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Dealing With Professional Complaint
10

Dealing With Professional Complaint

Dealing With Professional Complaint

(OP)
In Short: I wrote a site observation report for a site in a state that i'm not licensed in (but my boss is), my boss approved the report, we sent it out to the builder, and the homeowner submitted a complaint that i was practicing engineering without a license. my boss's name and my name are both on the report under "prepared by", no one signed or sealed the report. Anyone have experience with this? Any insight is helpful.

In Long:
I've been a licensed PE in one state for a couple years. At the firm that I used to work at, we did a lot of site observation reports for builders. Essentially when a homeowner complained about quality of work or structural integrity, the builder would call us to check it out and recommend repair specifications or state why we believe things are okay. The firm had 3 engineers - the owner (licensed in many states), my direct boss (licensed in one or two states) and myself (licensed in one state). All of our reports would have "prepared by" with the person who wrote the report as well as the owner's name (who checked the report and approved it).

The company wrote a report in a state that the owner is licensed in, but I am not licensed in. I have seen engineers work on millions of projects in states that they are not licensed in, as long as the principal/boss was licensed and checking the work (and ultimately the one signing and sealing). At no point did I sign or seal any documents for this project (since i'm not licensed in the state). In fact, my boss also did not sign and seal the report (since it was not requested by the municipality, builder, etc.). On the report my boss consistently requested that we put our credentials at the end of our name for the comfort of the client (EIT when we were that, and PE when we passed our exam). So my name had PE at the end of it, since I am a PE. Again, no sign and seal or signature of any sort - just a line that said who wrote the report. Our company name and address was also on the report, which is located in the same state that i'm licensed in.

The homeowner submitted a formal complain to the state licensing board stating that I was practicing engineering without a license. I submitted my formal response as requested but I really thought this would be an open and shut case - which it is not. It has been over a month and the investigation is ongoing.

My question:
Does anyone know if this is normal? I have since left the company and am not working at a firm that writes reports anymore (or does work in states other than what i'm licensed in) - so i'm not worried about future instances. I would appreciate any insight.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

In some states, not signing and sealing a final report can be a breach of regulations. For instance, in Virginia:

Quote (18VAC10-20-760.Use of Seal.B.Documents to be sealed.)

1. All final documents, including cover sheet of plans, plats, documents, drawings, technical reports, and specifications, and each sheet of plans or plats, or drawings prepared by the professional, or someone under his direct control and personal supervision, shall be sealed, signed, and dated by the professional. All final documents shall also bear the professional's name or firm name, address, and project name.

So for me, it doesn't matter what the client or AHJ want, my minimum level of service will have my seal on the final document, even if that's just a cover letter for some redlines explaining what work I have done.

It's not enough for the boss to check and sign the report. They must also be in responsible charge. It's a higher level of scrutiny. Did they direct the project? Did they make the key decisions? If no, then it could be said that you were in responsible charge, not your boss.

If your name ever goes on a document with PE on it for a project in a state you're not licensed in, you should at least put a little blurb under your name with "Licensed in PA" or something similar. NSPE: Use Of P.E. Designation—Not Licensed In State In Which Complaint Is Filed

So while you did not intend to practice in a state where you weren't licensed, there's probably enough there to make them wonder and do an actual investigation. And it can come back to bite you - if you're disciplined, you'll be required to report it to your home state where they may also discipline you. Failure to report can result in revocation of your license in most states.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

(OP)
phamENG - That's what I was afraid of. At this firm, almost zero of the reports going out ever had a signature and seal. Wasn't my decision, I was just a worker bee. I was also not the one directing the project or making the key decisions. Interestingly enough, I actually advocated multiple times that I did not feel it was appropriate to put my name on the documents that we send out - for this reason exactly. But until you get burned, you don't know how important it is to stay away from the stove. My boss insisted that this is the way it works in engineering and he has never seen a company that didn't do it this way - the person who physically writes the report (even if the engineer in responsible charge is the boss) puts their name on the report and then the boss puts his name too. I have since left this company for a few reasons. The complaint arose after I was already gone from the company.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

