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Referral of engineering company by a regulator agency

Referral of engineering company by a regulator agency

Referral of engineering company by a regulator agency

(OP)
We work as a small Civil Engineering firm in California in a niche market portion of building projects primarily in residential projects but also in commercial projects.
We are primarily regulated by (receive design plan approval from) the county agency having justification and sometimes by a state agency.
Several counties that we work in have a listing of firms (people) that have done project designs in their county. This list is on a county website, or this list is also given to property owners when they seek building permits needing such engineering design services.
I have heard comments from customers that the county has referred or suggested certain firms from the list, including referrals to our firm.
My opinion is such lists should not exist. Perhaps there is not specific statutes prohibiting such list but too much perceived favoritism and too much government control seems to result from such lists. People needing services we provide can easily find our name and others with a google search or other means.
Is anyone aware of statues banning such list? Do others agree with the list being inappropriate?

RE: Referral of engineering company by a regulator agency

In an ideal world, sure I would agree that the list is inappropriate. In reality, I expect that these municipalities are inundated with incomplete and incorrect submittals - and directing their constituency towards companies that will perform good work is a benefit to their jurisdiction, their department and the companies that perform good work.

RE: Referral of engineering company by a regulator agency

Any such statutes would be very local - state law at the highest level. I seriously doubt this would exist at the federal level apart from regulating federal agencies and lists they may or may not have (my guess is they don't).

I don't have a problem with these lists. As long as the agency is transparent and the only criteria are 1) legally eligible to do business 2) hold the proper professional license(s), 3) the agency knows they exist, and 4) anyone who meets 1-3 can ask to be on the list and they will be added without question, then there's nothing wrong with it. Oh, and a note that there are other eligible design firms and a tacit encouragement to do their own research - being on the list isn't an endorsement.

I only know of two such lists in my area - one is for a city listing architects and engineers, and one is for designers and contractors with historic preservation experience. I'm on both of them. They do 1-4 above, though the historic preservation one does check to make sure you've done that kind of work before. I find that they are not especially helpful to be on. The sort of clients that need those lists (meaning they can't find an engineer any other way) aren't usually the easiest sort to work with.

RE: Referral of engineering company by a regulator agency

I like the idea of these lists. There are too many crooks in the world and, unless getting on the list is difficult, I'd believe it more than the BBB garbage.

A danger to the lists is if there are kick-backs being paid, but that is in comparison with the risks posed by fly-by-night operations. If you think a competitor is greasing palms that's a separate matter.

Sure they can find your name. They can also find any name from any liars as well and will have no idea they are dealing with liars. On a recent Steve Lehto episode he discussed with a buddy at one time about a tree trimming business the buddy had. He noticed his buddy had "Insured and Bonded" on the fliers and asked who his bonding company was. His buddy said "Huh?" When quizzed further it turned out his buddy was just copying what every other flier he had come across said. He had no insurance and there was no bonding company.

My state used to have a website for insurance - how many in the state had policies and how many complaints were raised against each one. I don't recall specifics. The insurance companies got that list taken down. I wonder why. Must have been coincidental that among the worst I had already had bad dealings with.

RE: Referral of engineering company by a regulator agency

I wouldn’t doubt that local officialdom or counsel would creatively interpret, but federal law has long prevented most govt from sanctioning private businesses via these lists.

RE: Referral of engineering company by a regulator agency

I am at a loss to figure out how to find that federal law. No doubt their source would be lobbyists from national companies who dislike accountability.

RE: Referral of engineering company by a regulator agency

When I lived in Yorba Linda, they had a requirement to get our anti-siphon valves off the city mains tested every year, and they had a list of contractors "qualified" to perform the testing and complete the form issued by the city.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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