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Performing Electrical Design services in Florida
2

Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

(OP)
To the Forum,

I'm starting my own engineering firm in New Jersey and I'm presently only licensed in New Jersey.

I have a client that would give the firm a good jumpstart with work in Florida.  

The problem I have is the board doesn't meet until February so getting a Florida license in time is not an option.

I spoke to a lawyer the other day to find out if there was a way to get around the engineer in charge requirements.  He stated if I contract with a Florida licensed engineer as a qualifier I would be able to have the drawings signed by that Florida licensed engineer and perform the work through the firm in New Jersey.

I ran this by the board in an email and they stated this is not acceptable.  I have a voice mail into them but have not received a response yet.

Does anyone know how to perform engineering design services in Florida, or any other state which you are not licensed and void the engineer in charge requirements?  

Thanks in advance.

Brian

RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

2
I can not understand the way in which licenses are issued in the US.( I understand the mechanism, just not the rationale behind it.)

A driver’s license issued in one state is fully valid in every other stare. Why would an engineering license not be valid when issued in one state not be valid in another state? (or since I am Canadian between provinces and states.)

Before anyone gets off on the fact that there are regional differences, we just had a major snow storm pass through here. A Florida driver’s license would still be valid even though the driver had never seen snow before. There are regional driving differences as well but licenses are fully transferable. There are differing traffic laws. The onus is still on the other jurisdiction’s driver to be familiar with the different circumstances and regulations and comply with then.

Speeding tickets earned in California are charged demerits on my Manitoba license, so discipline is not a problem.

Now make that an engineer practicing and can someone please differentiate between the two cases?

At least in Canada we can transfer licenses between provinces with ease, simply fill out an application and the registrar of the other association can issue the license in a few days.


These restrictions on economic and professional mobility are hurting the US economy at the profit of some individual engineers. Is not the protection of the public one of our overriding ethical concerns? So why are we putting up with harming the public purse for the enrichment of a few?

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

Uf, when I see how it is going on in Canada I am so greedy because my problems are similar to BDEngineering1's and I beleive such problems prevail around the world.

I am mostly working in neighboring countries that were one country 15 years ago and building legislation is 99% the same. I use it as an asset: learned about sligt differences and my prevaling field of work is large international projects (large for these markets, maybe not for yours).

Now I spent couple of years in neighboring country and was close to obtain their license - passed the exam, fulfilled other conditions, I only needed a little more time to spend on recorded project.

But, I finished the job and got very interesting offer in my domestic country and I went beck.

My chamber surprised me: they made some procedural changes in licensing issues, I didn't reapply on time to be re-granted the license automatically so I have to fully reapply for the license! Substantial conditions didn't change, say that I fulfill 3x more then minimal conditions.

But:
- I needed to provide again documents from my reference projects from 10, 8 or 6 years ago, which I did but that was my major activity one full month - didn't work for client a all!
- They were not fully satisfied with my work abroad; they say I will lose touch with local legislation - with a lot of communication and documents I manage at least to illustrate that these are complex projects that are substantially major reference for any engineer and it is well known that legislation difference is minor in this case.
- Now it is fourth month of my waiting for procedure to be completed. I need to wait one more month and if I am lucky they will officialy recommend re-granting of my license
- But I am not sure this is the end. After official recommendation of application board maybe I will have to wait the date of chamber's main annual conference to officialy get the stamp.

Apparently I would lose my job with client if I didn't contract chartered guy to do necessary stamping. Not to mentioned that I had to learn stamp-guy about some specifics of particualar installation design because he had never done it before(and I couldn't find anyone available who did it before). So I gave him the course about that and he is grateful - and I payed him for stamping.

Not to mention that I am hardly covering my expenses during all this period.

Not to mention as well that if I had opportunity to go abroad again I will have to be very careful not to be forced to reapply for the license again.

So, as RDK., I strongly beleive that most of licensing activities is just obstruction to development of engineering market and its influence on development of this field is very adverse.

My advice is: find chartered guy in Florida, try to contract not very expensive stamping or give him part of job to achieve win-win situation. If you rely on Chamber's comitee fast response, you will not be happy.

RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

BDEngingeer - Can't you get a temporary or emergency license in Florida until the board at least meets?

I know they are available in several states.

RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

Quote (RDK):


Before anyone gets off on the fact that there are regional differences, we just had a major snow storm pass through here. A Florida driver’s license would still be valid even though the driver had never seen snow before. There are regional driving differences as well but licenses are fully transferable. There are differing traffic laws. The onus is still on the other jurisdiction’s driver to be familiar with the different circumstances and regulations and comply with then.

Speeding tickets earned in California are charged demerits on my Manitoba license, so discipline is not a problem.

Now make that an engineer practicing and can someone please differentiate between the two cases?


That's quite a rant.  We certainly know how you feel about Canada, but I think a bigger point was missed.

If you really know about the "mechanism", then surely you would agree that it's a great thing that a bad contractor or engineer NOT being able to wreak havoc across an entire country, but being localized to one area, until he can prove his merits, is a GOOD thing?

Perhaps if you had (or maybe you have) worked in Florida during the aftermath of the major hurricanes, you would understand why state licensing is such a good thing, in the interest of protecting the public?  I, sir, was almost a victim of "cut and run." (and it had to do not only with money, but also local code and ordinance!!!) If that's what considered acceptable in Canada, or anywhere else in the world, I have a fundamental difference of opinion with "the majority."  The quality of work that was performed in many cases, was sub-par, and many of the contractors vanished overnight.  (but they got rich)  To be perfectly frank, this ain't the "honor's system."  The more a business/individual invests in their work, the less likely that they will be to run roughshod over the rules.  Your example about driving was perfect - when it comes to driving, idiots aren't manageable, even in their own jursidiction.  There's no realistic way to enforce driving infractions.  Breaking traffic laws can be chalked up to local revenues. (a good thing, in the eyes of many communities)  Businesses are different, though.  You see, there are more drivers than there are business owners.  It's not as hard to ensure that businesses are following the rules.

No offense, but the reason it's like that, is because there are a whole lot of dishonest people in the world, and some places have more than others.  Florida (where I live) seems to be one of those places, and is a US leader in this type of crime.  I personally, do not believe, from my own experience, that the system is strict enough.


Quote (RDK):


These restrictions on economic and professional mobility are hurting the US economy at the profit of some individual engineers. Is not the protection of the public one of our overriding ethical concerns? So why are we putting up with harming the public purse for the enrichment of a few?

No, I don't think so.  Without the restrictions, the "mobility" could become a license to do harm.  Protection of the public?  Well, where's the public protection, when the harm is ALREADY done?  What if anyone could BS their way into a new state, make a quick buck, and disappear?  That has happened before in the US, and the vast array of laws is just the gradual evolution of an attempt to curb these things from happening.  Granted, they do, at times, fall horribly short.  But I'd hate to live in the US, as I know it, with a "driver's license" type of occupational license...

As for your comment about the "enrichment of a few" - you constantly refer to Canada in your posts, so I'm assuming that you are much more comfortable with a Socialist mindset, in which case, we must agree to disagree.  Yes, people are greedy, but a more important point was overlooked.  Quite simply, too often there is a failure to acknowledge that not everyone has what it takes to be a "big guy."  I, myself, am one of these people.  I have an engineering firm, but I could NEVER, on my own, be highly successful.  I don't know what the hell you're talking about, (although I'm afraid that you're going to elaborate) because in the USA, I see successful entrepeneurs all around me!  There are SO MANY small engineering firms that are doing well for themselves, and no shortage of work.  If the licensing issue is such a problem, it tells me one of 2 things:

1) You started your business in the wrong state.
2) You want to be a "big guy." (and probably can't)

Besides, being a professional engineer isn't SUPPOSED to be any easy thing... What are we, used car salesmen?  Do you think that lawyers should have an open license to practice law?  Or what about doctors - should a board certification be universal?  Here's a hint - the key word in all of these professions is "professional" - you are expected to know your business as it pertains to a certain area BETTER than an average driver on a street to anywhere.  If you don't like the rules that surround working as a professional, you can always take the blue-collar mentality BACK to a blue-collar job. (there is NO dishonor in that, but it is a different perspective of reality)

There is also the taxation aspect, but I'm not too interested in discussing that, anymore than I am in turning this thread into a discussion of Canadian Socialism vs. US capitalism.  




