E-news for the Construction Division Winter 2014

NSPE Offers Exclusive UPS Savings


NSPE is excited to announce the UPS® Savings Program for our members! Make the most out of your membership and take advantage of some of the most competitive rates available on shipping services with UPS. Whether you need your documents or packages to arrive the next day or are looking for the most affordable shipping option, UPS understands the importance of reliability, speed, and cost. See how UPS discounts can help your bottom line:

Up to 35% off UPS Air letters including UPS Next Day Air®*

Up to 31% off UPS Air packages (1 lb.+)*

Up to 33% off UPS International imports and exports

Up to 19% off UPS Ground shipments

Savings begin at 70% on UPS Freight® shipments over 150 lbs.

You can receive these discounts even if you already have a UPS account. Plus, the more you ship, the more you can save with UPS. To enroll and start saving, visit savewithups.com/nspe.

*Discounts exclude UPS Express Critical® and UPS Next Day Air® Early A.M.®

Last Chance to Get in the PEC Sponsor Directory

Register by February 1 as a Professional Engineers in Construction Sustaining Firm and ensure your firm is listed in PEC’s online directory. When your company becomes a sustaining firm, it helps to support the efforts of PEC as we strive to promote the hard-earned professional engineer designation and enhance the image of the PE in Construction.

As a 2014 PEC Sustaining Firm, you will link more business to your future while receiving the following benefits:


  • Engraved PEC Sustaining Firm plaque to display in your office. 

  • Free company listing: You’ll be included in a searchable directory that includes a complete description of your firm’s specialties. Let owners, customers, and partners find you! All PEC Sustaining Firms are listed at: www.nspe.org/PEC/Supporters.
  • Complimentary copy of An Owner's Guide to Successful Project Management.

  • Free company advertisement: Listing in an issue of NSPE’s PE magazine (circulation is over 35,000) and in PEC Reporter, a monthly electronic newsletter sent to more than 5,500 PEC members.

  • Valuable discounts: 25% discount on ads in PE magazine, NSPE Update, NSPE web banners, and Job Board postings.

Your participation will not only help you reach potential clients and partners, it will also provide valuable support for our industry and profession. Please visit PEC Sustaining Firm website to enroll your company today! 

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Ethics Remain a Challenge for Construction Industry

Steve Storts

Professional engineers are no stranger to the pursuit of ethical prowess, but how do the ethical cards stack up on an industry-wide basis, in particular within the construction community?

Survey results released in November by the Ethics Resource Center indicate that when compared to the national averages, employees in the US nonresidential construction industry are facing more pressure to compromise standards (18%) and that they are witnessing more misconduct (53%). ERC further notes that 37% of construction employees are significantly more likely to experience retaliation by managers or coworkers after reporting issues of misconduct.

Among the more positive findings of ERC’s National Business Ethics Survey of the US Construction Industry were the reporting rates for misconduct. Nearly 75% of construction employees said they reported workplace misconduct, a number that is higher than any other group of employees in all 19 years of NBES research. As a comparison, the 2011 national average was only 65%.

Located in Arlington, Va., ERC is America’s oldest nonprofit organization, dating back to 1922. Its operation is devoted to independent research and the advancement of high ethical standards and practices in public and private institutions. More specifically, ERC researchers analyze current and emerging issues and produce new ideas and benchmarks aimed at the public trust. Sponsors of ERC’s recent research include the Construction Industry Ethics and Compliance Initiative, Reed Construction Data, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, Associated General Contractors of America, Travelers Indemnity Company, and Bechtel Corporation.

“No industry in America is immune to ethics challenges,” ERC points out. “In truth, certain industries are just inherently more at risk for facing ethical issues depending on the kind of work they do. The construction industry is one such industry, especially given the contexts in which companies conduct business, the safety risks that are inherent to their work, and the performance pressures they face.”

ERC emphasizes, however, that when companies come together to identify and address their ethics concerns, their collective efforts can and do make a difference. For example, in 2005 a group of 17 companies within a single industry agreed to use ERC’s metrics to identify their ethics/compliance challenges. Once data was collected, the group regularly met to compare results and discuss best practices. They continued to collect data within their individual organizations and benchmarked against each other. Each company learned from their peers, and together they raised the bar for their industry. Over time, the industry was able to reduce perceived misconduct by 24%.