I'm licensed in many, many states. As such, I get disciplinary reports from them in their monthly (quarterly, whenever?) newsletters. I'm thinking this is a pretty minor violation. For one, you can probably combine this into one, with your boss as the main offender. Assuming he's licensed, it will likely be a $200 fine, some training, and you'll (or maybe just him) have to report and explain the violation on any future license applications or renewals. But I'd wait for the process to play out. I'm guessing these boards get hundreds of (crank) complaints from citizens, and maybe yours will go in the non-pursued file,

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Reading a lot of these forums, I'm really happy I work in an industry exempt field.

And you could sue the homeowner for defamation. Seems to be SOP for our previous dear leader.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Quote:

In fact, my boss also did not sign and seal the report (since it was not requested by the municipality, builder, etc.)
As phamENG responded - this is simply incorrect. The municipality, builder, owner, large squirrel have no say in whether something gets sealed/signed or not.
The state you practice in (and are licensed in) dictate what and when things get sealed...which is most anything where you are providing engineering services.

Quote (phamENG)

It's not enough for the boss to check and sign the report. They must also be in responsible charge. It's a higher level of scrutiny. Did they direct the project? Did they make the key decisions? If no, then it could be said that you were in responsible charge, not your boss.
This

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

I believe this has been addressed by NSPE Ethics. You are a PE. You may not be a PE in the state where this project was located, but you are a PE. There is no requirement to disclaim which states have you licensed (but it can help in these situations).

Does the state where the project is located require stamped and signed inspection reports for all projects? Your boss, as the PE in responsible charge of the project, should be up to date with the requirements and follow the established guidelines.

It sounds to me like the homeowner read something somewhere and is just trying to make a stink.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Buck stops with the engineer in charge. In this case, it is your licensed boss. Have him write a letter to the Board stating that he is the responsible engineer in charge.

If a technician wrote the report and the PE boss signed it, would there be any question?

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Hypothetically, any report containing engineering analysis, calculation, or observation, signed or otherwise, would be considered "practice of engineering" in at least some states, particularly if it's delivered to a customer. The only way out is the responsible charge issue, but if your boss wasn't actually in responsible charge, then he would be ethically in the wrong to affirm that he was. That's kind of a bad precedent, particularly if he gets caught at it.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

That's the old argument about what constitutes being the responsible engineer in charge. As I mentor and train new graduates through them getting their own PE license, I gradually reduce my level of direct involvement in their projects. When they have been at it 3.5-4 years, and are doing a good job, I don't feel I need to tell them every step to take. I'm still the engineer responsible for the deliverable, but I'm not micromanaging them. Once they have their PE, I still review their work, but they are the PE of record on the project.

Working in other states, the responsible engineer needs to be licensed in that state. They can have another PE, that is not licensed in that state, conduct all the field work and report back just like a tech or entry level EI would do.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

(OP)

Quote (jae)

As phamENG responded - this is simply incorrect. The municipality, builder, owner, large squirrel have no say in whether something gets sealed/signed or not.
The state you practice in (and are licensed in) dictate what and when things get sealed...which is most anything where you are providing engineering services.
Help me understand this. If someone goes up to John Doe and asks him to look at their foundation and write a report with what john sees when he does the observation - does he need to be an engineer? does he need to seal the report? if he's not an engineer, is he not allowed to write a document saying what he saw? I'm not being snippy, I'm just actually curious. I've worked for a few different companies and all of them sent out documents that weren't sealed. like, thousands (or millions?) of documents per company. It just seems to be the way it is in Pennsylvania.

Quote (azpete)

If a technician wrote the report and the PE boss signed it, would there be any question?
exactly my point. there are hundreds of companies that have one engineer and like 10 technicians gathering information for them. if my boss (the licensed engineer) is acting as the engineer directly monitoring/checking/overseeing every inch of the project, why would the person writing the word document need to be licensed?

