Dr. Z’s Corner

Dr. Z

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., Ph.D., Fellow-NSPE, Fellow-ASCE is an award-winning professor, structural engineer and author living in Washington, D.C. Since joining academia, "Dr. Z", as he is known by his students and colleagues, has distinguished himself on campus and beyond. He is passionate about engineering, gifted in teaching, and a true champion for professional licensure. Dr. Z. has extraordinarily high standards; has produced award-winning designs; is prolific in professional service; and infects others with these same values. He is the recipient of numerous local, regional and national awards, including the recent national award, “Excellence in Engineering Education-2015” from the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). Since 2014, he has been regularly writing monthly technical articles here for ASCE-NCS and his column is titled "Dr. Z’s Corner." Dr. Z. also offers pro-bono Saturday classes for students and engineers; his free classes are open to all in the metro area and cost nothing, nada, zilch!

Dr. Z's Corner

Dr. Z’s Corner (201510)

A New Era for the PE Exams: Are You Ready for the New Specifications?

Part 5 – Structural Engineering Exams

By Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., F-NSPE

DrZFigure2.jpg

Problems

As discussed in our previous articles, the new PE exam specifications were implemented, effective April 2015. In the March, April, June, and September issues, we discussed in detail the new specifications for the “Construction Module,” “Geotechnical Module,” “Water Resources & Environmental Module,” and “Transportation Module.” This month we will discuss the Structural Engineering (SE) exams.

PE SE Exam Specifications and Design Standards:

  • According to the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), the SE exam tests the engineers’ ability to practice SE.
  • The SE exam is designed for engineers who practice in jurisdictions that may license structural engineers separately from other professional engineers.
  • This 16-hour (two-day) exam tests engineers’ ability to safely design buildings or bridges using a separate vertical and lateral component, particularly in areas of high seismicity and high wind.
  • Exam specifications and design standards are posted 6 months before the exam administration. Updates to April exams are posted in November, and updates to October exams are posted in May.
  • The exam uses the US Customary System (USCS) of units.

SE Exam Includes:

A two-day exam (Friday and Saturday) with separate, 8-hour components, as follows:

  • Each day has a morning breadth and afternoon depth section.
  • Friday covers Vertical Forces with Design Standards.
  • Saturday covers Lateral Forces with Design Standards.

Note: the 8-hour Vertical Forces (Gravity and Other) and Incidental Lateral component is offered only on Friday and focuses on gravity loads and lateral earth pressures.

Lateral Forces (Wind/Earthquake) Component of the Structural Engineering DEPTH Exam Specifications:

The 4-hour Lateral Forces (Wind/Earthquake) depth examination is offered on Saturday afternoon. The SE exam depth modules focuses on a single area of practice. Examinees must choose either the Buildings or the Bridges module and must work the same module on both components. In other words, if you choose Bridges for the Vertical Forces component, then you must choose Bridges in the Lateral Forces component. All questions are constructed response (essay).

Buildings: The depth exam in the Buildings module covers lateral forces, lateral force distribution, analysis methods, general structural considerations (element design), structural systems integration (connections), and foundations and retaining structures.

This 4-hour module contains one problem from each of the following areas:

  • Steel structure
  • Concrete structure
  • Wood and/or masonry structure
  • General analysis (e.g., existing structures, secondary structures, non-building structures, and/or computer verification)

All problems are equally weighted.

At least two problems include seismic content at Seismic Design Category D and above.

At least one problem includes wind content of at least 110 mph.

Problems may include a multistory building.

Problems may include a foundation.

Bridges: The depth exam in Bridges covers gravity loads, superstructures, substructures, and lateral forces and may test pedestrian bridge and/or vehicular bridge knowledge. This 4-hour module contains three problems, one from each of the following areas:

  • Columns (25% of your score)
  • Footings (25% of your score)
  • General analysis (i.e., seismic and/or wind) (50% of your score)

SE Design Standards*

These standards apply to the Vertical and Lateral components of the SE exam. Effective beginning with the April 2015 examinations, Revised April 20, 2015.

Abbreviation & Design Standard Title:

AASHTO, AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, 6th edition, 2012, American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, Washington, DC.

IBC, International Building Code, 2012 edition (without supplements), International Code Council, Falls Church, VA.

ASCE 7, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, 3rd printing, 2010, American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, VA.

ACI 318, Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete, 2011, American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI.

AISC, Steel Construction Manual, 14th edition, American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc., Chicago, IL.

AISC, Seismic Design Manual, 2nd edition, American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc., Chicago, IL.

AISI, North American Specification for the Design of Cold-Formed Steel Structural Members, 2007 edition with Supplement No. 2 (2010), American Iron and Steel Institute, Washington, DC.

NDS, National Design Specification for Wood Construction ASD/LRFD, 2012 edition & National Design Specification Supplement, Design Values for Wood Construction, 2012 edition, American Forest & Paper Association, Washington, DC.

NDS, Special Design Provisions for Wind and Seismic with Commentary, 2008 edition, American Forest & Paper Association, Washington, DC.

PCI, PCI Design Handbook: Precast and Prestressed Concrete, 7th edition, 2010, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, Chicago, IL.