NBES research demographics are also noteworthy because over the years, ERC has polled and reported findings on more than 23,000 employees. Participants in the recent NBES research were 18 years of age or older, currently employed at least 20 hours per week for their primary employer, and working for a nonresidential construction company based in the United States. Self-employed general contractors, project managers, and self-employed subcontractors working in an office were screened out from the survey to ensure that data were reflective of individuals in organizations that potentially could support an ethics and compliance program or individuals that would be expected to adhere to ethics and compliance programs maintained by an organization hiring or contracting with them. Data were weighted according to three factors—age, education, and sex—aligned with methods established by ERC in 2007 and per their representation in the civilian labor force defined by census reporting of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Key findings of ERC‘s 2011 survey revealed that misconduct witnessed by US workers is at historic lows, while reporting of misconduct is at near-highs. Additionally, retaliation against employee whistleblowers rose sharply, and the percentage of employees who perceived pressure to compromise standards in order to do their jobs climbed five points from 2009 to 13%. The share of companies with weak ethics cultures also climbed to near record levels. Not surprising, two influences stood out in the unusual shift in trends: the economy and the unique experiences of those actively using social networking at work.

Both past and recent NBES research continues to show that companies can react differently during economic shifts. For instance, during economic difficulties, the decisions and behaviors of their organizational leaders are perceived by employees as a heightened commitment to ethics. Consequently, employees personally adopt higher standards of conduct in the workplace. As the economy improves—and companies and employees become more optimistic about their financial futures—it seems likely that misconduct will rise and reporting will drop, mirroring the growth in pressure and retaliation that have already taken place and conforming to historic patterns.

In 2011, active social networkers reported far more negative experiences in their workplaces. ERC’s findings point out that as a group, social networkers are much more likely to experience pressure to compromise ethics standards and to experience retaliation for reporting misconduct than coworkers who are less involved with social networking. This group also shows a higher tolerance for certain activities that could be considered questionable.

Construction organizations, of course, still need to explore both the positive opportunities as well as the pitfalls of social networking within their own employee ranks. NBES social networking research focuses on US workers who participate on at least one social networking site. The objective is to capture the awareness and opinions of these employees at all levels within companies to reveal real-life views of what is happening within business cultures and the ethical risks confronted by these employees.

ERC reports that almost three out of four social networkers (72%) spend at least some time of their workday on social networking sites, and more than 25% indicate that such activity adds up to an hour or more of every workday. One-third of those employees also admit that none of that activity is work related. As cited earlier, the more active the social networker, the more likely they are to encounter ethical risks, such as witnessing misconduct, feeling pressure to compromise standards, and experiencing retaliation for reporting misconduct.

Moreover, ERC emphasizes that despite what many perceive, social networks are not just for younger employees. Although 47% of active social networkers are under the age of 30, not far behind are the 40% between the ages of 30 and 44.  [ return to top ]

Save the Date!

Join professional engineers from around the country for networking, continuing education, and a fantastic Fourth of July celebration in the nation's capital!

Conveniently located in the heart of Washington, D.C., with easy access to museums, the National Mall, and all Independence Day festivities, the NSPE 2014 Annual Meeting is one you and your family won't want to miss.                        

Watch www.nspe.org for future details.

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NSPE Releases Engineering Body of Knowledge

NSPE has released the first edition of its Engineering Body of Knowledge (PDF) that outlines the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to shape the future of engineering, across all disciplines of practice. The document is intended for a broad audience, including engineer interns, practicing engineering supervisors and mentors, employers, engineering students and faculty, licensing boards, engineering societies, accreditors, and specialty certification boards.

The EBOK is the depth and breadth of knowledge, skills, and attitudes appropriate to enter the practice as a professional engineer in responsible charge of engineering activities that potentially impact public health, safety, and welfare. It addresses three basic topics: guiding principles and trends that will shape the practice of engineering in the future; the key requisite attributes of professional engineers; and the broadly described capabilities and abilities necessary for the professional practice of engineering.