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

Golfmeeting, you expressed strictly different opinion and that is ok, because one purpose of this forums is to exchange thoughts and maybe to come to common understanding (sorry for my artificial english).

Arguments that you state are very similar to what some public servants (luckily not all of them)in my country state.

I can only tell what I see in real life: formal papers and waiting for some comitees don't increase professionalysm and honesty. On contrary, one who is dishonest will be dishonest no matter which restrictions are applied. Restrictions will only hurt those people (majority, no doubt) who strictly adhere to them.

And if such restrictions don't have any substantial sense, but just formal, they will make things even worse: those who tend to cheat the system will be first to take effort in formalities, while professionals with personal responsibility (again, majority) will mostly be offended.

If licensing has meaning to enforce knowledge that is especially important in some particular geographical area, then licensing must be concentrated on this, not on formal and general issues, especially not on slow and sometimes vague procedural issues.

RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

Quote:


I can only tell what I see in real life: formal papers and waiting for some comitees don't increase professionalysm and honesty. On contrary, one who is dishonest will be dishonest no matter which restrictions are applied. Restrictions will only hurt those people (majority, no doubt) who strictly adhere to them.

What a terrible outlook!  Again, the word "professional," aside from meaning "one who is paid for what they do," is intended to imply, a class of people with a demonstrable knowledge and skill in their particular field.

As for restrictions hurting the honest, I disagree.  The restrictions actually educate the honest person, thereby eliminating the "ignorance" defense.  Would't you agree that education is a good thing?  (it also serves to more severly punish the dishonest)

Quote:


And if such restrictions don't have any substantial sense, but just formal, they will make things even worse: those who tend to cheat the system will be first to take effort in formalities, while professionals with personal responsibility (again, majority) will mostly be offended.

We are not talking about "formalities," here.  We are talking about things that can result in serious damage and/or litigation, if unqualified, or persons unafamiliar with the territory, are allowed to perform.

Going back to the driver's license issue - Crimes committed or roadways are seldom serious, and when they are, they are usually very easy to prosecute - an "open and shut" case, if you will.  The liability involved, however, with businesses, is much greater.  Business litigation can last for YEARS, sometimes with no resolution.  On top of that, if a company is dissolved before problems are discovered, there is no legal recourse.  (drivers can't do that!)  So then, what makes more sense?  Someone who has a proven record, and possibly a good financial backing, with a vested interest in staying in business, or just anyone who thinks they want to set up shop?

I am not a public servant, do not sit on any committees, nor do I have an affection for the big companies or fatcats.  What I do have, however, is a realistic understanding of how and why these things exist.  The way that I see this, is that the US has the world's strongest economy, generating, more money than all other countries combined.  Because of the *lack* of restrictions, there are an abundance of entrepeneurs - and no restrictions on WHO can become one.  This, however, has a price, and that is, many people, who have no business starting a business, do so, and in turn, they mismanage it into oblivion, sometimes, making deadly or costly mistakes in the process.  Is it so bad to be required to play by a few rules for the privilege of making money (as much as you can) just to ensure that you are knowledgeable and committed?

Please keep in mind - I have to play by the same rules as anyone, and I don't have a problem with it.




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

BDEngineering1,

I think that you need to brush up on your reading of the state regulations. An engineer who stamps drawings must be in responsible charge of that particular project. If I was on the state board and found out that a Florida Engineer stamped drawings that were produced several states away, I would not believe that the project was under his/her supervision and I would feel that he/she was engaging in Rubber Stamping. Engineering firms are also required to have certificates of authorization in the states where they perform work. If you really intend to practice engineering in Florida or any other state, you will take a long term business view of this matter.

RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

Nicely said, EddyC.




**************
Check out CATBlog!

RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

Solid,

You may have more concerns about issues that you feel the most  important, but I urge you to scrutinize my post once more, beacuse we are talking about different things.

