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 Post subject: PE stamps on AFH Studies
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:01 pm 
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Location: Rutland, VT
Hello,

I was curious to see how many people are stamping any arc flash studies with a PE stamp.

Do you feel these studies are design documents and required to be stamped?

How about if the individual has a PE in one state but not the state where the study is being done? Especially if you are work for a large company that has industrial plants in many states but the engineers are in a corporate office?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:02 pm 
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I will only stamp documents if asked. But I do believe that Arc Flash analysis is something that could be stamped. I will not stamp a drawing for an establishment which resides in a State in which I am not registered. I even question if its sanctioned for you to do that.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:16 pm 
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What about stamping a AF analysis done for company in a state other than where you registered?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:12 pm 
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I have debated the question to some extent....after all as a PE we are charged with the welfare of the public with respect to the safety of our designs. I submit that it does not matter if you stamp it or not, if you did the work and made the recommendations, do you think you will be let off of the hook if it hits the fan? Doubt it!

The attorneys will subpeona everyone from the engineer, manufacturer, employer, and the person on site who was supposed to know better the all of the above. It will be left up to you and your attorney to get you kicked out of the barrel if it is deemed that you should be.

As far as stamping a report in a state that you are not licensed to work as an engineer, I would say absolutely, categorically NO.

I think that not only can you not seal the report, if one agreed that it requires a seal, you cannot legally do the work in that state if it does require a seal unless you are duly registered by that state.

Alan


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:35 pm 
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Alan,

That is true but I think the confusion, at least from discussions I'be had is does doing an analysis constitute a design, as the word design is used in state laws?
An argument could be made that recommending a breaker setting change to lower the arc flash is a design but if a setting is recommended to meet the NEC is that a design?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:56 pm 
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I agree that there can be confusion in some areas but I generally seal every thing that I do....period. Without getting caught in the issue of whether or not it is required, I fall on the side that it doesn't matter anyway if you did the work and made the recommendations with regard to especially a safety issue.

The only other issue at hand, seems to me, is whether you practiced engineering in a state where you were not authorized. So I avoid the possible conflict and only work in states where I am registered.

We are an engineering firm, so it makes it really grey as to whether we are actually practicing engineering or not.

It is my personel opinion the an engineer should not be performing arc flash studies in a state that they are not licensed.

Why fight that battle.

Alan


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:41 am 
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Glad to see this discussion!

In the guide for specifying arc flash studies that I have been working on within IEEE 1584, myself and my co-chairman had language requiring the study be performed under the direction of a PE. I believe that is the way most state laws are interpreted - it is an engineering service.

During the debate, we were both about to be tied up and placed in front of a 100 cal/cm2 arc flash without PPE. (modern day version of burned at the stake) It became pretty ugly and that section had to be deleted and left up to the individual states. The committee reasoning did however make sense - it is not up to IEEE to enforce PE laws (by requiring a PE in the document) it is left up to the individual states. I think you will find most states consider this an engineering service and it falls under their laws.

Many states have an industrial exemption clause (worded differently depending on the state) where people working for an industry do not have to be a PE to perform engineering work within their company. i.e. if you work for a steel mill and are not a P.E. you can still perform engineering work for your employer - the steel mill.

I have had the honor of knowing some exceptional engineers that were not PE's but very knowlegable, talanted and the top of their field. I have also known a lot of very smart PE's. However like anything else, there are always a few PE's that are... well, I'll just say not at the top of the pile. So even though signing a study by a PE is a legal issue, it does not always indicate who has the ability and talent - just who can pass two 8 hour board exams.

I also had the head of the Florida PE board, FBPE contact me about this same issue around a year ago since it is becoming a major subject and I believe most states are now aware of the issue.

Best to review each state's laws first.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:34 pm 
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Washington State requires all "engineering" to be performed by a licensed PE (there may be some exceptions for in-house or utility work that I have not looked in to). Furthermore, the State requires work completed by a PE to be either stamped (sealed) or marked preliminary. The argument might be made as to what work contitutes "engineering"; Arc Flash Studies are more technical, specialized and subject to liability than many other traditional areas of "engineering". On the other hand, the WA state department of licensing does not see it as their duty to require customers to utilize licensed engineers and I have been frustrated in the past when underbid on design projects by an electrician that is not burdened with due dilligence of an engineer.

I seal every analysis report issued. The reports generally refer to labels, the labels installed are dated so they can be crossreferenced back to the sealed report. I do not see much room for other interpretation on this, but I am not convinced it makes any difference to my customers.


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