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Re: P.E. vs certified civil engineer

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If your institute's brochure describes someone as a "Certified or Licensed
or Registered Engineer (P.E.)", and if the particular engineer so described
is not licensed in a state where you distribute the brochure, you are likely
to be in violation of local regulations.  Quoting as an example from the
State of California's Professional Engineer's Act (Business and Professions
Code sections 6700-6799):

"[Section] 6732. Use of seal, stamp or title by unregistered person.  It is
unlawful for anyone other than a professional engineer registered licensed
under this chapter to ... in any manner, use the title "professional
engineer," "licensed engineer," "registered engineer," or "consulting
engineer," or any of the following branch titles: "agricultural engineer,"
"chemical engineer," "civil engineer," "control system engineer,"
"electrical engineer," "fire protection engineer," "industrial engineer,"
"manufacturing engineer," "mechanical engineer," "metallurgical engineer,"
"nuclear engineer," "petroleum engineer," or "traffic engineer," or any
combination of such ... words and phrases or abbreviations thereof unless
licensed under this chapter."

We do not have nationwide licensing in the U.S., and rules vary from state
to state, but I believe all of them have some similar provision in their
applicable regulations, as does the E.U. and its member nations with respect
to the title, "Certified Engineer" or "C.Eng." (which is, I believe,
intended to replace the term, "Chartered Engineer" in Britain as the Euro is
intended to replace the Pound).

Enforcement will vary widely, and so long as you don't actually provide or
offer to provide engineering services in an area where you are not licensed
to do so you probably wouldn't get into much hot water, but the our
profession is protective of its turf with reason.  There are unlicensed
practitioners out there putting the public at risk.  After the 1994
Northridge earthquake I helped a client clean up a legal mess caused by an
inappropriate report filed by the "structural engineer" whom his insurance
company had hired to evaluate damage to his very expensive home.  The guy
turned out to be licensed as a mechanical engineer in Massachusetts, but to
have no relevant training or experience in structural design and to be
entirely unlicensed in California.

Assuming that your brochure is intended in part as a marketing piece and
that you want to give people a good impression, I would strongly recommend
that you NOT include anything that a reader might interpret as implying an
offer of service by a "P.E." who was not locally licensed.  Personally, I
would have a much more positive impression of a foreign institute's brochure
if I saw that they had been careful not to do this, e.g., by footnotes and
fine print indicating exactly where the various named professionals were
licensed to practice.

Drew A. Norman, S.E.
Pasadena, California

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jelena Bleiziffer" <jelena(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001 12:35 AM
Subject: Re: P.E. vs certified civil engineer

> The brochure I am supposed to do is about the Institute I work at. I
> to list the names of all employees on one page and to distinct if some of
> them are professional engineers (in Croatia). Here also, you need to do an
> exam and the state has to register you in order to be a P.E. So, the
> procedure is similar but the term seems to be the problem. As I mentioned,
> need this term to be understandable in many countries and that is why I
> tried to use something "descriptive". To my knowledge, P.E. in England is
> referred to as Chartered Engineer, so it is quite difficult to find a word
> that is common and perfectly understandable in the whole world.  I think
> the end I will put "Certified or Licensed or Registered Engineer (P.E.).
> Thank you all for your answers.
> Jelena Bleiziffer
> Cro. Inst. for Bridge and Struc. Eng.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Paul Ransom <ad026(--nospam--at)>
> To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
> Sent: Saturday, March 24, 2001 10:57 PM
> Subject: Re: P.E. vs certified civil engineer
> > > From: "Jelena Bleiziffer" <jelena(--nospam--at)>
> >
> > > The thing is, I am writing a brochure where I need to state that
> > > colleagues are P.E.'s. But, the brochure should be in English but it
> not
> > > intended for US only, but also for England, Canada, Germany, Italy
> > > Therefore, what I am actually asking is whether a term Certified Civil
> > > Engineer or P.E. would be understandable to everyone or if someone
> > > laugh me out loud.
> >
> > Depending on the nature of the brochure you may want to take different
> > approaches. Do not attmept to use a one size for all
> > licensure/registration TITLE.
> >
> > To a very informed consumer qualify the license and jurisdiction;
> > John Doe, C.Eng/M.I.C.E.(UK), P.E.(Texas, USA), P.Eng.(Ontario, Canada)
> >
> > For a general brochure, simply state that, "our engineering staff
> > comprises individuals who may legally practice the engineering
> > profession in the following jurisdictions: UK; Texas, Oklahoma, New
> > York, USA; Ontario, Manitoba, Canada; ..." or possibly "most states and
> > provinces in the USA and Canada"
> >
> > Engineers can get into trouble over their promotional literature, in
> > some jurisdictions, if it is seen to be misrepresentational.
> >
> > --
> > Paul Ransom, P. Eng.
> > Civil/Structural/Project/International
> > Burlington, Ontario, Canada
> > <mailto:ad026(--nospam--at)> <>
> >
> >