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Freelance Civil Engineer Questions

Freelance Civil Engineer Questions

Freelance Civil Engineer Questions

(OP)
I've been doing freelance work for a few months now and a new opportunity has popped up to be a long term 1099 contractor. My question is really focused on P.E. license and a COA. I'm registered in D.C. as a licensed P.E. but I get confused when they mention a "COA" or Certification of Authorization. Do I need a COA in addition to my P.E. license when offering engineering services? I've email the local board but haven't heard back yet, just wanted input from anyone else who may be confused. Also, should I obtain professional liability insurance? If so, how much coverage should I get? I've only done around $2k of work so far, but this new opportunity will be greater amount.

RE: Freelance Civil Engineer Questions

Each state in the US has their own laws concerning an entity doing business in their state.
We have both individual engineering licenses (to practice engineering) as well as firm certificates of authorization (to do business in the state).
The first is via the engineering board. The second is usually, but not always, via the secretary of state office.

So yes, you have to get both in most states. There's times in my state board newsletters in many states where firms were fined for not getting their certificate.

Now as an individual (sole proprietorship) you may not need it but you should ask.

Insurance? Depends on your sense of risk, tolerance of risk, and other mechanisms to protect your personal properties, but yes, usually a good idea and many clients require it.

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RE: Freelance Civil Engineer Questions

Agree with JAE. In my state, an individual practicing under his name does not need a CoA. If you practice under any of the various entities, such as an LLC, INC, PA, LLP, etc., a CoA is required. As JAE says, check with the jurisdictional board.

RE: Freelance Civil Engineer Questions

As to liability insurance,check with ASCE and see if they have any scoop on how various branches of the work have trouble getting insurance,etc. It used to be my branch (geotch) had many claims,but with various assistance from ASCE committees on how the way jobs are taken and the hold harmless clauses, etc. has helped make for less suits. Even with what might be thought of as well written contacts, attorneys will find ways to get around them. When I was practicing I moved most of my assets to my wife and did other steps to minimize of at least making claims of my assets difficult. Did have insurance and had one major claim (not my fault) and had no attachment to my assets. My contracts all had a section specifically saying no clams against my wife. Remember that every possible source of funds on the job means every one gets sued, even if they had nothing to do with it. "Deep pockets".

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