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# Mentioning engineering on a web page

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## Mentioning engineering on a web page

(OP)
I noticed on a company's web site today where they mention mechanical engineering as if it is a service they offer. But these people don't have a COA for the state(s) they operate in.....and they don't have a EOR as far as I can tell (unless he/she is outside the company).

Is that ethical? Or could that fall under the industrial exemption?

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

Depends on whether the mention can be construed as an offer to practice engineering for the public. Something like, "Our rigorous mechanical engineering provide the user with a robust and reliable product" would be protected by the industrial exemption in a state like California.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

(OP)
Here is the site:

https://www.davisvibration.com/

Not sure how to take it. Although, I've never 100% gotten the industrial exemption anyway (i.e. where it is applicable).

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

It certainly appears to me as though they are offering Mechanical Engineering services to the general public. To do so the company would need to be registered with the states in which they do business and may also need a PE on staff. I'm not sure if contracting with an independent engineer would qualify.

As far as the ethics are concerned, it could be that this company is unaware of the legal requirements for offering engineering services. If they are aware and choose to offer engineering services anyway then that is a different matter.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

Looks like their mechanical design would be for machine parts. I tactually says engineering, not design. This may be on purpose.
It is between them and the client to determine if the exemption applies.

They likely would design a part of equipment and their client designs the whole machine (or whatever)

(OP)
Good point EP.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

The company is located in the state of Georgia. Georgia has a very limited exemption for industry and this company does not appear to fit that exemption. It is primarily for defense and aerospace companies. Further Section 43-15-30 of the Georgia Engineering Law, "Unlawful acts" indicates that this company is in violation, which is a misdemeanor. The terms "Engineer" and "Engineering" are protected terms under this section of the statute, thus they are violating this.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

I was on their side until I got to this page: https://www.davisvibration.com/mechanical_engineering.htm

I was hoping it was just a "we can handle the engineering (through our outside consultants)" but failed to add the last part. But this jumps over the line I think.

I'm guessing you verified the lack of CoA/License through an online portal?

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

I don't see how this wouldn't be covered by the industrial exemption. It applies to a lot more than some people think. For example, I have designed medical devices, including medical implants, lab equipment, telecom equipment, consumer devices, industrial equipment, aerospace/defense, etc, all without needing a PE or even employing any PEs in the company. This was all perfectly legal.

It looks like they are not suggesting they will design your power plant that uses large rotating equipment, just that they have an engineer that can help with your vibration issues by maybe designing a custom coupling or monitoring system.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

hendersdc - keep in mind that state laws vary. You may be spot on in Colorado. Ron practices mostly in Florida, and I'd be surprised if he's not registered in and quite knowledgeable about Georgia's professional practice laws as well. His presentation is certainly convincing.

The problem comes from the fact that they have a section of their website titled "Mechanical Engineering" and say "Contact us to discuss your requirements for our mechanical engineering services." If they said "Contact us to discuss the requirements for your custom equipment" they'd probably be fine. But the way its worded implies that they will provide mechanical engineering services to the public.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

phamENG,

I see what you are saying now, I guess I am just assuming that when they are contacted the scope of their offerings would end up being limited only to what is exempt.

For example, here is the website of the company I work for (I hope this doesn't count as advertising, if it does please remove the link) https://www.creationtech.com/solutions/product-development-and-engineering/. It also says engineering, I consider myself a mechanical engineer, and offer mechanical engineering services to our clients. All of this takes place in exclusively exempt industries.

Is the consensus that we need to have an asterisk and a footnote somewhere that says "Engineering services only offered in exempt industries"?

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

(OP)

#### Quote:

I'm guessing you verified the lack of CoA/License through an online portal?

Yep. And they don't.

(And actually I am wondering (since I am licensed in Ga) do I have a obligation to turn them in?)

