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UcfSE (Structural) (OP)
7 Sep 07 1:11
Not sure where this question goes...

When an engineer becomes licensed, what information or questions should he or she ask of the employer before taking on the responsibility of signing and sealing?  I think you would want to know about insurance coverage and policies, how job reponsibilities change and so forth.  I just don't know much about the "so forth" part; I should say I don't know what I don't know.  Are there other concerns or things one would need to consider?  I understand the laws and rules of the state.
Helpful Member!  JAE (Structural)
7 Sep 07 18:34
Sheesh, UcfSE, I've been signing/sealing since 1985 and just now you bring this up and make me think about it!!

Seriously, though, I think generally most incorporated firms in the US, who have liability insurance, have you covered as you are working as an agent of the firm.

When I sign letters, it's not:

Sincerely,

John Doe, PE

It is:

Sincerely,
ABC Consulting, Inc.



John Doe, PE

So the concept is that you are protected from anyone filing suit to take your house, etc.  They can legally only sue the firm, not you personally.  

Same goes for the signing/sealing of plans and specs.  As long as these documents represent themselves as a corporate product, with the company name on them, you are acting as an agent of the firm, not as an individual doing business with the client directly.

If you look at the recent Boston tunnel ceiling collapse, the liability is falling on the firms, not any one engineer or contractor superintendent.

I would ask them the following:

1.   Does the firm carry professional liability insurance?
2.   How much does it carry ($1 million is usually the minimum)
3.   Is the firm a corporation licensed in all the states we will be providing engineering services in?  (if not, then this is really another matter as firms in many states must register and pay a fee to do business from another state).
4.   Does the insurance have any conditions where the insurance company would not protect me and my personal assets from litigation?
5.   Will there ever be conditions where you will ask me to seal something not designed by me or under my supervision? (not likely I assume)
6.   Will there ever be conditions where you will ask me to seal something in another discipline than my own?  (again ā€“ probably not likely)

Hope this helps ā€“ Iā€™m sure some others out there may have ideas as well.

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