13 Key Attributes of a Successful Professional Engineer

  1. Analytical and practical;
  2. Thorough and detail-oriented in design;
  3. Creative;
  4. Communicative;
  5. Able to apply mathematics and sciences;
  6. Knowledgeable in a selected field of engineering and conversant in related technical fields;
  7. Skillful in management;
  8. Able to provide leadership;
  9. Professional and positive in attitude;
  10. Aware of societal considerations in an increasingly global context;
  11. Aware of laws, standards, and codes;
  12. Ethical in practice; and
  13. Dedicated to increasingly critical lifelong learning.

The EBOK also contains 30 capabilities that address basic or foundational knowledge, technical knowledge, and professional practice knowledge. The capabilities include mathematics, design, engineering economics, safety, sustainability and environmental impact, communication, ethical responsibility, and leadership.

NSPE is seeking feedback on the first edition of the Engineering Body of Knowledge from members in all engineering disciplines and employment sectors. Please review the EBOK document (PDF) and send your comments to NSPE General Counsel Arthur Schwartz at aschwartz@nspe.org
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NSPE Legislative Affairs News

For all the latest NSPE legislative activities visit the NSPE website.

NSPE Endorses Veterans Licensure Legislation
On December 5, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE, sent a letter of support for S.1579, the SCRA (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act) Enhancement and Improvement Act of 2013, to Senator Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Rockefeller (D-WV). S.1579 ensures that our nation's service members are recognized for their invaluable contributions to our nation and for their personal sacrifices. NSPE particularly commends S.1579 for acknowledging the need to protect the professional licenses of uniformed services members. 

NSPE strongly supports Section 104 of the legislation, which states that if a professional license issued by a state or local licensing authority to a service member would otherwise lapse during a period in which such service member is eligible for hostile fire or imminent danger special pay, the state licensing authority shall delay the expiration of the license at least 180 days. NSPE further endorses Section 104 of the legislation for applying the 180-day cushion to continuing education requirements. While NSPE believes strongly that state licensure requirements are vitally important, NSPE also believes that state licensure authorities should show a reasonable level of flexibility toward those defending our nation. You can read the press release, with a link to the letter.

NSPE Urges US Office of Personnel Management to Strengthen Qualification Standards
On October 18, NSPE sent a letter urging the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to strengthen its qualification standards for filling federal professional engineering positions. OPM recently issued a proposed draft revision to the current qualification standards that would add ABET-accredited engineering technology bachelor degrees as qualifying for professional engineering positions. While NSPE greatly values the important role of the engineering technologists as part of the engineering team, the "professional engineer" is a protected term in all 50 states. 

The existing individual occupational requirements for a professional engineering position in the federal government do not meet the requirements for PE licensure. In a letter to OPM Deputy Associate Director Kimberly Holden, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE, writes, "Licensed professional engineers have always and continue to play a critically important role in designing innovative solutions to societal challenges and in protecting the public health, safety, and welfare. At a time when the federal government is seeking to promote broad economic prosperity and to enhance our national security, all federal agencies must show leadership and establish and maintain high engineering qualifications and standards for employees in the federal workforce." NSPE strongly urged the OPM to instead revise the qualification standard for professional engineering positions to require a PE for professional engineering occupations. You can read the press release, with a link to the letter

NSPE Endorses Waterways Infrastructure Legislation
On September 25, NSPE endorsed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (H.R. 3080). Introduced on September 11 by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV), this legislation would streamline the infrastructure project delivery process and strengthen our nation's water transportation networks. 

In a letter of support to Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE, writes, "WRRDA would overhaul and dramatically improve the process for federal water resources development. The legislation sets hard deadlines on the time and cost of studies, consolidates or eliminates duplicative studies and concurrent reviews that can hold up projects for years, and streamlines environmental reviews. WRRDA fully offsets new authorizations with deauthorizations and cancels $12 billion of inactive projects that were approved prior to the 2007 Water Resources Development Act. This legislation maximizes the ability of nonfederal interests to contribute their own funds to move authorized studies and projects forward. Moreover, it substantially reduces project backlogs." You can read the press release.

NSPE and NICET Endorse Veterans' Certification Legislation
On September 12, NSPE and NICET endorsed the Troop Talent Act of 2013. Introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) in the Senate and Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in the House of Representatives, this legislation (S. 700/H.R. 1796) would facilitate improved alignment of specialty skills acquired in military service with civilian certifications or licenses required for post-service employment. 