But I was kind of intrigued with this site in terms of interpreting if they are really saying they offer engineering services.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

hendersdc - like I said, you may be fine. CO may have more relaxed laws than GA. Some states require an engineering license if you mention the word engineering - there's a thread floating around here somewhere about a guy who prepared and delivered a presentation to his city council about some traffic development, and somebody on the other side convinced the board they were "practicing engineering" and they issued a fine.

So you can offer your product to the public and that may will involve engineering it, but you can't offer engineering in an open ended sense.

WARose - I'd send something to the company. Say hey, I saw you have this on your website, and I think you're violating XYZ. Maybe you should revise it to such-and-such. Thanks and have a great day. If they ignore you or don't change it, then send it the board.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

#### Quote:

somebody on the other side convinced the board they were "practicing engineering" and they issued a fine.

In Oregon, and the board eventually lost and had to eat crow

#### Quote:

if they are really saying they offer engineering services.

They are, and would be fine in California, but's Georgia's law looks way more restrictive

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

This isn't just in CO, our company headquarters are in Boston and we do work for customers in many states and countries. In our industry (EMS) and the industries of our customers a PE just isn't needed. Though I can't specifically remember doing work for a customer in Georgia we wouldn't turn down someone just because they were based there.

As further examples, all the major competitors in our industry all mention "engineering" services on their websites. These aren't small companies either, combined revenue is in the 10's of billions:

https://plexus.com/en-us/solutions
https://www.bench.com/engineering-capabilities

I did see the thread/article about the traffic analysis as well, he actually had the board's decision overturned by a federal court, partially due to the boards "history of overzealous enforcement": https://ij.org/press-release/oregon-engineer-wins-traffic-light-timing-lawsuit/

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

#### Quote:

Not sure how to take it. Although, I've never 100% gotten the industrial exemption anyway (i.e. where it is applicable).

The industrial exemption is simple - you need a license to work for the public; you dont need a license to work for a business. In this case GA 43-15-29 governs. The main page of the website clearly states that their customers are industrial plants. Moreover, common sense says that the general public isnt going to hire an industrial balancing outfit. Therefore, this clearly falls under the industrial exemption as they are NOT advertising to the general public, they are advertising toward businesses.

Given the number of times the exemption has been explained on this board, the fact that it is a tested item on licensing exams and discussed in required ethics courses, I cant help but wonder if these posts are often a clumsy political lobbying attempt.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

(OP)

#### Quote:

Given the number of times the exemption has been explained on this board, the fact that it is a tested item on licensing exams and discussed in required ethics courses, I cant help but wonder if these posts are often a clumsy political lobbying attempt.

Woah.....somebody had a little too much caffeine this morning. As Steve Martin use to say "well excuuuuuse meee" for not knowing (or being 100% sure) how the industrial exemption applies in the state of Georgia.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

#### Quote (CWB1)

they are NOT advertising to the general public, they are advertising toward businesses.

Architectural firms are businesses. So you're saying that if I ONLY advertise to architectural firms, I don't need a license to practice structural engineering?

#### Quote (CWB1)

you dont need a license to work for a business.

I agree, but would phrase it differently. You don't need a license to be an employee of a business. Offering a service to a private company IS offering it to the public.

For what it's worth, I'm giving these guys the benefit of the doubt. What they are doing is probably within the bounds of the industrial exemption. BUT, the way they present it on their website appears to go beyond what's allowed.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

(OP)

#### Quote:

For what it's worth, I'm giving these guys the benefit of the doubt. What they are doing is probably within the bounds of the industrial exemption.

To me the gray area of the exemption is stuff like this: (from GA 43-15-29)

(c) This chapter shall not be construed as requiring registration for the purpose of practicing professional engineering or land surveying by an individual, firm, or corporation on property owned or leased by such individual, firm, or corporation unless the same involves the public safety or public health or for the performance of engineering which relates solely to the design or fabrication of manufactured products.

