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RE: When is an Architect or Engineer Require

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Good points, all, though I have though of each of them already.

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Turk [mailto:73527.1356(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 9:54 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: When is an Architect or Engineer Require

> It appears that the first place to look would be Texas' Architectural and
> Engineering registration laws regarding the definition of "architectural
> services," and "engineering services."

>From the Texas Board of Professional Engineers website FAQ
(, a P.E. is required for
"Private dwellings that are exceeding eight units for one-story buildings or
exceeding four units for two-story buildings."

In this case we have a bunch of condo buildings, each of two stories, and
each with between eight and sixteen units. Therefore, a P.E. IS required.

> The second place to look would be the jurisdiction's building code,
> what is exempt from being performed by a registrant.  (Don't look at what
> exempt from a building permit, because all work, exempt from a permit or
> has to comply with the building code.)

In this case, the Building Code is IBC 2000, and it doesn't address the
"professional licensure" issue. However, a new roof of this type DOES
obviously require a building permit (since the City already shut 'em down
for not having one).

> The installation of tapered joists indicates to me that the building had a
> ponding problem, and a ponding problem means a potential structural
> which means that a Structural Engineer should have been involved.

Agreed, although I would refer to the first point, above, which is that
Texas state law requires the involvement of an engineer when you have more
than four units in a two-story building.

> Now, what specifications was the successful(?) bidder supposed to comply
> with?  If he/she sent a letter and said, "This is what I propose .... ,"
> without reference to the "facility consultant's" specifications, and the
> association accepted it, the specifications by the "facility consultant"
> out the window.  They are not part of any agreement now.

I agree that this is a potential problem, but as you say:

> But, these fine details are in the area that a lawyer needs to address,
< an engineer.

Which is exactly what I have told my client's rep when he has asked me about
this question. It's a contractual issue, not necessarily engineering.
However, bear in mind that what the Contractor actually proceeded to do was
violate the building code in about a dozen places. No matter what, you
cannot sign on to a contract that allows the contractor to violate the law,
knowingly or unknowingly (although there are issues of complicity--even
conspiracy--in the former case).

> The engineering questions would be:

> 1. Was the work such that an engineer needed to be involved in preparing
> plans and specifications?

I think the Texas law has already answered that for us.

> 2. Was the work such that an architect needed to be involved in preparing
> plans and specifications?

IMO, yes, because there were fire-safety issues, etc. However, in my quick
perusal of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners website I could not
find a corresponding FAQ like TBPE has, so I couldn't answer that with any
degree of confidence.

> 3. What is the state law regarding architectural and engineering services?

Already noted.

> 4. What does the jurisdiction's building code say about having the plans
> specifications prepared by a registrant?

As far as I know the IBC is silent on that score, although I could be wrong.
I am not completely conversant with the earlier chapters.

> 5. Was the contractor's proposed work compliant with the building code
> regardless of whether or not it was prepared by a registrant?

In a word: HELLNO!!!!

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