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Re: California contract law

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Sorry Scott, but in California, requests for AG opinions are limited to designated public officials (the Legilsators, the Governor, state officals, etc.)  Private citizens (even though they may have a vested interest) need not apply.  So if you want one, you have to convince your local Assembly member or senator, or one of the other designated officials to be your surrogate. 
Bill Cain, S.E.
Berkeley CA
-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Maxwell <smaxwell(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Sent: Tue, 1 Nov 2005 18:05:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: California contract law

Calling the Board is a good idea.  I will offer, however, that they MAY
say that you must submit an official request for an interpretation to the
attorney general's (for the state)...this was the case when I had a
question about the PE Act in Michigan...basically the idea is that the AG
is that "interpretor" for the State (unless the matter goes to court, in
which case the court becomes the "interpretor").

As to Paul's response, I took his response to mean that a non-engineer
owner/rep of the company could sign the contract but you would still need
to potentially have listed a responsible engineer (including their
license number).  I don't know if that is a correct interpretation of the
CA law or not (I might have a better opinion after I sit down to read the
law provisions...I have to do so in order to complete the take-home
law/ethics exam as part of getting my CA PE license) or if I am
interpreting Paul's interpretation of the CA law correctly.

Just my 2 cents.

Adrian, MI

On Tue, 1 Nov 2005, Yi Yang wrote:

> This is confusing then, so what you are saying is that the person who signs 
the contract does not need to be a registered engineer, therefore no need to 
list PE number on the contract?
> I guess I should call the board.
> Y i   Y a n g,   S. E.
> 707.527.0775.x162
> Santa Rosa, California
> ________________________________
> From: Paul Feather [mailto:pfeather(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 1:57 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: California contract law
> What you list is true, however there are other provisions in the code.
> Under the current regulations, a non-engineer may be an owner or part owner 
provided there IS at least one registered engineer in charge of engineering 
work.  The engineer legally must stamp and sign engineering work; however a 
contract agreement is not engineering work.  A financial officer or other legal 
representative of a firm may create legally binding contracts without being an 
engineer. As long as a duly registered engineer is listed as responsible for the 
work, it does not matter which corporate entity actually signs the contract.
> Oddly enough, there are direct provisions where a non-engineer owner cannot 
legally include their name as part of the firm name; but this does not prohibit 
the non-engineer owner from entering into legally binding agreements as the firm 
> Paul Feather PE, SE
> pfeather(--nospam--at)
>   ----- Original Message -----
>   From: S. Gordin <mailto:mailbox(--nospam--at)>
>   To: seaint(--nospam--at)
>   Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 12:52 PM
>   Subject: Re: California contract law
>   Joe,
>   This is not about a proposal, but about a contract; IMO, these two are quite 
>   The law is specific: "Before the Professional Engineer or Professional Land 
Surveyor begins work, they [PE-SG] need to sign a written contract with their 
client, or his or her representative. ..The written contract must include, but 
not be limited to, all of the . following:... 3. The name, address, and license 
or certificate number of the Professional Engineer..."
>   From the horse's mouth (California Business and Professions Code) this 
sounds like "6749. (a) A professional engineer shall use a written contract when 
contracting to provide professional engineering services to a client pursuant to 
this chapter. The written contract shall be executed by the professional 
engineer and the client, or his or her [client's, not PE's-SG] 
>   Of course, this is all legal mumbo-jumbo, and we all long for a "word and 
handshake" contracts - but that's what it is.  And in situations that it may be 
questionable, it is always prudent to follow the letter of the law (refer to 
BORPELS bulletins).
>   And I've been wrong before, so whatever was offered above is just 2 cents 
(not necessarily mine), with no other value declared, expressed, or implied. :^)
>   Steve Gordin SE
>   Irvine CA
>       ----- Original Message -----
>       From: Jnapd(--nospam--at)
>       To: seaint(--nospam--at)
>       Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 12:22 PM
>       Subject: Re: California contract law
>       Steve:
>       I disagree on this one.
>       The proposal is to inform the client which registered engineer is will 
be signing the plans and calculations.  I do not see anything in the law that 
indicates that the registered engineer has to produce or sign the proposal.
>       Joe Venuti
>       Johnson & Nielsen Associates
>       Palm Springs, CA

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