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I am sure that all engineering firms are beyond busy. And when there is 
plenty, there are many crazy situations that seem to come up. The following 
is a situation that I have dealt with.

I was approached by a fairly large mechanical and electrical engineering firm 
to design some structural members required for the installation of roof top 
platforms. When I did the work I billed the engineering firm and was paid.

A couple of months later I fielded a request by this engineering firm to make 
a bid on the seismic renovation of a fairly large structure. I prepared a bid 
which I made to the owner. The engineering firm requested that I act as a 
sub-contractor to them, rather than my contracting directly with the owner.

I informed them that any contract that I made would be to the owner, or to an 
architect, or to another engineer that is licensed in the discipline that I 
was requested to contract for.

I lost the work to someone else. I believe that the reason was not due to my 
being the high bidder, but rather was my unwillingness to contract for 
structural calculations and drawings to a mechanical and electrical engineer 
(rather than the owner).

I am very busy and did not need the work. However, it raised an interesting 
question in my mind. What is the legality of contracting for services with an 
unlicensed individual (such as a general contractor, mechanical engineer, 
etc.) for services to be provided to an owner?

It is my opinion that this type of contract is strictly illegal. That it 
creates a situation where an unlicensed individual (possibly a good salesman) 
could write a contract with an owner for structural engineering services thus 
circumventing the State law. It would seem to me that any engineer who allows 
this to occur is breaking the law as well.

I would like comments.


        John Ott