Quote (tigerguy)

Working in other states, the responsible engineer needs to be licensed in that state. They can have another PE, that is not licensed in that state, conduct all the field work and report back just like a tech or entry level EI would do.
this was my role in the project. I went out to the site, took pictures, showed them to my boss and explained what the pictures were showing/where they were located, then wrote what my boss said to write (he didn't literally dictate to me, but he had me write some stuff based on whatever other report he wanted it to look like, then he adjusted as needed).

to me, it sounds like i'm going to be off the hook, because i essentially was doing the same job as a technician. But at least now i will know - i'm DEFINITELY not performing any work for future (or current) employers that is in another state until they pay to get me licensed in that state haha.
thanks for your help everyone

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

If a designer creates copy, shops around, and finds a licensed PE who then "rubber stamps" the work without oversight, that would be considered out of bounds.

In such a case, does the designer get pursued for practicing without a license?

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Quote (The homeowner submitted a formal complain to the state licensing board stating that I was practicing engineering without a license. I submitted my formal response as requested but I really thought this would be an open and shut case - which it is not. It has been over a month and the investigation is ongoing.)


That's the scary part... why would anyone do something like that... maybe thinking of litigation?

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Properly done, the Board would be looking into the boss as well. Otherwise, how to pierce the seniority chain and go at the implied supervised for practice?

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Quote (Have him write a letter to the Board stating that he is the responsible engineer in charge.)


That should end it, and quickly. Why was the complaint really filed?

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Likely that a) the homeowner didn't like the report, b) is an engineer or attorney

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Quote (MyCupboard)

If someone goes up to John Doe and asks him to look at their foundation and write a report with what john sees when he does the observation - does he need to be an engineer? does he need to seal the report? if he's not an engineer, is he not allowed to write a document saying what he saw?

Yes, but also no. Is he doing it for hire? How is he advertising himself? If you're not an engineer, you'd likely need to either be a home inspector or a contractor and appropriately licensed/certified as such (though specific rules are different in different states/cities/etc.).

You were doing it as an engineer, so there needs to be an engineer in responsible charge licensed in that state. If nobody sealed the report, then how do you know who is in responsible charge? You have two peoples' names on it, both claiming to be licensed engineers, but neither "taking credit" for it. Leads to some ambiguity.

The licensing system is, in it's most idealistic sense, intended to ensure safety and public confidence. The average person has no idea how our industry or our profession works. So if they have this letter, and it's either wrong or turned out to cause them a problem in some way (maybe they're selling the house and the buyer's engineer disagrees with what your report says), and they look you up...you don't exist. You're not in the state's system. It looks, to them, like you lied about being an engineer and now they're left with some sort of annoyance (or worse).

Hopefully you left that firm on good terms...if not, they may not be willing to 'fess up about it. Especially if it seems like a lawsuit may be brewing...

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

How to pierce the supervisory signature and get to the subordinate?

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Quote (AZPete)

How to pierce the supervisory signature and get to the subordinate?

Simple - this has nothing to do with what the supervisor did. It's going to come down to whether or not the OP represented himself (or herself?) as a Professional Engineer licensed in that state by placing the PE designation after his (her?) name on the report but not making it clear that they were not licensed in that state.

Now, the boss not sealing it may be a violation of the regulations...I don't know what state we're talking about here so I'm not sure if it's a hard and fast requirement in this case. But those matters would be completely separate.

This isn't a lawsuit or a criminal proceeding against the company...this is a question of the behavior of a professional with regard to the professional regulations.

(For the record, it sounds like the OP should get off as there was likely no intent...I'm just trying to think through it impartially and as unsympathetically as I can.)

