To: "INTERNET:seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org" <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Subject: Plan "reviewers" signing their work
From: Peter Higgins <JillHiggins(--nospam--at)compuserve.com>
Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2000 16:05:29 -0400
Expand upon BORPELS plan checking policy? With pleasure.
In 1995, BORPELS made a policy notice regarding plan "checking" stating
1) Review of work which is defined as engineering in the act, is also
2) Accordingly, it must also be performed under the supervision of a
registered engineer and be signed by the responsible registrant.
BORPELS also asked the California Attorney General for a formal opinion on
the matter, and the CAG agreed with the BORPELS interpretation of the act.
In fact, they went quite a bit farther, and here I quote directly from the
"Responsible Charge Criteria. As a test to evaluate whether an engineer is
in responsible charge, the following must be considered: The professional
engineer who signs engineering documents must be capable of answering
questions asked by equally qualified engineers. These questions would be
relevant to the engineering decisions made during the individual's
participation in the project, and in sufficient detail to leave little
question as to the engineer's technical knowledge of the work performed. It
is not necessary to defend decisions as in an adversary situation, but only
to demonstrate that the individual (in responsible charge) made them and
possessed sufficient knowledge of the project to make them. . . "
That last sentence is a real kicker. Therefore...all those "reviewers",
"checkers" or whatever they wish to call themselves need to either be
registered, or be working under the direct supervision of a registrant
whenever they "check" engineering work. The plan "check" comments must be
sealed when they comment upon engineering items. Not only that, the
"reviewer' has no right to make you respond on engineering issues. If
he/she/(it) thinks you're wrong, they have two choices: 1) accept it, or 2)
take you up to BORPELS on incompetence and let them decide it. Either way,
you are entitled to your permit.
All BORPELS policies have been rescinded as of late last year pending
general review and revision, but the policy on plan reviewing is unlikely
to change given that the CAG has spoken rather definitively on the issue.
BTW you can obtain the CAG opinion from the BORPELS website.
Upon request, the Board will be happy to have a chat with the offending
parties to tell them of the above.
Now, in everyday practice, I don't often insist upon sealing plan "check"
documents, but will if the "checker" is requiring a change in a design
against my better judgement as the EOR. Further, we often get some
absolutely intransigent reviewers who usually are private agencies working
for various jurisdictions. These guys get their jollies by forcing you to
respond to the same "comments" that you satisfied them upon in another
jurisdiction. Perhaps it's an easy way to look diligent with their "client"
agency. That really fries me. I make those reviewers seal their stuff, put
it away in a safe place, and threaten to bring it out in front of the Board
if they ever start whipsawing me again in another jurisdiction. Without
BORPELS, I'd be on a treadmill without end, and forced to change designs
against my better judgement.
And finally, some of the more "enterprising" independent consultants claim
they are only doing "ministerial" reviews for simple code compliance like
address and code edition right. They aren't reviewing any "engineering" and
therefore need not seal their work. There is one outfit down here in socal
that I will probably take to the Board over this. However, the CAG really
drove a stake into the heart of that one in their opinion. Basically, they
stated that if we allow experience credit for plan checking for the purpose
of registration, then it must also be engineering work and require a seal.
Interesting eh? Score one for BORPELS and CAG in my book. I don't always
agree with some of their actions either, but this one's right on.
Peter Higgins, SE