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RE: PRACTICE: Direct Supervision

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Title: PRACTICE: Direct Supervision
I think the change to the Texas regulations is a good change.  Several states have wording similar to the following: "shall be physically present or, through the use of communication devices, be available in a reasonable length of time" (e.g., California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana).  Washington states that communications can include "electronic mail, facsimiles, telecommunications, or other current technology". Regardless, the PE must be in responsible charge and make key decisions. 
Constant personal presence does not guarantee that the sealing engineer won't "over delegate" the work, and using modern means of communication between offices does not mean that it is impossible to exert responsible charge.  It is really up to the sealing engineer to establish the appropriate methods of communication that will enable them to have "responsible charge".

William C. Sherman, PE
(Bill Sherman)
CDM, Denver, CO
Phone: 303-298-1311
Fax: 303-293-8236
email: shermanwc(--nospam--at)


From: Polhemus, Bill [mailto:BPolhemus(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 8:30 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: PRACTICE: Direct Supervision

Beginning this year, the Texas Board of Professional Engineers has a new definition of "direct supervision" (what we old-timers used to know as "responsible charge.")

I thought I'd put it out here for discussion. I'd be interested to know what other states' rules are in this regard.

"Direct supervision - The control over and detailed professional knowledge of the work prepared under the engineer's supervision. The degree of control should be such that the engineer personally makes engineering decisions or personally reviews and approves proposed decisions prior to their implementation. The engineer must have control over the decisions either through physical presence or the use of communications devices."

-- Texas Engineering Practice Act, Rules Eff. 01/01/06, §131.81 (10) (Emphasis NOT in original)

William L. Polhemus, Jr. P.E.
Senior Associate
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
Engineers I Architects I Material Scientists
10235 West Little York, Suite 245
Houston, Texas 77040
P: 832-467-2177 F: 832-467-2178

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