A Message from FSEA’s President
Hooray for 2021!
We all look forward to a return to normalcy in 2021. As we move into Spring and Summer, continuing drops in new Covid-19 cases will result in increasing returns to classrooms, offices, public venues, family gatherings, and travel. These, in conjunction with a second round of PPP loans and a second round of economic relief from Washington, are expected to bring about an improving economy and a rising sense of confidence—which should lead to the initiation of new construction projects in both the private and public sectors.
FSEA’s mission is to enhance and advance the practice of structural engineering in Florida. To that end, we have a busy and, hopefully, productive year ahead. The following is a summary of some of our on-going work:
- SE Licensure: The most exciting endeavor this year is FSEA’s continued effort to institute a Structural Engineer (SE) license in Florida (No promises, but we’re increasingly hopeful!). A growing number of states already have some form of SE licensure, and we hope that Florida will soon join them. Starting last year, FSEA hired a lobbyist team to help us navigate the legislative process, and they have been working diligently on our behalf. This year’s legislative session will run from March 2nd through April 30th. The Senate version of our bill has already been filed by its sponsor, Senator Dennis Baxley (Sumter, Lake and Marion Counties). The House version of our bill has also been filed by its sponsor, Representative Jackie Toledo (a registered engineer!) (Hillsborough County), and an accompanying “Fee Bill” has been filed by its sponsor, Representative Andrew Learned (also of Hillsborough County). Our bill has the support of all the other major building professional organizations, including FES/ACEC, AIA Florida, ASCE/SEI and BOAF. Stay tuned for updates as we move into the upcoming legislative session—we may ask you for help! Special thanks go to Thomas Grogan, who is leading FSEA’s SE license effort.
- Other State legislation: FSEA continues to monitor other proposed bills in the Florida Legislature that may affect the practice of structural engineering. Our thanks go to Andrew Lovenstein and Doug Barkley, who lead this effort. Current issues of interest include possible bills concerning:
- Liability of engineers who participate in search and rescue and emergency response
- Statutes of repose
- Private Provider
- Florida Board of Professional Engineers (FBPE): FSEA also attends the meetings of the FBPE and offers opinions from FSEA’s Board where appropriate. On occasion, FSEA also assists in the development of rules pertinent to structural engineering. Thanks go again to Andrew Lovenstein for leading our effort.
- Florida Building Commission: FSEA also monitors the proceedings of the Florida Building Commission, and again, offers opinions on issues affecting structural engineering. One of FSEA’s members, David Compton, sits on the Board. Our thanks, yet again, go to Andrew Lovenstein for leading this effort.
- Liaisons with other organizations: FSEA has designated liaisons who maintain regular contact with the other building-related professional organizations, including FES/ACEC (Thanks, Doug Barkley), AIA Florida (Thanks, Douglas Wood), and ASCE/CEI Florida (Thanks, Fernando Martinez). We regularly exchange information with these organizations and cooperate on issues of common interest. We are currently in need of a liaison to the Building Officials Association of Florida. Any volunteers?
- Continuing Education: FSEA will again offer continuing education opportunities this year. Work on our annual seminar has already begun (Thanks, Bobby Welsh and Donata Williams Beasley). All seven of FSEA’s regional chapters also offer several educational opportunities each year. Most all of FSEA’s continuing education events provide continuing education course hours that qualify for your P.E. renewals.
- National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA): FSEA is a member organization of NCSEA, and our NCSEA delegate (Thanks, Joe Shepard) and alternate delegate (Thanks, Bobby Wood) participate in NCSEA’s on-going work. NCSEA works with its member organizations to enhance and advance the practice of structural engineering nationwide. As a member of FSEA, you have access to many benefits and opportunities through NCSEA. Visit NCSEA’s website at http://www.ncsea.com/ , sign up as a member, and start taking advantage of all that NCSEA offers.
While we’re mentioning websites, check out FSEA’s website at http://www.flsea.com/ , become a member of FSEA’s LinkedIn Group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/3038388/ , and follow FSEA on Instagram florida_structural_engineers . Thanks go to David Fusco for leading our social media outreach. We use these venues to help keep you up to date (and maybe a little entertained, too!).
FSEA is aware of some confusion relative to the Advanced Building Code Course for the Florida Building Code 2020. We requested clarification from the Florida Board of Professional Engineers (FBPE) staff, and they have responded. At this time, the FBPE’s website states, “If you are a Professional Engineer whose practice includes the design of engineering works or systems in connection with buildings, structures, or facilities and systems covered by the Florida Building Code, you will need to complete the advanced course by Dec. 31, 2021, or prior to submitting any final engineering documents to building departments. The course is required to retain the “Special Qualifications” designation on your licensure record, pursuant to Section 471.0195, Florida Statutes,” and, “Following the course, you must provide the Board with a copy of the completion certificate that shows the course number, course hours, Code edition year, and Code or course focus so that your record can be updated. Certificates can be emailed to FBPE at email@example.com. When submitting your certificate to the Board, please include your full name and license number in the email.” For more information, visit FBPE’s website page about the Advanced Building Code Course: https://fbpe.org/continuing-education/advanced-building-code-course/
In the next couple of months, we will bid a fond farewell to our Executive Director, Sara Guthrie, who has decided to retire. Sara has served FSEA enthusiastically and ably for many years. For those of us on the State Board, she has been a colleague and a friend. We wish her every happiness in her retirement, but we will miss her greatly. I am pleased to announce, however, that we have already engaged Ana Carreno to take over the Executive Director position. Sara and Ana are already working together to assure a seamless transition. Welcome, Ana!
Finally, I want to thank all the State Board members, Chapter Board members, committee members and general members throughout the State who have generously volunteered their time to make FSEA an effective advocate for structural engineering in Florida. Join us, please, in this effort!
Douglas Wood, P.E., SECB
Florida Structural Engineers Association