TMS 402/602, Building Code Requirements and Specifications for Masonry Structures (and related commentaries), 2011; The Masonry Society, Boulder, CO; American Concrete Institute, Detroit, MI; and Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, VA.

Final Notes: Solutions to exam questions that reference a standard of practice are scored based on this list. Solutions based on other editions or standards will not receive credit.

Check our previous articles (September 2015) for the open-book policies.

Good Luck,

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., (Dr. Z.)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The NCS congratulates Dr. Z on his award and article in PE magazine. View the article now!

Dr. Z’s Corner (201509)

A New Era for the PE Exams: Are You Ready for the New Specifications?

Part 4 – Civil Breadth and Transportation Depth Exams

By Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., F-NSPE

DrZFigure3.jpg

Problems

As discussed in our three previous articles, the new PE exam specifications were implemented, effective April 2015. In the March, April, and June issues, we discussed in detail the new specifications for the “Construction Module,” “Geotechnical Module,” and “Water Resources & Environmental Module.” This month we will discuss the “Transportation Module” afternoon depth exams.

PE Civil exam basics:

  • Offered twice a year; in April and October.
  • Designed for engineers with FE (EIT) certificates who have at least 4 years of post-college work experience in their chosen engineering discipline.
  • Lasts 8 hours and consists of multiple choice questions. Every problem on the PE exam is standalone (there is only one question per problem).
  • Split into a morning and an afternoon session (4 hours each; 40 multiple choice questions each).
  • Both sessions use SI units and the US Customary System (USCS).
  • Morning and afternoon session exam results are combined with breadth results for final score.
  • The February issue of our column details the morning breadth session of the exam.
  • The afternoon depth section focuses on a single area of practice in civil engineering to test an engineer’s ability to practice competently in one of the five sub-disciplines of the civil engineering.
  • The exam is scored based on the afternoon module selected during registration.

PE Civil Transportation – Afternoon Depth Exam Specifications

The afternoon session of the PE Civil Transportation depth session includes questions that require a variety of approaches and methodolo-gies, including design, analysis, and application. Some problems in the afternoon session may require knowledge of engineering economics.

A typical breakdown with approximate number of questions:

  • Traffic Engineering (Capacity Analysis and Transportation Planning): 11 questions,
  • Horizontal Design: 4 questions,
  • Vertical Design: 4 questions,
  • Intersection Geometry: 4 questions,
  • Roadside and Cross-Section Design: 4 questions,
  • Signal Design: 3 questions,
  • Traffic Control Design: 3 questions,
  • Geotechnical and Pavement: 4 questions,
  • Drainage: 2 questions,
  • Alternatives Analysis: 1 question.

Design Standards: Effective beginning with the October 2015 examinations, new revisions on design standards posted by NCEES on July 23, 2015, will be implemented.

Abbreviation & Design Standard Title:

AASHTO, A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, 6th edition, 2011 (including November 2013 errata), American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, Washington, DC.

AASHTO, Guide for Design of Pavement Structures (GDPS-4-M), 1993, and 1998 supplement, American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, Washington, DC.

AASHTO, Roadside Design Guide, 4th edition, 2011 (including February 2012 and July 2015 errata), American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, Washington, DC.

AASHTO, Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide: A Manual of Practice, interim edition, July 2008, American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, Washington, DC.

AASHTO, Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities, 1st edition, 2004, American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, Washington, DC.

AASHTO, Highway Safety Manual, 1st ed., 2010, vols. 1–3 (including February 2012 errata), American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, Washington, DC.

AI, The Asphalt Handbook (MS-4), 7th edition, 2007, Asphalt Institute, Lexington, KY.

HCM, Highway Capacity Manual 2010, vols. 1–3, Transportation Research Board – National Research Council, Washington, DC. This includes the following:

  • Approved HCM 2010 Corrections and Clarifications (as of January 2014)
  • Approved HCM 2010 Interpretations (as of January 2014)
  • Replacement HCM 2010 Volume 1–3 pages (April 2014)
  • Replacement HCM 2010 Volume 1–3 pages (January 12–February 13)
  • Replacement HCM 2010 Volume 1–3 pages (March 2013)

MUTCD, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, 2009, including Revisions 1 and 2 dated May 2012, U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC. 6

PCA, Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures, 15th edition, 2011, Portland Cement Association, Skokie, IL.

FHWA, Hydraulic Design of Highway Culverts, Hydraulic Design Series Number 5, Publication No. FHWA-HIF-12-026, 3rd edition, April 2012, U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC.

Final Notes: The exam is open-book. According to NCEES, you can bring bound reference material, loose paper bound with ring binders, plastic snap binders, and spiral-bound notebooks. All paper must remain bound during the exam, and sticky notes and flags must remain attached to book pages.

As we always remind our readers, these are very fast-paced exams and you will have little time to look up information. Therefore, make sure you are familiar with your reference material and begin with the subject areas you know best. This will give you more time and build your confidence. Also, it is always good idea to consider reverse engineering the problems by substituting the answers and seeing which one works. To help prepare for the exam, here is this month’s problem set.

And finally, stay relaxed and confident. Always keep a good attitude and remind yourself that you are going to do your best!

Until next time,

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., (Dr. Z.)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.