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Our industry is stupid sometimes. There is absolutely no harm with what the OP did. The report was prepared and submitted under the supervision of a PE licensed in the State the project was located. Sounds to me like the homeowner didn't like the results of the report so they are being vindictive.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

2
Never doubt the slow pace of bureaucracy.

From the info given the board shouldn't find you faulty of anything. The report was prepared under the boss' supervision who is licensed in that state, therefore you were not practicing without a license. Failing to seal a document is not practicing without a license. Identifying yourself as a licensed professional in a state in which you are not licensed is not practicing without a license. To prove you guilty the board has to show that you performed engineering activities without a PE's supervision in a state in which you are not personally licensed. If the board claims otherwise then I would take the charge to court, be found not-guilty, sue board members personally and the state for defamation, and demand both board members' positions and licenses be revoked. Its unfortunate but there is a large subset of this profession guilty of guildism who are constantly trying to expand the law through illegal means.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Professional engineering never ceases to amaze with its propensity to eat its young.

How many NSPE members have been rung up because they published an article with a PE byline? How about Machine Design? How about a letter to the Op Ed?

Sure, the various Boards can investigate, challenge, and penalize given the various readings of the various States' laws. But, at some point, for crying out loud, what an abuse of a profession.

The only claim that could stand on the facts would be failure to seal. Had it been sealed by the boss, what case is there to make against the author/OP?

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

How many NSPE members have been rung up because they published an article with a PE byline? Really? That has actually happened?

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Quote (MyCupboard)

Help me understand this. If someone goes up to John Doe and asks him to look at their foundation and write a report with what john sees when he does the observation - does he need to be an engineer? does he need to seal the report? if he's not an engineer, is he not allowed to write a document saying what he saw? I'm not being snippy, I'm just actually curious. I've worked for a few different companies and all of them sent out documents that weren't sealed. like, thousands (or millions?) of documents per company. It just seems to be the way it is in Pennsylvania.

In the US, each state has its own laws regarding the practice of engineering.
While different, most states laws are generally similar.

In all cases where I've been licensed (27 states) the duty of an engineer to sign and seal an engineering document is specifically dictated by the state's engineering laws.
They define what is engineering and what is not. They all state that ANY engineering document must be signed and sealed by the engineer responsible for the engineering.

Never is the engineer supposed to respond to a client or other person as to when and if they need to seal the document.

In your question above - the situation of a residential project - looking at a foundation say - may not be defined as "ENGINEERING". For example, in Nebraska (one of my states) they define when a residential project requires licensed practice (and thus sealaing) and when an licensed engineer is NOT required - sometimes based on square footage, sometimes based on the actual service provided. Houses greater than 10,000 sf need an engineer....houses smaller don't.

In a lot of cases with houses, no licensed engineer is required and if an engineer is asked to look at it, technically, they don't need to sign/seal something for that....I always do and did anyway.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

The bit that the guild usually misses is that law is always applied in context by the court, and many of these issues have well-established case law because of legal challenges in other professions. State sections specific to one licensed profession don't apply when an issue affects ALL licensed professions. The rabbit-hole of issues pertaining to state borders vs licensing is deep - Identifying as a licensed professional in correspondence/advertising/etc received out-of-state, working remotely from a state you aren't licensed, emergency powers, federal reciprocity, etc. IME most professionals dont worry over regulators nitpicking their signatures bc the courts pretty clearly distinguish between 1. identifying as a licensed professional and 2. performing work as a licensed professional.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

As others have noted, each State has their own rules and regulations when it comes to professional engineers, and what is required for certification of an engineering report. Depending on the State, if the letter was not signed and sealed by the PE, it was not certified by a professional engineer. As a regulator, I have not accepted documents that need to be certified by a PE if they were not signed & sealed in accordance with the rules. BTW, what States are we talking about (licensed vs unlicensed)?

