FORENSIC ENGINEERS NEED TO BE PEs
By John D. Gaskell, Retired Consulting Engineer
Author of “The Complete Guide to FORENSIC ENGINEERING”
To be credible as an expert witness, Forensic Engineers need to be PEs (registered professional engineers) in the states in which they practice.
All states require licensure to practice engineering. For example, Rhode Island’s law states the following:
- 5-8-1 Registration required for practice of engineering. – In order to safeguard life, health, and property, and to promote the public welfare, the practice of engineering in this state is declared to be subject to regulation in the public interest. It is unlawful for any person to practice, or to offer to practice, engineering in this state, as defined in the provisions of this chapter, or to use in connection with his or her name or otherwise assume, or advertise any title or description tending to convey the impression that he or she is an engineer unless that person has been registered or exempted under the provisions of this chapter. The right to engage in the practice of engineering is deemed a personal right, based on the qualifications of the individual as evidenced by his or her certificate of registration, which is not transferable.
Since Forensic Engineers need to be Pes, you need to investigate the requirements of each state in which you plan to do business. Just because you are registered in one state, don’t assume that you will be able to get registered in all states.
Most states offer “reciprocity,” acceptance of another state’s PEs, without requiring an additional examination. As an example, Rhode Island’s law states the following:
- 5-8-11 General requirements for registration or certification.
(1) As a professional engineer:
(i) Registration by endorsement. (A) A person holding a current certificate of registration to engage in the practice of engineering, on the basis of comparable written examinations, issued to him or her by either a proper authority of a state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or of any foreign country, and whose qualifications meets the requirements of this chapter, based on verified evidence may, upon application, be registered without further examination.
Be sure that you research the most current version of the laws, usually available on-line and verify that your state require that Forensic Engineers need to be PEs
Most states require that each entity that practices or offers to practice engineering must hold a current Certificate of Authorization (COA). Make sure that your firm (whether sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or LLC) has a current COA. For instance, Rhode Island’s law states the following:
- 5-8-24 Sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, corporate and limited liability company. – (a) The practice or offer to practice engineering as defined by this chapter by a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, corporation or a limited liability company subsequently referred to as the “firm,” through individuals is permitted; provided, that the individuals: (1) are in direct control of the practice; (2) exercise personal supervision of all personnel who act in behalf of the firm in professional and technical matters; and (3) are registered under the provisions of this chapter; and provided, that the firm has been issued a certificate of authorization by the board of engineers.
(b)(1) Within one year after enactment of this chapter, every firm must obtain a certificate of authorization from the board and those individuals in direct control of the practice and who exercise direct supervision of all personnel who act in behalf of the firm in professional and technical matters must be registered with the board. The certificate of authorization shall be issued by the board upon satisfaction of the provisions of this chapter and the payment of a fee not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150). This fee is waived if the firm consists of only one person who is the person in responsible charge.
(2) Every firm desiring a certificate of authorization must file with the board an application for a certificate of authorization on a form to be provided by the board. A separate form provided by the board shall be filed with each renewal of the certificate of authorization and within thirty (30) days of the time any information previously filed with the board has changed, is no longer true or valid, or has been revised for any reason. If, in its judgment, the information contained on the application and renewal form is satisfactory and complete, the board will issue a certificate of authorization for the firm to practice engineering in this state.
(3) No firm that has been granted a certificate of authorization by the board shall be relieved of responsibility for modification or derivation of the certificate, unless the board has issued for the applicant a certificate of authorization or a letter indicating the eligibility of the applicant to receive the certificate. The firm applying shall supply the certificate or letter from the board with its application for incorporation, organization or registration as a foreign corporation.
Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If what is involved interests you, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer. And remember, to be credible as an expert witness, Forensic Engineers need to be PEs (registered professional engineers) in the states in which they practice.
Get Jack’s new book: The “Complete Guide” to FORENSIC ENGINEERING to learn the details. Also, the largest chapter in his book: The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING covers the “highlights” of Forensic Engineering. Visit TheEngineersResource.com to find out more.
Learn how to be a forensic engineer. Learn how to be a forensic expert witness. How to be an engineering expert witness. How to obtain training as a forensic engineer. How to obtain training as an engineering expert witness.