Ok how is public safety not involved if (for example) a guy working on/engineering a piece of equipment causes it to blow out and start a fire and a toxic chemical is released in the air? To me, it's fairly nebulous as to where the public safety ends and this applies.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

Georgia's law is pretty strict on the IE. I fell under one while I was working in North Carolina (though I was licensed as a condition of my employment anyway). It's a little more broad:

#### Quote (North Carolina S89C-25)

This Chapter shall not prevent the following activities:
8. (ii) the performance of internal engineering or survey work by amanufacturingor communications common carrier company, or by a research and development company, or by employees of those corporations provided that the work is in connection with, or incidental to products of, or nonengineering services rendered by those corporationsor their affiliates.9. The routine maintenance or servicing of machinery, equipment, facilities or structures, the work of mechanics in the performance of their established functions, or the inspection or supervision of construction by a foreman, superintendent, or agent of the architect or professional engineer, or servicesof an operational nature performed by an employee of a laboratory, a manufacturing plant, a public service corporation, or governmental operation.

I think of it this way:

If I want to create a widget, I can design it and have somebody make it, and then sell it, all without being an engineer. If it breaks and falls apart, then I'll lose my shirt in the marketplace and nobody cares. If it breaks and falls apart and somebody gets hurt, then more than likely there's some other regulation that's going to require rigorous testing to prove it's safe.

Now if I design a widget but want to make sure it won't fall apart, I can send it to somebody to go over the design and improve/optimize it (or maybe do the whole design based on a conceptual idea I had) - somebody to engineer it. THAT PERSON has to be licensed, because they are offering engineering as a service. Then, once I have the design from them, I send it to the factory to have it made.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

For consumer products like phamENG's widgets there are also a huge number (and growing) of applicable design standards out there from DIN, IEC, SAE, CE, FCC, alphabet soup, etc. Medical devices also have to undergo extensive testing with everything being submitted to the FDA for approval prior to being legal to sell. The IE isn't a get out of jail free card, it just indicates that there are other ways of ensuring public safety in other industries that still have a significant effect on it but are covered by the IE.

A straight reading of WARose's quoted item (c) from GA would appear to cover any manufactured product, regardless of if public safety is involved or not. That seems awfully restrictive.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

#### Quote:

Architectural firms are businesses. So you're saying that if I ONLY advertise to architectural firms, I don't need a license to practice structural engineering?

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

(OP)

#### Quote:

How far down the rabbithole do you want to go? Your breathing removes oxygen from my ecosystem, should you not be allowed to live? :P Obviously balance must be achieved. Legal definitions of public safety generally rest on imminent, life-threatening danger to passers-by (IOW the public, not employees). Most industrial accidents statistically are only likely to hurt employees, not the public, so the govt has chosen to compromise by drawing the proverbial line at "public safety."

It's not a question of where I want to go....it's how nebulous the laws are in this regard. (And I didn't write them.)

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

#### Quote:

that's not the case where I am. In Virginia...If an EIT decided to pick up a side gig doing calcs for home designers or contractors, he/she would be in violation of the rules and subject to up to a \$2,500 fine.

That's the same bad argument others have already tried, yet VA law is essentially a reword of every other state's. So long as the EIT isn't misrepresenting their status or experience (aka fraud) then they are perfectly legal. Suggesting that someone cant use a common title or perform low level design/analysis is ridiculous, contractors could hire anyone without a license to do the exact same thing.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

Yes. This thread hits the nail on the head. I am going through this headache of registration and from the websites of firms I visit, I believe there is an insane number of firms that only register after lining up work.

### RE: Mentioning engineering on a web page

Perhaps it is a tad different where CWB1 practices but phamENG's intuition is correct, at least for the Canadian jurisdiction I work in. And to me, it would be absolutely absurd to define "The Public" in the way CWB1 is suggesting it is; as nearly all firms providing engineering services wouldn't require a CofA.

Public is defined as (in Ontario): "...to be any person or corporation whom you have an arm's-length relationship. This may be a corporate client, a level of government, or an individual."

The whole it's okay if you and your client accepts it pertains to insurance, in at least some jurisdictions, but not the CofA.

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