Issue: Federal government spends billions of dollars every year on federal construction projects both domestically and internationally. Although federal government employs many engineers and architechts to manage these projects but it does not require them to have architectural or engineering education or if they have the education to be licensed in their disciplines. Federal manager involved in the design and construction make daily decisions on financial and technical aspect of projects including life, safety and welfare of the public. However, many of them have not acquired license to practice engineering or architectural as their counterparts in private sector do.
Private sector engineers and architechts are required to be licensed in the states they are practicing. The non licensed engineers and architects are required to work directly under supervision of licensed engineers and Architects until they meet the requirements for experience, continuing education, and testing to become licensed. They are accountable and liable for any design and construction decision to protect life, safety and welfare of public. By affixing their engineering /architectural stamp on the design and construction documents, or reports containing any type of recommendation they are committing themselves to be liable for their decision or recommendation they make. State licensing boards enforce the licensing laws by sanctions, fines, revoking license, and even filing criminal charges depending on the severity of violation.
A large majority federal Government engineers and architechts are not licensed but making technical decisions that impact not only life, safety, and welfare of public and billions of tax payers’ dollars. Special concerns are managers and supervisors who make or control the technical decisions who either are not engineers/ architechts or if they had the education in those areas they have not met the state licensing requirements to be eligible becoming licensed, yet the mange other engineers and architects which some are licensed. According to any state law they cannot technically supervise other engineers and architechts and not allowed to practice as Engineer or Architect. Their uninformed decisions often results in millions of dollars in change orders during the construction by contractors who know the incompetency of some those decisions within the federal bureaucracy. One example of impact on Life, Safety and welfare of public is current situation with Gulf of Mexico oil disaster that federal agency s’ permitting and inspection process played a big role on the result.
Recommendation: Require all the federal manager and principle Engineers/Architects who mange design , construction , or technical work and supervise other engineers/architechts to be licensed in state they are practicing and seal the work of their group as engineers/architect of record representing owner. Otherwise create federal licensing requirements to mimic licensing requirement of state of California.
Intended Result: Federal government will save millions of dollars when it requires the federal engineers and architechts to be bound by licensing laws. They will not put their seal on any document until they make sure the accuracy and quality of those documents meet the licensing requirement. The result would be lower bid, less change orders, faster project delivery.