I am talking strictly about formal issues! Issues that bothers me, and not only me, in real life in my part of Europe. In a sense in which licensing has something to do with additional knowledge about technical or legal issues I would like to pass as much exams and licensing as I could afford to myself having in mind financial and time restrictions. But my particular problem is very close to what RDK state and it does a change in doing the business.

I am acting in small countries and am dedicated to large projects so I need to drift between countries to keep consistent professional track.

Some of the licensing limitations is neighboring countries is that you need to spend certain amount of years of practice in that particular country, no passing the exams and going through all procedures is not enugh even if you can document your experience in particular field. Only experience in particular country is accepted even if completely the same codes are in use. The other type of limitiation is that you can pass the whole procedure, exams and seminar works, but you cannot get the license beacuse you are foreign national.

How would you comment such restrictions? There is strong iniciative in EU countries that already came in executive phase - to remove such restrictions among all EU members and candidates for membership.

Regarding US practice, I really appreciate US practice, majority of my literature is US literature but I cannot understand why something like overall license couldn't exist in US, something that would cover all US countries. State licenses could stay and it should be up to individual to decide whether to apply to state or overall license, which can be more comprehensive if such need occurs.

Everything else I feel as clear obstruction to free competition between responsible professionals.



RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

(OP)
Oh Boy!!!  I didn't think this topic would cause such a fuss.
 
I appreciate everyones input.  I have come to the conclusion that I just need to get my license and that there is no legal way around it.

I'm filling out the paperwork and going through the proper channels.  However, I agree with what most of the people that answered this thread are saying.

Yes, this is a profession and I agree it should not be easy.  However, it would be nice to have things more streamlined.  The job I need to do in Florida will give me a great jump start in my new firm.  However, I might lose the project because the board isn't reviewing endorsement applications until the middle of January.  There is a temporary license I can get but they won't review them until the middle of December.  I might as well wait until January.  The paperwork and effort is the same and the temp is only good for one project and I have 4.

Oh well, I guess we either have to get licensed in all the states now.  I guess one positive outcome to all of this is at least it keeps us professionals from creating a monopoly across the US unless we put the effort into getting licensed in every state.

Again, thanks for everyones input.

RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

I don't know about Europe, and can't comment - I thought that were talking about doing business in Florida. (at least that's what the title of the topic says)  The comparisons being made to Canada and Europe are rather silly, because Florida is located in neither of those places, and the system that is in place *does* work well, most of the time - albeit, NO system is perfect.  Licensing and certifications didn't just happen one day, because someone decided that they wanted to put a damper on doing business.  It happened because of the illegal and/or unethical business practices of some companies/individuals.  There is/was a need to put a limit on these activities to resolve (and further head off) a tide of litigation issues.  And, once again, places like Florida, because of Tourism, and natural disasters, are especially prone to shady dealings.  Each state deals with its own circumstances, and is well with in it's rights to impose licensing guidelines.

Regarding the US - What difference does it make if you have an "overall" license, and yet are still required to pass some sort of certification and/or other requirement for each individual state, or if you are simply required to file a new license in each state?  Where's the debate there?

Please remember, Canada is an entire country with a population equal to the state of California.  It's easily conceivable that a much less complicated system would work well there.  (maybe the same case in some European countries)

I don't understand what the hurry is to break into a new state.  Why don't you just take your time, and do things the right way?

Quote:


Everything else I feel as clear obstruction to free competition between responsible professionals.

What a load of crap.  Have you ever opened a Florida phone book, and  noticed how many engineering firms there are?  Evidently, the obstructionist beaurocrats aren't doing a very good job of limiting free enterprise!!!

Many firms don't even HAVE to advertise, especially in the civil and architectural fields, due to the building boom here.  There is no merit to this comment at all, if we're keeping this in the context of doing business in Florida.   If not,  I can't speak for anyone else.   




**************
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RE: Performing Electrical Design services in Florida

If I was to enter into a contract with a local engineer, I certainly wouldn't be thrilled if I somehow found out that he/she had subcontracted the work to another group of people hundreds or thousands of miles away. And I certainly wouldn't believe that the work done in a remote location was really under his/her supervision. Much of the work that is done by Licensed Engineers is local and site specific. The current regulations that are in place are there to encourage local interaction between the engineer, contractor and client because that helps ensure project quality.

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