Not every engineering project in Texas requires that a Professional Engineer (P.E.) be involved with the project. The Texas Engineering Practice Act and the Rules of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers govern when a licensed P.E. must be engaged in the engineering plans and specifications and when a P.E. must supervise the engineering construction. Local codes and ordinances may also include rules on when a P.E. is necessary, so long as they are not in conflict with the Texas Engineering Practice Act or the Board Rules.
Professional Engineers licensed by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers have met stringent licensure requirements, including a minimum of 4 years of "active practice in engineering work, of a character satisfactory to the Board," which indicates that the engineer is competent to be placed in charge of engineering work requiring design and analysis.
When Is a Texas Licensed Professional Engineer Required on a Project?
The following is guidance on when a P.E. is required on a project; however, the Texas Engineering Practice Act and the Board Rules govern final interpretation of when a P.E. is required.
Public Works Projects
A licensed P.E. is not required on public works projects (roads, bridges, water ways, etc.) when:
- The public work involves electrical or mechanical engineering, and the contemplated expense for completing the project is $8,000 or less.
- The public work does not involve electrical or mechanical engineering, and the contemplated expense for completing the project is $20,000 or less.
- The project is for road maintenance or improvement undertaken by the commissioner’s court of a county. 6 Tex. Occ. Code § 1001.053.
A public works project that involves electrical or mechanical engineering costing in excess of $8,000 requires an engaged Licensed Professional Engineer for all engineering design as well as supervising of the engineering construction.
A public works project that does not involve electrical or mechanical engineering costing in excess of $20,000 requires an engaged Licensed Professional Engineers for Structural, Civil, or applicable engineering designs as well as a supervising of the engineering construction.
Commercial & Private Projects
There are separate exemptions for when a P.E. is not required for the plans, construction, or repair of certain buildings.
Generally, a licensed P.E. is not required for projects involving:
- A private dwelling.
- Apartments not exceeding eight units for each building when it is a one-story building.
- Apartments not exceeding four units for each building and having a maximum height of two stories.
- A garage or other structure pertinent to any of the above listed building structures.
- A private building to be used exclusively for: (i) farm, ranch, or agricultural purposes; or (ii) storage of raw agricultural commodities.
- Other buildings over one story, with less than 5,000 square feet floor area, and does not contain a clear span between supporting structures greater than 24 feet on the narrow side. 6 Tex. Occ. Code § 1001.056.
The rules on when a licensed P.E. must be responsible for the engineering plans for a public works or private project are complex. If you are working toward earning your P.E. license or if you already hold a P.E. license in Texas, it is important that you adhere to the rules and regulations of the Texas Engineering Practice Act and the Board Rules.
Experienced Attorneys Defending Licensed Engineers
If you have been notified of a complaint filed against you with the Board, BERTOLINO LLP can help. There are strict deadlines involved in the process used by the Board of Professional Engineers to review complaints and procrastinating before seeking legal advice never helps. We are experienced Engineer license defense attorneys and we know how to navigate the Board's complaint process.
Our firm believes that immediately consulting an experienced license defense attorney to review allegations of misconduct helps ensure the most favorable outcome in your case. Our results speak for themselves.
BERTOLINO LLP represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.