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

My signature in emails and every letter I write lists every state I am licensed in (13). Basically if my seal isn't on it, I want it to be clear which states I am licensed in. I started this when I was working for a material supplier that supplied bridge products in all 50 states, but only had as few as 4 PEs. We were constantly running projects in states we weren't licensed in due to balancing workload. The PE sealing would do a "peer review" of the final design drawings, then seal, but would not review or seal every little field issue that came up. If the owner wanted a PE seal on a letter directing the contractor how to fix an issue, the person who prepared it would always sign their name, and the PE in that state would sign/seal next to that.
For sealing, we took the stance that as the engineer in "responsible charge", even if we weren't responsible for every aspect of that particular project, we were certifying that we had an established process (design checks,qa/qc,etc.) and that those processes were followed. Processes that all the PEs in the company came up with and agreed upon.
I know that's not directly related to your situation, but just thought I'd share. I don't think you were in the wrong at all. I also disagree that the report necessarily constitutes engineering.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Quote:

Identifying yourself as a licensed professional in a state in which you are not licensed is not practicing without a license

In California, it is; you cannot even publicly say you are a professional engineer if you do not have a valid license in 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: Dealing With Professional Complaint

OP, your boss, as the licensed engineer in responsible charge, should have stamped and signed the letter, and you should not have used the PE designation on the letter. If your boss had stamped and signed as he should have, then you might have "gotten away with" using the PE designation, but since he did not use his PE stamp, the ambiguity by both of you has predictably led to confusion amongst the public, and has resulted in unwanted liability for you and your boss. He really kind of screwed you on this, but you could certainly have avoided any trouble for yourself by not using the PE designation.

I've known lots of engineers over the years who didn't like to stamp things unless they absolutely had to, meaning their client made them. The truth is, according to most state rules that I am familiar with, they should basically be stamping everything they do unless it is explicitly marked "preliminary" or some such. They are under the wrong impression that stamping makes them responsible and exposes them to increased liability. I think the situation is actually quite the opposite, as your and your boss's situation illustrate.

There is no way I would put the letters PE next to my name in a state where I am not licensed. Its just inviting scrutiny and possible negative ramifications with your license.

In the grand scheme of things, in my opinion this is minor thing on your part and maybe just a lesson learned to scrutinize your own practices, if for no other reason than self preservation to avoid negative consequences imposed by others out of your own control, whether that be an unhappy individual with an exe to grind or an overzealous state licensing board. Hopefully, things play out favorably for you with the state licensing board.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

(OP)
This is all helpful information. From now on I am going to take the advice given here and add (PA) to my signature and business card and make sure my name is not on anything in other states (to avoid any issues). Now i'm just venting, but i'm upset because I told my boss that my name should not be on the reports and he also was the one that instructed me to put my credentials behind my name. I know i'm ultimately responsible for it, i'm accepting whatever comes of it. I just wish it wasn't so easy to screw over a newly licensed engineer who can't really go against his boss without risking losing his job. Next time i will do a better job advocating now that i know what is on the line. Hopefully the board takes it easy on me for a first offense (i was a PE for something like 1 day when i wrote the report)

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

If your boss is licensed in the jurisdiction instant and you wrote at his request, he owns the result. You may be the initial touch point for board inquiry, but it rests with the responsible entity in charge.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

You did OK... but, you should have included your state(s) of registration. This type of stuff is one of the reasons I should have gone into medicine, rather than engineering...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Or into an engineering field where no one cares one iota about any PE stuff.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Oxonian

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Quote:

In California, it is; you cannot even publicly say you are a professional engineer if you do not have a valid license in California

I'd be really surprised if the courts upheld that bc its rather unreasonable. I'd also be surprised if they upheld a state board's fine for not sealing work without a complaint from a local regulator. The VA code cited isnt law, its agency code and engineering boards really aren't regulatory, they're administrative/licensing agencies. Politics and the media suggest otherwise but courts do take separation of power pretty seriously stateside. Usually when regulatory abuses happen its bc paying a small fine was cheaper/faster/easier than hiring an attorney for a legal battle, tho occasionally we get a fella like Mats Jarlstrom.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

It's my understanding that an engineer should be using the latest technical information available. I understand the British Columbia engineering association took an engineer to task for using the latest code (don't know if conc or steel, I think steel) rather than that stipulated in the BC building code. The City of Winnipeg insists that the code stipulated version is used. The Manitoba professional organisation refuses to comment on this practice. I think the profession is Friar Tucked...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Quote (dik)

t's my understanding that an engineer should be using the latest technical information available. I understand the British Columbia...

