NSPE's Gateway to Private Practice Summer 2011 

Study and Report Risk Management

In providing services such as studies of existing facilities, project proposal evaluations or site assessments, a limitation of liability provision may be advisable. However, with or without a limitation of risk commensurate with the cost of the service being provided, careful language in the scope of services and in any study or report is vital. While we do not have a large database of claims from clients or third parties caused by detrimental reliance on environmental site assessment services, project feasibility studies or pre-purchase evaluations, it is clear that if design professionals do not communicate with their clients, unrealistic expectations or improper use of the information generated by the design professional may result in claims.

When providing studies and reports, it would therefore seem critical that the design professional’s agreement and services accomplish the following:

  • The scope of services and the limitation of use of the instruments of that service are clearly identified in the agreement and the report.
  • The client and anyone referring to the report are made aware that unless a service is expressly included in the scope, it was not performed, and therefore there should be no assumptions based on services that were not provided.
  • The report is identified as a statement of professional opinion based on the information available during the assessment or evaluation and formed by the judgment of the design professional from the knowledge of available facts and other identified information.
  • The services and the report are acknowledged as only reflecting conditions at a specific point in time that is clearly identified in the report, and the understanding that conditions can change is communicated.
  • Any third party referring to the report is made aware that it can only rely on the information in the report in the same way that the client has the ability to rely on the opinion of the design professional.
  • There is a clear disclaimer of any perceived warranties or guarantees and a statement that the report was prepared subject to the standard of care applicable to such professional services.

© 2011, Victor O. Schinnerer & Co. Inc. Statements concerning legal matters should be understood to be general observations based solely on our experience as risk consultants and may not be relied upon as legal advice, which we are not authorized to provide. All such matters should be reviewed with a qualified advisor. Victor O. Schinnerer & Company Inc. is managing underwriter for the CNA/Schinnerer Professional Liability Insurance Program, commended by NSPE/PEPP since 1957.


Field Guide for Inspection of Sewerage and Drainage Construction

An inspector plays a crucial role in any construction project. The job demands knowledge, awareness, keen observation skills, and the ability to deal with contractors and project owners. A Field Guide For Inspection of Sewerage and Drainage Construction, published by the Professional Engineers in Construction, provides the inspector the necessary knowledge to inspect sewerage and drainage construction projects.

The guide, specifically written to advance the mission of high-quality construction standards, provides a series of proven policies, established procedures and techniques, and helpful resources such as “Inspection Checklists” that are applicable to construction projects on any size or scale.

This guide is available as a download to all NSPE Members. Nonmembers can purchase the guide for $19.95.

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Get a Head Start on Your Fall Education

The NSPE Fall Webinar Series in taking shape. Already available for purchase are the Ethics Forum Webinars. 

Member price per Webinar is $99; the series of three is $165.
Nonmember price per Webinar is $99; the series of three is $265.

September 28, 2011 
Conflicts of Interest: Will Proposed Federal Rules Impact Engineering Practice? 

Newly proposed federal organizational conflict of interest rules could have a serious effect on the design and construction industry. The proposed rules make substantial changes to existing organizational conflict of interest requirements for engineering and construction firms doing business with the federal government.

This Webinar will examine these proposed requirements and related issues, and a panel of experts will examine a series of case studies relating to conflicts of interest, disclosure requirements, professional objectivity and bias, and other issues. 1 PDH

October 19, 2011
Confronting an Ethics Disaster: What Can Professional Engineers Do? 

What can you and your company or organization do when faced with an ethics catastrophe? How do you investigate the problem, prepare a response, manage and limit the harm, avoid similar problems in the future, and stabilize your company or organization in order to move forward? 

This Webinar will examine all of these and other issues, and a panel of experts will discuss case studies relating to objectivity and truthfulness, obligation to act as a faithful agent and trustee, avoidance of deceptive acts, and other issues. 1 PDH

November 9, 2011
Whistleblowing: What Are the PE’s Obligations to Report Misconduct? 

What should a professional engineer do when confronted with organizational wrongdoing? What are the appropriate steps to take and stages to consider when wrestling with your obligation of loyalty to your employer/client and your professional obligation to the public? 

This Webinar will examine all of these and other issues, and a panel of experts will discuss a series of case studies relating to knowledge of violations, duty to report and cooperate with the appropriate authorities, obligation to act as a faithful agent and trustee, public health and safety, and other issues. 1 PDH

Other Webinars planned for the fall include: 

·         Harnessing the Power of Change;
·         How to Get Your First Job;
·         How to Get Your Next Job;
·         Career Transitions; and
·         Project Management, Design, Construction Management and Ethics for Professionals.

