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'And In This Corner ... '

I read Julius Ballanco's very well- done column on engineers and contractors (“Do I Really Need An Engineer?” December 2003). I agree with Julius on the fact of each to his own job.

I install radiant heating systems and some of them come to me pre-engineered. I will install the system as designed as long as I am not held accountable for the mistakes in the design.

A lot of the plans I receive have a disclaimer stating that the installer needs to be a trained professional, and he is responsible for the system.

Based on this statement I feel that I should have the final word on how the system is installed and the right to change as I see necessary. I should not have to pay for someone else's mistakes. It does not matter who is at fault, it is my reputation that suffers in the end.

James Devlin
Aqua Heating Systems Inc.
Los Gatos, Calif.

Julius Ballanco responds: Very good point. I hate statements on engineering plans that insinuate that the contractor is responsible for the engineer's mistakes. After all, isn't that what they are really saying?

The bottom line is that once the engineer signs and seals the drawings, the responsibility for any mistakes is the engineer's. They can never deflect their mistakes on to the contractor. For one, it is illegal in the engineering licensing laws.


I just read Ellen Rohr's column (“Scrooge-Proofing,” December 2003) and loved it.

I'll have to admit the reason I started reading was because my nickname around the office at Christmas time is, in fact, “Scrooge,” and I thought it would give me some insight on how to change my attitude at this holiday time. And darn it, now I'll have to do some things to change.

Thank you for the smile you put on my face.

Roger Abbott
Midway Plumbing
Abilene, Texas


Wow! I have read yourNovember 2003 editorialat least a dozen times. Every time I read the column, it strikes a chord with me. I have made it required reading for all of my technicians.

Thank you for being an advocate for companies like Mr. Rooter Plumbing, which charge much more than the going rate (bottom rate).

Keep up the good work!

Tommy Bowen
Mr. Rooter Plumbing
Central Arkansas