What if a newer code allows the use of LESS rebar than previous [BC building] codes? But BC and City of Winnipeg wants designs to contain the greater amount of rebar? Engineers need to use the adopted code, as adopted by law or ordinance, and that's that.

The reasoning for specifying a particular edition of a building code is to avoid having to frequently retrain reviewers and inspectors. Frankly, I think engineers should be able to choose the steel or concrete code they prefer to use.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Disagree... what is their reason for wanting more? Things should be designed on the basis of the latest information... just common engineering sense... pipe

The reviewers and inspectors should be up with the latest information, too. Else they are not doing their job!

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Don't the standards committees indicate that only the most recent version is applicable and once a new one is issued, all previous ones are null and void?

To be fair, they're in it to make money, but still it's not like we can take them to task if something doesn't work out because it meets an old standard but not the newest one for that exact reason.

I generally try to design to the most recent standards, and if the City of Winnipeg, or Province of BC wants me to put a reference to an older version on the drawing, so be it.

In response to NOLAscience's point about an older code requiring more reinforcing (or larger members, or what have you) I don't think since the snow load debacle of the NBCC 1995 I've seen a code or standard become less conservative.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

In the USA, we use the International Building Code (IBC). The IBC is updated every 3 years. Most municipalities and government agencies adopt the current IBC every 6 years, skipping every other update. You have to know which version is adopted by the agency reviewing your designs.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Heaven forbid if something in the code is wrong... and there is more recent information available. Do you use the code, or the correct information? ponder

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

We've strayed a bit from the original topic, but oh well...

To dik's point, I believe we have a responsibility to be aware of the most recent accepted engineering practice. That includes new consensus research and reference standards updates. We also have a responsibility to understand and know the legally required standards to which we must design buildings. In the US, that's dependent upon the building code adopted by law in the jurisdiction. If there is a conflict, we have to be able to determine the best course of action. If the change is simply to improve efficiency, follow the adopted code. If the change is for safety, follow the newest information (i.e., Southern Pine visually graded lumber design values in 2013).

TL;DR: look at the newest and look at adopted, use the more stringent criteria

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Back to the original topic, if somebody is not a licensed engineer and practices engineering, they can be fined. If somebody is a PE, and does something in another jurisdiction, even if not actual engineering, somebody can file a complaint and jeopardize the license, along with fines.

Hopefully, the state board is made up of rational individuals and will settle this quickly and reasonably.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

(OP)
I will update everyone once I receive an outcome. It has been a month so far. No decision has been made by the board yet. Thanks for all your responses. Please use this as a reminder to explain this dilemma to the new engineers you come across.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Quote (TigerGuy)

Back to the original topic, if somebody is not a licensed engineer and practices engineering, they can be fined.
Not if they performed the engineering under a licensed PE in that state and the licensed PE signed/sealed the document.

Quote (TigerGuy)

If somebody is a PE, and does something in another jurisdiction, even if not actual engineering, somebody can file a complaint and jeopardize the license, along with fines.
If the services were defined as "engineering" by the local state board, and the PE wasn't licensed in that state then yes.
If the actions performed are NOT defined as "engineering" by the local state board, then no.
I'm not licensed in Oregon but if I mowed someone's lawn there I wouldn't have a problem.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Quote (MyCupboard)

It has been a month so far. No decision has been made by the board yet.

Is the delay due to scheduling the first discussion, or is it that they are grappling with it?

If the latter, one could appeal to the Board with, "If this isn't a straightforward decision for the Board, perhaps holding a PE to potential penalty may be a stretch. Perhaps this allegation ought to be dismissed and the Board can use it as an opportunity to clarify the code."

