntonTomasetti.com (JCohen@ThorntonTomasetti.com)
www.ThorntonTomasetti.com
40 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005-1304
T +1.212.367.3000 F +1.212.497.2488
D +1.212.367.2988 M +1.917.733.0204

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Dr. N. Subramanian
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:36 pm    Post subject: Re: [Regulating Profession] - Opening Remarks on sub section "How do we regulate the structural engineering profess Reply with quote

Dear All,

I read in a Tamil Construction Magazine(edited by Er. A. Veerappan, retd. Chief Engineer of State PWD) that the Engg. Council of India (ECI) launched the registration of Professional Engineers, Associate Professional Engineers and Student Engineers, jointly with its Member Associations in Nov. 2015.

I believe that if you are registered with ECI, you need not register with any state level registration.


Criteria for registering as Professional Engineer (PE) and Application for the same as per ECI is given in their website: http://www.ecindia.org/

Warm regards,
Subramanian
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arunangshu
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dr. Subramanian & All Fellow Engineers,

Its a overwhelming step taken by ECI that now we can register ourselves against a proper evaluation process - much similar like developed nations or our Institution of Engineers India's PE/IntPE examination.

The only query I Have, is ECI registered engineers will be recognised internationally by The International Professional Engineers' Engagement (IPEA)?

Best regards
Arun
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arun,

The certification of ECI has no value as of now, internationally or nationally. They will need to have the govt recognise their certification. Its not clear if and when this will happen.

Alpa
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:00 pm    Post subject: [Regulating Profession] - Opening Remarks on sub section "How do we regulate the structural engineering profession? Reply with quote

Dear Mr Arun,

May I inform you and all other Sefians that at the moment there are 3 institutions who are appealing Engineers for "Registration". 


a) The Institution of Engineers (India) [Copy of recent advertisement attached. This is also available in their website]


b) ECI ... as already explained by Dr Subramanian


c) CEAI (Consulting Engineers Association of India), in association with 9 other professional associations has also given call to many Engineers,  to apply so that they can establishh the â€˜National Register of Engineers’.


In my opinion, by going independently, these institutions, who represent the engineering fraternity, are sending a wrong signal to the decision makers and politicians.  They also confuse poor Engineer, who has to decide whether he should register with IE(I), CEAI or ECI ??


Such moves clearly shows mirror to all of us that we are not a cohesive force, when it comes to fighting for a cause and in my opinion, this is the root cause for us not having the Engineers Bill passed even after nearly 69 years of our independence.


I would have liked only one institution to register engineers and all other associations / institutions supporting and campaigning for the same. 


Best Wishes


Alok Bhowmick

On Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 12:16 PM, arunangshu <forum@sefindia.org (forum@sefindia.org)> wrote:
Quote:
           Dr. Subramanian & All Fellow Engineers,

Its a overwhelming step taken by ECI that now we can register ourselves against a proper evaluation process - much similar like developed nations or our Institution of Engineers India's PE/IntPE examination.

The only query I Have, is ECI registered engineers will be recognised internationally by The International Professional Engineers' Engagement (IPEA)?

Best regards
Arun
     



     


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