In a letter of support to Senator Kaine and Representative Duckworth, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE, and NICET Chair Dawn Edgell, P.E., write, "The Troop Talent Act of 2013 addresses this [information] gap by improving the information available to members of the Armed Forces at all stages of training, and increasing accredited civilian credentialing agency access to military training content." You can read the press release, with a link to the actual letter [ return to top ]

New! 2014 Edition of Owner and Engineer Agreement

EJCDC® E-500 is a comprehensive standard contract for engaging an engineering firm to provide design services and related construction-phase engineering and administrative services.  E-500 is drafted with the intent that it can be used without major editing, or be readily customized while still preserving the primary elements of the document.   


Following is a brief list of issues and topics updated in E-500:


  • Clearer definitions.
  • Clarification of the engineer’s role in project planning and establishes a scope of work that does not include regulated municipal financial advisor activities.
  • Revised Notice of Acceptability of Work form.
  • Clarification of the right of Engineer to suspend work for non-payment and presence of Constituents of Concern.
  • New explicit clause that refutes any defense obligation. 
  • Because E-500 is often executed before the full extent of all project options and alternatives are known, Exhibit A now provides This reflects common industry practice, particularly on complex projects.

  • Exhibit A scope of services:
    • Includes an opportunity for re-visiting and fine-tuning the project scope and Engineer’s compensation/schedule, as the professional services transition from study/analysis to design of a specific selected option.
    • Includes language allowing the Owner and Engineer to agree to consider BIM, geotechnical baselining, innovative design and contracting, sustainability and other techniques in the project development.  
    • confirms the expectation for each phase of work that the Engineer will visit the project site, unless a visit is not applicable to the assignment. 
    • clarifies the process to be used in developing the Construction Contract Documents if the Owner does not use EJCDC® C-700 and how changes in Engineer’s obligations during the construction process from those identified previously would be addressed.   

  • Enhanced notes to user, to aid in completing the document for use on a specific project.  
Visit "Shop NSPE" to purchase and download the E-500.  [ return to top ]

201314 PEC Executive Board

For a complete list of PEC Executive Board Officers, please visit the PEC website.
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If you would like to sponsor the next edition of PEC Reporter, contact the Professional Engineers in Construction for more information.


PEC would like to thank the following 2014 Sustaining Sponsors:

Frank Gurney, Inc.
Allied Contractors, Inc.
Blitman Building Corporation
Fagen Engineering, LLC
Glynn Geotechnical Engineering
Paric Corporation
Richard W. Rauseo P.E. Consulting Engineers
Dalton Olmsted & Fuglevand, Inc.
John Puder, LLC
Brown Construction Services
Zachry Construction, Corp .
Lecon, Inc.
Calvi Electric Company
Suberroc Systems SUBSYST
Paul J Gallo Contracting, Inc.
Stansell Electric Company, Inc.
Zep Construction
Trumbull, Corp.
Century Electric, Inc.
Rohde Soyka & Andrews Consulting Engineers PC
GECO Engineering, Corp.
KSI Professional Engineers
ADCOMM Engineering Company
Frederick Derr & Company, Inc.
JEI Engineering, Inc.
McAbee Construction, Inc.
Free Contracting, Inc.
Alber & Rice, Inc.
Henderson Electric Company
Drury South, Inc.
Abriola, Co.
Stephen Estrin & Co., Inc.
George Harms Construction, Co.
ABC Paving Co.
Metromont Corporation
Tamrio, Inc.
The Rubicon Group
Doka USA, Ltd.
Rice Lake Construction Group
ABCO Construction Services
Riverso Assoc, Inc.
Broaddus & Associates
Trade Construction Company, LLC.
Lundy Construction Co., Inc.
Big M Constructors, Inc.
White Cloud Engineering and Construction Co.
J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc.
Statewide Aquastore, Inc.
Tri State Engineering, Inc.
Pembroke Construction Co., Inc.

To learn how to become a PEC Sustaining Sponsor or to contact the above listed companies, please visit the
PEC "Find a Firm" Web site.


For more information or to contact us directly, please visit www.nspe.org.
please reply to this e-mail (pec@nspe.org) with your full name and nine-digit NSPE member number
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