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RE: SE Test

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Bill & Dennis:

You hit on an interesting scenario.  What should a licensing board do with
an individual that is not licensed in that state and thus not entitled to
a particular title due to the way the PE or SE act is written, but is
licensed in another state permitting him/her to that title?

Let's start with a rather basic example.  I am licensed in Michigan and
Washington as a PE and in Illinois as a SE.  Let's say I attend a
conference somewhere in California.  I give my card to someone while
there, which in additional to my "title" of structural engineer on it, has
the designations of PE and SE after my name.  Can/should the CA board do
anything to me?  After I don't have EITHER a PE nor SE license in CA.  My
card clearly indicates that my address in Michigan and does not imply in
anyway that I currently do work in CA.  But could someone make the
assume/implication that since I gave someone a card in CA that maybe, just
maybe, I do work there?  Assume that the giving of the CA is not in
response to someone who says "hey, I got a project here in CA that I need
someone to work on", but rather as a networking tool.

The next "more" complex example is along the line with the one that Bill
talked about.  Let's say that I now obtain my SE license in WA (currently
working on...took the Struct III two weeks ago) and my PE license in CA
(planning on taking the other necessary exams in the Spring).  So, I am
"now" licensed to do structural work in CA, with the exception of
essential facilities (hospitals), schools, and buildings over a certain
height in certain locations.  Let's say that I mainly do work here in MI
and maybe IL, but end up with a client that wants me to design the
structural system for an office building in CA.  My office is here, with
none in CA.  I accept the job.  In doing so, I have never had an office in
CA nor have I advertised my services (either legally as PE or illegally as
an SE/structural engineer) in CA.  But, my title block on my drawings says
"Scott E. Maxwell, P.E., S.E., Structural Engineer") along with my
Michigan address.  Should the CA board toast me?  After all, I am not
advertising as a structural engineer in CA.  I am legally permitted to
call myself a structural engineer in MI (and IL and WA in this example),
my home state (as Michigan only places restrictions on the use of
"Professional Engineer").

In both examples, I would argue that the CA board would be out of bounds
to take action.  Now, it is an entirely different matter if I actively
advertised myself as a structural engineer in CA but did not have a CA SE
license.  But, in both examples, I would argue that I would not be doing
so and would be following the intent of the law if not the law itself.

Regardless, it presents some interesting things to think about.  It also
highlights some of the potential "problems" with title acts and even to
some degree the practice acts (as practice acts have some title act like
parts that restriction which titles can be used only when you have your
practice act PE/SE license).

Personally, I would likely change my title block to try to comply with the
technical wording of the CA law if it is a relatively simple time...which
is it in my current state.  I am not incoporated nor do I have a company
name.  I just use my name as an individual consulting engineer.  Thus, it
no problem for me to change a title block to something like "Scott E.
Maxwell, P.E., Professional Engineer" (or Civil Engineer) for the second
example.  But, it becomes a little harder and "stupid" for me to change
the title block to try to comply with the technical wording is I have
incoporated and have some sort of company like "Maxwell Structural
Engineers, Inc." (again with an address in MI and no advertising in CA in
the example).  I also know that when I get me PE license in CA, if I
decided to pursue work in CA by advertising, etc. then I would have a
second set of cards that would not use the title "structural engineer" on
them and would likely only have the P.E. designation for use when I "go
after" CA work.

Ultimately, the board action should be based upon what the apparent intent
of the individual is.  If the apparent intent it to falsely imply or more
directly say that they are something they are not in the process of
actively pursuing work in the board's jurisdiction...then nail 'em to the
wall.  Under such thinking, then the WA SE that was licensed only as a PE
in CA in Bill's message would be fine (unless he actively pursued the work
directly implying in some way that he did work in CA as a structural
engineer).  The arch companies would not be OK, though.  From Bill's
description they don't have an legal (i.e. licensed) engineer on staff.
Thus, they are falsely implying that they provide services that they
themselves don't really provide (but may provide by way of sub consultant
engineering companies...or even do provide those services with a licensed
arch sealing the drawings [presumably as legally permitted by the
board...dunno know if such is legal or not]).

Basically, I would likely view any action against the PE in Bill's case by
the CA board just as wrong as if they take action against Dennis for
having his name listed under "structural engineers" in the yellow pages.
In both cases, the individual is just try to conduct their business and
practice within the intent of the law, but "outside" forces create
problems.  In Dennis' case, the phone company is messing up and would
otherwise force Dennis to pay more to fix their error.  In the example
cited by Bill, the guy is doing work that he appears to be legally
permitted to do with "marketing" materials (I use that term loosely) on
his drawings that give the basic company contact information for his
company that resides in another state where he can use that title legally.

But, interesting item to think about...


Ypsilanti, MI

On Sat, 8 Nov 2003, Bill Allen wrote:

> Dennis -
> Not to worry, my bubble burst a long time ago :o).
> The point I was making about AZ is that they are more restrictive of who
> can do what. Civils do civil engineering, Structurals do structural
> engineering and Architects do architecture. What a concept!
> With regards to using the AZ designation of "structural engineer" and
> applying to a CA project, I've seen this before. I once saw drawings
> prepared by a person licensed as a WA SE and as a CA PE. He prepared
> plans for a project in CA and, in the title block, called himself "ABC
> Consulting Structural Engineers, Inc., Joe Blow, Structural Engineer" or
> something to that effect. I reported this to BORPELS and they told me
> that if he's recognized in his home state as a Structural Engineer then
> he can call himself a structural engineer here in CA. Throw that in with
> the many architectural firms I have run across who use the phrase "ABC
> Architects and Engineers", "ABC A&E", "ABC, Inc. Architecture and
> Engineering", ad nausea even when they don't have a PE on their staff
> and I just concluded that we get what we deserve.
> Regards,
> T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)
> V/F (949) 248-8588
> San Juan Capistrano, CA
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dennis Wish [mailto:dennis.wish(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 11:47 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: RE: SE Test
> Bill,
> I don't want to bust your bubble,
> <snip>
> Dennis
> Civil/Structural

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