Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: California contract law

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

It is a fairly general requirement from state to state that companies
offering professional services (i.e. "sealing drawings") have to have some
portion of the ownership be licensed.  The number/percentage of owners
that must be licensed and in what area (i.e. engineering, architecture,
etc) vary from state to state.  You can get some "guidance" on this issue
from NCEES' website from results of a survey that was "put" to the various
state boards, but ultimately you will have to go read each state's PE
act/laws.  As some examples, Michigan requires 2/3 of the "principals" to
be licensed (and "pricipals" are defined as owners of the company or
officers of the company [who may or may not be an owner])...New York
supposedly EVERY owners must be licensed.  Many states require that there
be at least one licensed (engineer) as an owner.

I ran into the "call the AG for the official intrepretation" response when
trying to figure out an issue with regards to ownership requirements in
Michigan.  I work for a SIP manufacturer and timber framing.  The big
reason why I was hired was to do the engineering for shop drawings and
then seal those shop drawings when such was required by the EOR/AOR or the
local juridiction.  I was aware of the ownership requirement in Michigan,
which by default would mean that my company could not offer professional
services (at the time, the company was individually held by a non-licensed
individual and now is part of a publicly held company).  There is an
exception in the Michigan PE Act for professional engineering done on a
company's "manufacturer product".  I knew this was typically aimed for
engineers working at places like Ford Motor, etc, but in theory it could
apply to us.  So, I call to try and find out.  The end result was that I
was told to contact the Michigan AG if I wanted an "official"
interpretation.  The end result was that I did not do that as we decided
that we would continue to hire consultants for such work and at some point
in the future I may set myself up as an "outside consultant" for such
work.  In the mean time, I continue to do part-time work for them by doing
preliminary analysis and also providing techinical information for
engineers who do the design for us where the shops must be sealed.


Adrian, MI

On Wed, 2 Nov 2005, Yi Yang wrote:

> Well I got a call back from the board, they told me it would be acceptable for a non-PE company officer to sign the contract, if the name and number of a PE-in-charge is included somewhere near the signature. Depend on the size of the company and its operation, the PE-in-charge could always be the other PE-principal (I guess by law you have to have a PE as part owner).
> Y i   Y a n g,   S. E.
> 707.527.0775.x162
> Santa Rosa, California
> ________________________________
> From: S. Gordin [mailto:mailbox(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2005 10:14 AM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: California contract law
> Paul,
> You may be absolutely right (like you have been so many times in the past).
> What makes me think the way I do is that the law actually reads "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 representative..."   IMO this means not the PE's representative, not theirs (PE's and the client's), but the client's representative.
> This may be jut another example of the vague language (look at our latest election brochure!).  Lets wait for the Board's opinion.
> Steve Gordin SE
> Irvine CA
> 	----- Original Message -----
> 	From: Paul Feather <mailto:pfeather(--nospam--at)>
> 	To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> 	Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2005 8:12 AM
> 	Subject: Re: California contract law
> 	Steve,
> 	The rest of the sentence reads "by the professional engineer and the client, or his or her representative."
> 	The rules use the title professional engineer throughout; however there are entire sections describing ownership and use of corporations.  Under law, a corporation is a separate entity that enters agreements and conducts business just like a pseudo-person.
> 	I don't think it is as clear cut without interpretation as you do.
> 	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 3:48 PM
> 		Subject: Re: California contract law
> 		Paul,
> 		Here is the exact language of the law: "written contract shall be executed by the professional engineer."
> 		Not whole lot of interpretation space there...
> 		Steve Gordin SE
> 		Irvine CA
> 			----- Original Message -----
> 			From: Paul Feather <mailto:pfeather(--nospam--at)>
> 			To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> 			Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 3:36 PM
> 			Subject: Re: California contract law
> 			Steve,
> 			I believe the registered individual need only be listed, not physically signing the document.
> 			But you are 100% correct, when in doubt a call to BORPELS is a really good idea.
> 				Paul,
> 				Hard to disagree - there are many other provisions of the law.  You are right again, a non-PE can be an owner. However, the way I read the law provision quoted earlier, the non-PE owner can sign the contract only together with the PE.

******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
*   Read list FAQ at:
*   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers 
*   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To 
*   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
*   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at) Remember, any email you 
*   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted 
*   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web 
*   site at: 
******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********