Am I allowed to post here?

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charlie b

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Seattle, WA
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Electrical Engineer
But it does seem like a double standard. Electricians can ask engineering questions, but not the other way around?
Some of the things that an engineer would do in the design phases of an electrical project are also learned in the training phases of an electrician's career. There is a legally-drawn line that establishes when an engineer must be involved in the design, and when an electrical contractor can handle the entire installation as a "design-build project." So if an electrician posts a question about performing load calculations, there is a good reason to anticipate that this is part of that person's normal job duties.


By contrast, none of the things that an electrician would do, from "means and methods" to the NEC itself, are taught in an engineering degree program. There is no reason to anticipate that a person with a BSEE knows anything at all about safely performing electrical installation work.
 

charlie b

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Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
How about the mods pick out a good DIY site and referance the DIY to that site.
We talked about that (debated, actually) several years ago. The consensus is that we should not do that. The reasoning, weak as it may be, is that if answering a DIY question risks a lawsuit (as in, "you should have told my client that he needed to xxx, when you were answering his question about yyy"), there is also a risk of a lawsuit if we suggest another Internet information source (as in, "you recommended that site to my client, and my client received poor and insufficient information, and you should have known that that site would not give enough good information. . . ").
 

drbond24

Senior Member
Some of the things that an engineer would do in the design phases of an electrical project are also learned in the training phases of an electrician's career. There is a legally-drawn line that establishes when an engineer must be involved in the design, and when an electrical contractor can handle the entire installation as a "design-build project." So if an electrician posts a question about performing load calculations, there is a good reason to anticipate that this is part of that person's normal job duties.

By contrast, none of the things that an electrician would do, from "means and methods" to the NEC itself, are taught in an engineering degree program. There is no reason to anticipate that a person with a BSEE knows anything at all about safely performing electrical installation work.

Excellent points here. My first job after graduating with a BSEE was to design buildings for the Navy. After they assigned me my first project, I had to ask my boss how many wires were needed for a 120 V receptacle. :D I caught on fast and did a lot of reading in the NEC, but my point is that in no way was I trained for the installation side of things by the WVU Tech Golden Bears.

The attitude usually seems to be that engineers are taught design and theory stuff because we have electricians for the hands-on stuff. On the other hand, electricians try to learn everything they can so they can do it themselves without having to deal with an engineer. :D:D As I have frequently said in this forum, I am not one of the stuck up engineers that drive everyone crazy (at least, I don't think I am), but I know enough of them to understand why you feel that way.

There have been times that I've had DIY questions that I refrained from asking here because I'm not qualified to do that kind of work. I do it anyway because I want to and because I don't want to give any of my money to any of you guys (nothing personal, I just like keeping my money :)), but I don't expect any of you to take any liability for my bad decisions. I'd be happy to let you if you volunteer, but I'm not asking. :grin:;):roll:
 

iwire

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Massachusetts
So conversly electricians should not be performing design or engineering work and should not ask for help in those areas?

In my state electricians are allowed and expected to do design and rudimentary engineering. It is part of my job.

You EEs get the hard stuff.:)
 

hardworkingstiff

Senior Member
Location
Wilmington, NC
In the Mike Holt forum, the Mod Squad is the AHJ.

:grin: That's funny, I don't care who you are. :grin:

I'd like to thank all the people (both electricans and engineers) who give of there time and knowledge. I've learned a lot from both of you (as an electrician and wannabe engineer).

I'm still getting much more than I give, so thank you all that give more than you get!:)
 
There is a legally-drawn line that establishes when an engineer must be involved in the design, and when an electrical contractor can handle the entire installation as a "design-build project."


Could you point to where that line is laid down in writing?


By contrast, none of the things that an electrician would do, from "means and methods" to the NEC itself, are taught in an engineering degree program. There is no reason to anticipate that a person with a BSEE knows anything at all about safely performing electrical installation work.

Stronlgy disagree on both counts.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Do you at least read this list that manifest some of the utmost and fundamental ignorance of people who call themselves electricians and licensed so by a State?

I can not disagree with you there, there are many poor electricians out there just as there are some really poor engineers out there.


There is a legally-drawn line that establishes when an engineer must be involved in the design, and when an electrical contractor can handle the entire installation as a "design-build project."


Could you point to where that line is laid down in writing?

It would be different in each state / area etc.

Here in MA ECs are allowed and expected to do basic engineering and design. I do not personally know where the cut of is for us and when an engineer is required.

