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RE: Clients and Permits

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I think you could handle this with a clear scope of work.  I have 4 clauses I always use;

1. Items excluded from this scope of services include architectural design and detailing, geotechnical testing, electrical, mechanical, plumbing design, cost estimates and obtaining any permits or other government approvals.  Additional structural design services can be preformed at a negotiated additional fee or an hourly rate.

2. Lewis Engineering will neither have control over or charge of, nor be responsible for, the construction means, methods, techniques, sequences or procedures, or for the safety precautions and programs in connection with the Work, since these are solely the Contractor’s rights and responsibilities.  Lewis Engineering will not be required to make exhaustive or continuous on-site inspections to check the quality or quantity of the work.

3. Lewis Engineering will not be responsible for the Contractor’s failure to perform the Work in accordance with the requirements of the Construction Documents, nor will they have control over or charge of and will not be responsible for acts or omissions of the Contractor, Subcontractors, or their agents or employees, or any other person or entities performing portions of the Work.

4. Construction support, if requested, is only a limited review of site observation of the Contractor's work or performance. It is further agreed that the Client will hold harmless, indemnify and defend Lewis Engineering from any claim or suit whatsoever, including, but not limited to all payments, expenses and costs involved, arising from the Contractor’s performance or the failure of the Contractor's work to conform to the design intent and the Construction Documents.  Lewis Engineering agrees to be responsible for their own negligent acts, errors, or omissions.


-----Original Message-----
From: James Cohen [mailto:jccpc(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 8:23 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Clients and Permits

A question has come up which I am having trouble answering.
If a client hires an engineer for design and construction period services and the client also hires a contractor separately for work requiring a building permit, to what extent is the engineer responsible for ensuring that the client complies with building permit submission requirements? If the engineer is made aware that the client may decide not to comply and not to submit, what are the engineer's responsibilities? How might this affect licensure? The state is Pennsylvania and the project involves a single family residence. The scope of work involves structural modifications but no other alterations. No architect or other licensed professional is involved. In the summary scope of work for professional services, preparation and submission of permit applications is not included but, on the other hand, there is no explicit statement that the engineer is not responsible. Both the contractor and owner are aware of submission requirements.
James Cohen, PE
James Cohen Consulting, PC