September 2012 » Departments

Pursuing LEED
I enjoyed reading [Mark Zweig’s “From the publisher” column (CE News, June 2012, page 6)], but it brought some serious doubts to my mind. I know a lot of civil engineers, particularly those over 50, who think that there is no civil engineering component to “green.” In fact, I have watched a strong presentation team wash out of a short-list interview because the civil engineer, who was his firm’s municipal engineering department manager, was asked about the firm’s green practices and had no answer.

I believe many civil engineers believe green is pretty much all about MEP engineering and energy efficiency. They don’t think about things like removing concrete on a roadway or pipeline project, breaking it up small enough to reuse for subgrade later in the project, and saving the material onsite instead of trucking it away and then trucking new gravel to the site.

I wonder, sometimes, if the CEUs for renewal of a license should have certain prescribed courses rather than just a required number of hours. This would ensure that professionals are up on the latest issues and not just taking the same “comfort zone” courses over and over again.
Bernie Siben, CPSM
The Siben Consult, LLC

Occasionally I pick
up your publication to review what civil engineers are up to. Lately I see they have embraced the concepts [where] landscape architects have been on the forefront in areas like bioengineering, low-impact design, and best management practices to control stormwater pollution. This is good. When I started my career 35 years ago, these concepts were somewhat foreign to civil engineers as they were not schooled in it. As your wife knows, landscape architects do get the basic grading and drainage design skills taught to them and have the competency to do that if they wish to pursue that line of work.

Indeed, many states do allow landscape architects to provide grading design and limited drainage design. However, with the re-thinking of stormwater management it now is a design talent that many landscape architects possess if they choose that line of work. I’m just a little taken aback by your stance that only civil engineers are “who you want doing your grading and drainage plans.” I have seen plenty of poorly designed land development that ignored good land planning for the basic cookie cutter approach to handle grading and drainage in New Jersey and elsewhere done by civil engineers.
Imants Smildzins, P.P., P.L.A.
WSBengineering group, pa

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