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RE: FOUNDATIONS: "Geotechnical Report Required?"

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Bill:
 
I have written on this topic at some length previously, so you might want to check the archives.  Over the past decade, the TBPE (Texas Board of Professional Engineers) has been quite consistent in the interpretation of their rules with respect to this issue.
 
From the April 1990 Issue of the Official Newsletter:
 
"... the need for site specific detailed geotechnical studies ..."
 
"Many of the projects coming to the Board attention were designed without soil test ..."
 
From the January 1992 Issue of the Official Newsletter:
 
"In response to the latest inquiries about this practice [foundation designs without soils reports], the Board concluded that the engineer is ultimately responsible for his design and the basis for it.  Board Rule #131.151 [negligence] could apply to any registrant who used his professional judgment not to have the benefit of a site specific geotechnical report prior to designing a foundation for a particular site." 
 
And finally, an enforcement action in September 1999:
 
"Mr. Martin Prager, P.E., Dallas, TX - File D-960 - It was alleged that Mr. Prager issued foundation design plans for a residence that indicated they were in conformance with Post Tension Institute standards; however, the design was not based upon a site-specific geotechnical soils report. Therefore, his designs were misleading and not in keeping with generally accepted engineering standards or procedures. The design plans bore the title block of a firm which Board records did not show Mr. Prager was associated with, suggesting that he may have entered into a business relationship contrary to Board rules. The Board accepted an Agreed Board Order signed by Mr. Prager and his attorney for a two-year probated suspension of his Texas engineer license contingent upon his agreement to pay a $5,000 administrative penalty. Mr. Prager also agreed to inform the Board of each engineering activity he performs during the probation period."
 
My advice would be to explain your position once again to the architect, and then politely decline the work if a geotechnical report will not be provided.  Your PE license is simply too valuable to risk over this issue.
 
Regards,
 
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Dallas, Texas