May 2018  

Industry News and Notes

NCSEA seminars on "Alternate Means & Methods per IBC" coming to OH in May. 


Dr. Tim Mays is bringing this 4-hour practical course to Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland in late May.  

This 4-hour course reviews the "alternate means and methods" (AM&M) sections of the IBC and IRC building codes in regards to materials and design approaches.  These provisions are intended to allow the use of new materials, advanced technology, and design approaches that result in code-compliant designs that may not meet the prescriptive requirements in the codes.  AM&M designs often offer significant construction cost savings to the client while resulting in a final design that better meets the intent of the code’s prescriptive design philosophy.  

The design guide "Alternate Means and Methods: Practical Applications to Engineering Design" will also be available for course registrants at a deeply discounted price.  

See the PDF attached and HERE or the meeting list on the left for more info about each date and location, as well as registration info.  

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SEAoO Annual Conference

Registration is now open

We've opened registration for SEAoO's very popular Annual Conference early this year.  It will again be held at the Columbus Airport Marriott on Sep 6 & 7 (Thu/Fri), and we've finalized most speakers already.   

Information can be found on this page, which will be updated frequently:  Annual Conference page

The discounted hotel room block ($141/nt) is also available for reservations:  Book your group rate for Structural Engineers Assn.

Jason Hoover
SEAoO Annual Conference Committee Chair
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SEAoO News

SE3 survey will close this month

The survey by NCSEA Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) Committee is still open.  Please take a few minutes to complete it before it closes this month. 

We discussed this survey in more detail in the April newsletter

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SEAoO Education Committee

2018 Student Competition Results:

Last month, students at Ohio University hosted this year's ASCE Ohio Valley Student Conference (OVSC).  The weekend was filled with competitions, including the most well-known: Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge.  SEAoO supported the event by sending SEAoO Director, Mindy Barber of THP Limited, to judge the concrete canoe event.  A complete list of results can be found here, but special congratulations goes to the top Ohio teams, including:

Concrete Canoe:

     1. The University of Akron

     2. Youngstown State University

     4. University of Cincinnati

     6. Cincinnati State

     8. Ohio University

     9. The Ohio State University

Steel Bridge:

     1. Youngstown State University

     2. The University of Akron

     3. Cleveland State

     4. The Ohio State University

     5. University of Dayton

     6. Ohio University

     9. University of Cincinnati


2018 NASCC Conference:

As part of our efforts to support structural engineering students across Ohio, SEAoO recently provided funds to help 6 students travel to Baltimore for this year's NASCC, or “The Steel Conference.” Students, who were eager to learn more about our industry, benefitted by attending student sessions, highly technical presentations, and networking events. Each student wrote a summary of their experience, which can be found here.


Calling All Students - Attend the 2018 SEAoO Annual Conference:

All students are invited to attend the 2018 SEAoO Annual Conference on September 6th & 7th in Columbus.  This is a great opportunity to learn details of the structural engineering profession from practicing engineers and experts in the field.  In keeping with our commitment to education, SEAoO provides students a low price of $40 for advance registration, which covers printed material, lunch both days and the Award Dinner on Thursday.  You will find the events very beneficial - click here for the up-to-date lineup of presenters.

Thank you,
Bernie Kooi, PE, SE, LEED AP
SEAoO Basic Education Committee Chair
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SEAoO Licensure Committee

Design Coordination

Modern design projects are notably more complex than those of the time when engineering licensure provisions were first enacted.  This design complexity is not merely a structural concern - it also stems from the much wider array of technologies associated with a constructed facility.  Engineering now includes a much wider variety of practice as evidenced by the fact that NCEES offers the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam in 17 different disciplines with a total of 26 variations1.  

A single project might involve the coordinated work of several engineering disciplines in conjunction with multiple architectural disciplines.  This increased need for interdisciplinary coordination presents an increased opportunity for failure due to incomplete or inadequate communication.  This effect is apparent in several past structural failures; one of the most infamous of which is the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse that killed 114.  

Nebraska has developed an innovative method to address the need for project coordination.  Every Nebraska project with multiple design professionals is required to have a designated Coordinating Professional.  Chapter 6 of the state’s rules and regulations provides the requirements of the role which can be paraphrased as:

  • Every project involving more than one architect or professional engineer must have a designated Coordinating Professional
  • There must be a Coordinating Professional at all times, but the professional holding this title may change during the course of the project
  • May be a member of the design team but is not required to be
  • Must be a Professional Engineer or Architect licensed in Nebraska
  • Coordinates the communication of the design professionals related to the technical documents of the project
  • Serves as project liaison with the governing building official
  • Coordinates design changes to all project participants
  • Communicates all changes in the field with other disciplines so that all the pieces continue to fit


Ohio’s engineering regulations do not directly specify requirements for a Coordinating Professional in the explicit sense that Nebraska does.  One might contend that the Ohio Code of Ethics for Engineers and Surveyors (OAC 4733-35) addresses this to a degree but the connection is not nearly as direct as that of Nebraska.

This is not a call for modifications to Ohio regulations, but rather an observation of how one jurisdiction has officially recognized the risks of design complexity.  Similarly, this reasoning parallels the rationale for SEAoO to support structural licensure - there is a need to establish a plan addressing the risks associated with increased structural complexity.

Please share your thoughts regarding this topic and the questions raised.  We also welcome your input on any other topic related to engineering licensure.   Please contact us if you would like to contribute to this column.

Thank you.

Timothy M. Gilbert, P.E., S.E., SECB
SEAoO Licensure Committee


1  There are 5 variations of the civil PE exam; 3 for electrical/computer; 3 for mechanical; and 2 for the 16-hour structural exam..
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Nuts, Bolts & Washers


Both the book by Michael Lewis and the movie it inspired carry an important message for the engineering profession: promote the activities that lead to success regardless of, and possibly counter to conventional wisdom.  

Lewis engagingly tells the story of how the financially challenged Oakland Athletics (aka the A’s) built a championship team by seeking players who delivered strong performance in the areas that led to wins regardless of their performance in the usual benchmarks.  

The engineering profession seems to be facing similar obstacles.  One key difference from baseball is that success for one does not necessarily mean a loss for another.  So I ask rhetorically:

  • How are you measuring success?  
  • What metrics are the best predictors of a good project?  
  • And significantly, are you sure these are the right measures, or are you relying on conventional wisdom like all the teams that played catch up to the Oakland A’s?


Equity in the Profession

If you have yet to take the SE3 survey discussed in this newsletter (link) please take some time to do so before it closes this month.  Its results will be used to improve professional engagement and equity.  Survey data will help us better understand factors driving the demographic difference between our profession and that of a random sample of our citizenry.  The profession cannot reach its greatest strength without considering all aspects of out population, for it is the public which our work serves.

The College of YouTube

Not long ago, a faucet at my house needed repair.  Combined with the fixture being in a rather difficult to reach location and sparse graphics in the manufacturer’s manual the options seemed limited.  So one might think it’s time to call a professional plumber who could likely handle the work in minutes. Not so fast - a quick online search revealed several clear and detailed “how-to” videos for the homeowner.  Thanks to YouTube, all was fixed in short order - by my spouse, before I was even aware of the concern.

The internet is a vast resource for almost any subject matter, from carpentry to computer software tutorials to surgery.  Many individuals with expert knowledge are eager to share it, and we are the beneficiaries.  Not sure how to do something?  Give online videos a shot, no matter what the topic.  The resource could potentially inject significant disruption into traditional education methods.

Thanks again

Tim Gilbert
SEAoO Secretary


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