Register today!

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Happenings on the Hill

The Coalition for the Federal Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services held its semi-annual Federal Architecture and Engineering Forum, where speakers engaged an audience of federal contracting specialists and private-sector design professionals in a lively discussion of procurement issues. Speakers included Bret Manley, legislative director for House Transportation and Infrastructure Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA-19); and Small Business Administration Chief Counsel for Advocacy Winslow Sargeant, who holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering.

NSPE is a founding member of COFPAES, an organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the Brooks Act (PL 92-582) and the use of qualifications-based selection.

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PEPP Awards Prestigious Awards at Annual Meeting

PEPP Award

The purpose of the PEPP Award is to honor an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the role of private practice serving in the public interest. 

The 2011 recipient is Connie J. Eggleston. Eggleston is vice president, AEC Design Liability, Global Specialty Lines, for Chicago-based CNA. She has held this position since January 1999. In this position, Ms. Eggleston is responsible for underwriting, product development, and marketing for CNA’s professional liability and property & casualty program for architects, engineers, contractors, landscapers and land surveyors, environmental scientists, and construction industry related consultants. The programs are underwritten and distributed through Victor O. Schinnerer & Co. Inc.

Prior to joining CNA, Ms. Eggleston was a senior casualty underwriter with the Hartford Insurance Group from 1986 to 1992. Ms. Eggleston received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University in Hayward.

PEPP Professional Development Award
Since 1960, NSPE has used this award to recognize engineering employers who have made significant contributions to the advancement and improvement of engineering practices.

This year’s recipient is Oates Associates Inc, located in Collinsville, IL. Oates Associates is a multidisciplined design firm that has historically been a leader in promoting professional development and encouraging the advancement of the engineering profession. Oates realizes the value of the commitment to promoting the engineering profession, not only to the employee and the company, but also to the engineering profession as a whole.

Oates provides a wide range of engineering and architectural services to communities, corporations, institutions, and public agencies throughout the Midwest. Services include engineering and architectural design, transportation planning, traffic engineering, highway and street design, stormwater management, site design, structural engineering, urban planning, and landscape architecture. 

PEPP Merit Award
This Award is presented to members who have made significant contributions to the private practice.  

Thomas M. Maheady, P.E., F.NSPE, is Corporate Vice-President and Market Sector Leader for Energy and Industrial market for Borton-Lawson. Working in the engineering industry since 1979, Maheady has successfully designed and supervised hundreds of projects, ranging in scope from concise technical studies to major construction projects with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars. He has worked in all roles from lead engineer to project manager, becoming well versed with industrial and private practice environments, mechanical systems, energy conservation, energy audits, cooling and heating systems, and HVAC units. Maheady is designated as a Certified Energy Manager issued by the Association of Energy Engineers. Maheady has served as a member of the PEPP-Professional Liability Committee since 1999 and has been the chair since 2006.

L. Daniel Tanksley, JD, P.E., F.NSPE, a licensed attorney and professional engineer, is a member and Vice Chairman of the Halff Associates Inc. Board of Directors and serves as the corporation’s General Counsel. Halff Associates is a Texas-based highly diversified consulting firm consisting of approximately 500 engineers, architects, surveyors, scientists, and support personnel. Dan’s engineering expertise includes both civil and environmental engineering design services. Tanksley’s legal responsibilities include management of all corporate legal activities, contract development and negotiations, risk management, and personnel training. Tanksley is an active NSPE and TSPE member and serves on the NSPE Legislative and Governmental Affairs Committee and as chair of the TSPE L&GA Committee. He is also affiliated with the Texas Water Conservation Association Policy and Federal Affairs Committees, and several other professional and civic organizations.

PEPP Outstanding Service Award

William Clarke, P.E., F.NSPE

Carlos Gittens, P.E.

Randolph Petersen, P.E., F.NSPE


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To become a PEPP Sustaining Firm visit our Website for the contribution form.

PEPP 2010-11
Executive Board

Andrea Martinez-Graves
Tampa, FL

Dawn Edgell
Chair Elect
Aurora, IL

Mark Davy
Past Chair
La Crosse, WI

Eric West
Midland, TX

Aaron Thrush
Maumee, OH

Charlotte Anne Maddox
Vice Chair
Tampa, FL

Chris Richard
Vice Chair
Lafayette, LA

Karen Stelling
Vice Chair
Kansas City, MO



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