I am very proud to report that we have completed our revised NABIE Standard of Practice.  This standard reflects the broad and diverse building inspection engineering practices of our members. It is a true professional engineering standard that will work for all buildings.  Our new standard is a performance standard not a prescriptive procedure.  “Demonstrated engineering judgment is the primary basis for work performed under these guidelines and they are applicable to any building regardless of use.”  The excellent extensive work by the standards committee under the leadership of Russell Strahan, P.E., reviews by your Board of Directors plus a legal review by NSPE General Counsel Arthur Schwartz, Esq. has resulted in standards that were approved at the December 12, 2011 Board meeting.  Great care was exercised in selecting each and every word that went into the standards.  More than 20 revisions were prepared during the course of writing the initial draft.  Committee members included:  Russell Strahan, P.E., Chairman; Martin Capages, Ph.D., P.E.; Gary Caruso, P.E.; Michael H. Grabman, P.E.; Robert N. Roop, P.E.; along with our Executive Director: John C. Cronin, Jr., P.E., SECB,CBIE, F.NABIE; and myself.  I thank all of the committee members for their industrious and meticulous work. 

The standards are being issued effective March 1, 2012 in order to provide you with time to incorporate the new standards into your business practice.  Remember that NABIE does not provide any legal or contractual advice so be sure to consult your attorney as needed. You will be receiving notification by e-mail when the standard will be available in PDF format on the NABIE website in the members section.

As you may recall, the standards writing project began in earnest with an interactive Forum at last year’s Conference.  This year we will have an interactive Forum on marketing at our Conference that I expect will lead to improvements of NABIE’s efforts to assist our members surviving, growing, and strengthening their engineering practices.  Your participation will be the key to how much improvement we can achieve.  Please join us.  As our organization is expanding throughout the US, this year is the first time we are holding our Conference west of the Mississippi.  Our programs are always excellent plus San Antonio offers historical and sightseeing excitement.

From time to time NABIE has published very interesting articles outlining professional practices and business practices helpful for the growth of member’s businesses.  One form was the “Building Blocks” approach.  Today we have social media technology that is more responsive when utilized.  LinkedIn has become the premiere networking site for business professionals and our NABIE group is only available to LinkedIn members who are members of NABIE.  This means that all discussions will be private amongst our membership.  Please check it out. Share with fellow members your ideas and questions.

The December 2011 issue of PE Magazine includes an article by NSPE President Christopher M. Stone, P.E., F.NSPE: “Advocacy: Standing Up for the Profession.”  Good reading, if you get a chance.  See: http://www.nspe.org/PEmagazine/11/pe_1211_NSPE_Today_Outlook.html.   Our Past President, David W. Carlysle, P.E. is serving on the NSPE L&GA Committee which establishes NSPE’s primary public policy agenda.  The article reminded me of the importance within our own area of practice to get involved with our State PE Societies on their Legislative Committees.  If you have been participating as I have, you will not be surprised about the encroachment efforts of non-professional groups to create licensing for activities that have been part of professional engineering.  Our state societies will have broad based civil engineering interests representative but may not have adequate building inspection engineering interests, thus we must get involved.  Here is another example where we can use our new private social network – the NABIE Group on LinkedIn – to share timely information, refine arguments, and help muster support for protecting and advancing our professional interests.

Please reach out to your officers to assist with their area of focus. Our newsletter includes the e-mail address for all officers.  Bill Coulbourne, P.E., VP, is overseeing a strategic planning process and is focusing on membership growth.  Mark Soderlund, P.E., Treasurer, is focusing on membership services.  And, Mark Waldman, P.E., Secretary, is focusing on technology and the development of tools that will help us strengthen NABIE’s mission and support our members.  Please let them know of your ideas and offer whatever assistance you can.  Thank you.

By Peter A. Schkeeper, PE