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Georgia rules on Civil-Structural PE

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I moved to Georgia from Wisconsin in October 2017 and immediately applied to take the Civil-Structural PE Exam. I then received a letter from the Georgia Secretary of State saying that I was approved to take the 16 hour SE Exam. Since I don't feel prepared for the 16 hour exam and my employer has mostly work in non SE states, I went to Wisconsin to take the 8 hour PE Civil Structural Exam.

I was referred by them via email to Georgia's definition of Structural Engineering, and the reason why they refer structural engineer candidates to the 16 hour exam as supposed to the 8 hour exam.

16‐01 The following rule defines Structural Engineering and the requirements for those practicing Structural Engineering to receive their Professional Engineering licensure by exam or by comity.

A. Structural Engineering shall be defined as engaging in the design or analysis of “Designated Structures.

“Designated Structures” are defined as follows:

1. For buildings and other structures requiring a building permit as required by the International Building Code, adopted edition, with Georgia Amendments in current effect in the state of Georgia:  

a. A Designated Structure is any building or other structure which meets any one of the following criteria:

I. Any building structure which has risk Category of III or IV in accordance with Table 1604.5 of the International Building Code, adopted edition, with Georgia Amendments.

II. Any building structure which has a covered gross area of 100,000 square feet or greater, or has an occupied floor elevation that is 45 feet or more above the average ground level of the building.

III. Any building structure which with height to least width aspect ratio of the structural lateral load resisting system greater than or equal to seven.  

IV. Any building structure which is designed using nonlinear time history analysis or with special seismic energy dissipation systems.


The nature of residential building design is Risk Category II, not III or IV, buildings below 100k square feet, height to least width aspect ratio way below 10, and not designed using nonlinear time history analysis.

They also say:

A. Structural Engineering applicants shall be required to take the 16 hour Structural Engineering Exam.  

B. Civil Engineering applicants who engage in the design of structural elements, but will not perform Structural Engineering as defined in Section A, will be allowed to take the 8 hour Civil Breadth and Structural Depth exam.  


I am wondering if Georgia will give me the PE if I can prove that my experience is not their definition of structural engineering, rather their definition of structural element design. 

Anyone structural out here have experience dealing with this issue in Georgia?

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  • 2 weeks later...

The board will, under the right circumstances, license Civil Structural people that haven't passed the SE exam although they definitely steer people towards the SE.  Two things to give you the highest probably of getting approved:

1) When you apply you need to ensure that all of your materials including things you fill out and things completed by references clearly indicate that you are not currently nor will in the foreseeable future perform any of the types of structural design you indicated in your post above.  Describe as many general civil and non structural functions as you perform.  

2) If you are initially rejected (fairly likely to happen), reach out to the licensing administrator first before contacting the board itself.  Be very polite and explain your situation, the type of work you do, and why you think you don't qualify as a structural engineer.  If you make a good case they can initiate a new review of your application and hopefully approve you. 

My general impression is that the board rules are very restrictive which leads to a lot of initial rejections but the staff try to work with people that put in the extra effort.  Point 2 is important as generally I have heard that people that appeal directly to the board instead of contacting their staff first are typically rejected.


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  • 8 months later...
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