I have no illusions, I am not by any means equal to an engineer in my knowledge of electrical engineering, not even close. But at the same time it is a fact that electricians must do some designing / engineering or they will not have a job. Customers are not going to hire an engineer for every electrical job.
 

charlie b

Moderator
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Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Could you point to where that line is laid down in writing?
I once worked for a design-build electrical contractor. They had a small internal design group that would provide the basic plans for many types of buildings, and the electricians in the field would make the detailed decisions as they were doing the installation. That was allowed by Washington Admin Code for some types of facilities, such as retail and residential. But other facilities had to be designed under engineering supervision.
One example is that the State of Washington requires a plan review for the design of new health care facilities. The plans are required to be sealed by a licenced PE.
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
By contrast, none of the things that an electrician would do, from "means and methods" to the NEC itself, are taught in an engineering degree program. There is no reason to anticipate that a person with a BSEE knows anything at all about safely performing electrical installation work.
Stronlgy disagree on both counts.
There was no course in either my BS or MS degree programs that mentioned the existence of the NEC, nor any that discussed the difference between THHN and THWN. So I don't understand the reason for your strong disagreement. In an engineer does have any knowledge or skills in the arena of electrical installation work, it was not obtained in a college EE degree program. A person working towards a BSEET degree get more hands-on experience than a person working towards a EE degree, so I wonder if that is what you are refering to.
 
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Cold Fusion

Senior Member
Location
way north
There was no course in either my BS or MS degree programs that mentioned the existence of the NEC, nor any that discussed the difference between THHN and THWN. So I don't understand the reason for your strong disagreement. In an engineer does have any knowledge or skills in the arena of electrical installation work, it was not obtained in a college EE degree program. A person working towards a BSEET degree get more hands-on experience than a person working towards a EE degree, so I wonder if that is what you are refering to.
charlie -
You have a stastical sample of one - yourself. Not only is it possible, it is highly probable, that not all of us were as disadvantaged as you were.

Just a side note, I clearly recall a question on the PE exam about picking conduit, conductors, starter size, if conduit size changed with adding a grounding conductor, if conduit size changed depending on if one used THW or THWN. So somebody though we knew about the NEC. Oh yeah - that one was a gimme for me.

So I clearly understand Wer's reason for his strong disagreement.

What I don't understand is why the moderators are defending their decision. You (plural) are the ones with the hammer. You don't have to defend your inane decisions - you just have to live with them.

cf
 

Cold Fusion

Senior Member
Location
way north
In my state electricians are allowed and expected to do design and rudimentary engineering. It is part of my job...
My state follows the model law - as do most states - but possibly not MA. In short (loose translation), if the work involves product of engineering, for hire, and is for buildings (structures) for public access, then a PE is required. What you described in your post on metering CT would be technically illegal, but highly likely that would not be enforced.

... But at the same time it is a fact that electricians must do some designing / engineering or they will not have a job. ...
I would agree with the electricians doing that.

... Customers are not going to hire an engineer for every electrical job.
That's absolutely correct and I agree they shouldn't. Nor should they hire an electrician for every electrical job.

cf
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Nor should they hire an electrician for every electrical job.

Here in MA only those that do electrical work for hire must be licensed so a homeowner can do their own work which I agree with. :)

Unfortunately it also leaves the door open for a slumlord or other building owner to do their own work although they might run into issue with their insurance provider.
 

George Stolz

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Location
Windsor, CO NEC: 2017
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Service Manager
What I don't understand is why the moderators are defending their decision. You (plural) are the ones with the hammer. You don't have to defend your inane decisions - you just have to live with them.
If it's inane, why has the thread lasted as long as it has? It was answered by "one with a hammer" in the second reply, IIRC.

I think it's a relevant discussion, it allows people to poke and prod and see how things work. It's not a taboo topic, and I don't think it's even been a focus of discussion openly before. The discussion could bring about a change in enforcement, who knows.

I don't like the idea of anyone feeling like the moderators enforce unseen unknown rules of thumbs willy nilly without any thought behind it. Much of how we react to things are based on decisions derived from long, boring discussions just like this one. :)
 
There was no course in either my BS or MS degree programs that mentioned the existence of the NEC, nor any that discussed the difference between THHN and THWN. So I don't understand the reason for your strong disagreement. In an engineer does have any knowledge or skills in the arena of electrical installation work, it was not obtained in a college EE degree program. A person working towards a BSEET degree get more hands-on experience than a person working towards a EE degree, so I wonder if that is what you are refering to.

NEC is part of current EE curriculum.
 
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