May be overly bold, but if that's the essence of it, then it probably warrants it.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

JAE,

Fair points of clarification.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

(OP)
AZPete - i have called multiple times trying to get any information and they just simply say that they have received my required response letter and no further information will be provided to me until a decision has been made. So i have no idea how far along they are in the process or if they have even considered it at all. I will keep you all posted once i hear anything or if they reach out for a conversation of any sorts.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

(OP)
JAE - that's exactly my view of the situation. I am viewing what I did as a "technical staff" job. I took the time to drive out to site, took pictures and documented the conditions that i was instructed to document and brought back to my boss for him to look at and guide me through the document. The report (that again, was written under the direction of my boss, who is licensed in the state) didn't even have any engineering/repair recommendations - it just said these items may be of concern and should be analyzed by a PE licensed in your state. That's all the client (builder) hired us to do. come document and tell them which things they should look into with an engineer.

the closest comparison I have is if a home inspector came out telling you "this truss appears to be broken and an engineer should be consulted" and then disciplining the inspector because he's not a licensed engineer.

the board has a copy of the report so hopefully they actually read it and express some grace.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Got the threads crossed. Sounded like another thread on a jurisdictional interpretation. Addressed this one earlier; latter comment free to be disregarded.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

I`m a little late to this party, but Maine sent an email a year or so ago specifically warning people against identifying themselves as a PE in their state.

Quote (Maine)


"You can only use a credential in a state where it is granted. If you are an EIT in NH, you are not an EI in Maine unless you apply and the credential is granted..."
"Remember, failure to comply with credentialing laws can result in action against your license"

Texas has a similar policy:
https://pels.texas.gov/nm/pa10_responseletter.pdf

I don't agree with any of it, but under this logic, identifying yourself as a PE in the report, even if the work was done under the direct supervision of a PE in Maine could still result in action against your license.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

Well, yes - using "PE" after your name (just PE and nothing else) on a generic marketing brochure, or on a letter to someone in the state in question, could be a violation if you aren't licensed in that state...like Texas.

However, I would argue that the following are NOT violations of most state's provisions:
1. Having PE after your name on your website.
2. Having "PE (Virginia, Texas, Ohio)" after your name, designating the states in which you are licensed.
3. Having PE after your name on your business card in your pocket while you walk through the state in question.
4. Handing your business card (or e-transferring your contact information) to someone in the state in question if you aren't licensed there - but telling them you are not licensed there.
5. Having a tatoo on your chest with the words "Professional Engineer par excellence" and showing it off in that state

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

JAE - please tell me that you are familiar with #5 from personal experience.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

I got a warning from Maine once about providing a proposal since I wasn't licensed there yet.

Something of a chicken and the egg issue...I was approached by a client wanting me to do a design in Maine, but I didn't want to go through the hassle of getting licensed if I wasn't going to get the project. The guy who runs the office is great, though. When I explained it to him and told him the proposal was due that day, he stayed late to see that my application was processed in time so I'd be in their system before I officially provided a proposal.

Didn't get the job, but kudos to the Maine PE licensing office for going above and beyond that day.

RE: Dealing With Professional Complaint

phamENG - not tellin'

Also - a somewhat similar experience to yours: Some years ago, we were starting up a design/build project with a separate contractor. We were doing all the engineering (the contractor had their own architects) and we flew out to Las Vegas, Nevada, for the kickoff meeting. This was to be a large addition to the US Postal Service facility there near the airport.

We had the meeting and then walked around the building looking at how the addition was to be tied in, issues with the structure, etc. The structural "agent" for the USPS asked me who was going to be the EOR of the project and I said I was. He asked if I was a licensed engineer in the state of Nevada and I told him my application was pending.

Apparently not good enough for this guy so a few weeks later I get a call from the NV board asking who was going to be the EOR...I said I was...they said, well...you can't be as you aren't a licensed PE in the state of Nevada yet.

I answered, "That's true. I have a licensed application pending for NV but only out of general courtesy. You see, this project is federal. Federal funded, on federal property, and not technically "in" the state of Nevada. In other words, the state of Nevada had no jurisdiction.

Silence on the phone for a minute and then, "we'll have to review that and get back to you".

We finished the project and a month or so after we were complete, I get a letter from the board there telling me that they agreed that I hadn't violated any engineering provision and was good to go. Whew!!!

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