NSPE's Gateway to Private Practice Winter 2014 

NSPE Brings Exclusive UPS Savings to its Membership


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.® 

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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Emergency Response and Recovery
Victor O. Schinnerer & Co. Inc.

Last month, we discussed the importance of emergency planning. In this issue, we discuss emergency response and recovery actions that need to be planned and implemented.

Administration and Logistics

It is important for a firm to maintain at all times complete and accurate records and current plans to ensure a more efficient emergency response and recovery. Certain records may also be required by regulation or a firm’s insurance carriers, and may prove to be invaluable in the case of legal action after an incident. Administrative actions that should be performed prior to an emergency include:

  • Establishing and updating a written emergency management plan;
  • Maintaining training records;
  • Maintaining all written internal and external communication about the response procedures;
  • Documenting drills and exercises and their critiques; and
  • Involving community emergency response organizations in planning activities. 

Administrative actions that will need to be performed during and after an emergency include:

  • Maintaining telephone logs;
  • Keeping a detailed record of events;
  • Maintaining a record of injuries and follow-up actions;
  • Accounting for personnel;
  • Coordinating notification of family members;
  • Issuing press releases;
  • Managing finances;
  • Coordinating personnel services; and
  • Documenting incident investigations and recovery operations.

Direction and Control

Someone must be in charge in an emergency. The system for managing resources, analyzing information, and making decisions is called direction and control. Procedures must be established to have a designated person or group assume command and assess the situation. The control may need to extend to decisions ranging from activating emergency resources to ordering an evacuation. Part of the direction and control effort is notification. A firm should establish procedures for employees to report an internal emergency so that immediate action can be taken. A leader must be present to oversee all incident response activities and declare that the incident is “over.”

Life Safety

Protecting the health and safety of everyone in the firm is the first priority during an emergency. Evacuation planning is essential.

For direction and control purposes, a firm should establish a clear chain of command. Identify personnel with the authority to order an evacuation and designate personnel to assist others during an evacuation. Evacuation procedures should be specifically established and include a system for accounting for personnel. Evacuation situations could result from a highly localized problem to a community-wide evacuation. Consider the following for an evacuation:

  • What are the employees’ transportation needs during an evacuation?
  • How would access to important personal information about employees (i.e., home phone, next-of-kin, medical) occur in an emergency?
  • How can a firm obtain an accurate account of personnel after an evacuation?

Confusion can lead to unnecessary and dangerous search and rescue operations. A method for accounting for non-employees, such as suppliers and clients, should also be established. In some instances, evacuations can be temporary, but a firm must establish procedures for prolonged evacuation in case the incident expands. This may consist of sending employees home by normal means or providing them with transportation to an off-site location.

Some facilities develop emergency escape procedures and routes, procedures for employees responsible for critical operations during an evacuation, and medical duties for assigned employees.

Communication Systems

A firm’s emergency plan needs to address both temporary and systemic communication deficiencies. To survive during an emergency and to keep in contact with clients and staff, communication systems must be identified that can work during an emergency and provide the bridge to the restoration of firm activities.

Resuming operations immediately after an emergency requires resources and capabilities to seamlessly replace a damaged communication system. Identifying critical services and operations and determining the need for backup systems, operations, and equipment are vital to the continued functioning of the firm. 

Property and Records Protection

Protecting facilities, equipment, and vital records is essential to restoring operations once an emergency has occurred. While the value of preserving on-site operations is evident, few firms understand the importance of establishing an alternative work site—a “hot” site—where backup equipment, software, communication systems, and records are ready for use.

Even the smallest firm should have a system to use an alternative site. Temporary relocation or reciprocity agreements with other firms can provide a temporary refuge for a firm’s staff and operations. Mutual aid agreements, perhaps coordinated through professional societies or trade associations, are one way to allow a firm displaced by a localized emergency to carry on its practice.

With any firm, the most critical items are business records. Earnest efforts should be made to prevent the loss of business records. Firms need to study alternatives that could be pursued before a disaster to avoid a total loss, such as keeping duplicate records at a different site. Storing copies of critical information such as accounts receivable, client information, or outstanding billings in a safe and secure place is essential. It is essential for the quick restoration of operations that firms keep daily backups of records and work in progress—and keep backup equipment necessary to continue basic operations—at a location other than the work site.

Recovery and Restoration

Business resumption goes right to a firm’s bottom line. Keeping people employed and the firm running is essential to meeting contractual commitments and keeping clients satisfied. Engineering firms are basically fragile business entities—the interruption of services, the loss of facilities, or the absence of professional and technical staff can challenge the viability of a firm.

Planning considerations include making contractual arrangements with vendors for such post-emergency services as records preservation, equipment repair or replacement, and immediate communication systems restoration. Determine critical operations and make plans for bringing those systems back online.

In some recovery situations, there may be an issue of continuity of management. It is prudent to assume that not every key person will be readily available or physically at the facility or replacement site after an emergency. Procedures should be established that allow recovery decisions to be made without undue delay. Firms that practice in a corporate form will need to consult legal counsel regarding laws and corporate bylaws governing continuity of management.

Employee support is essential during a recovery period. Since employees are a firm’s most valuable assets and will rely on management for support after an emergency, consider the range of services that the firm could provide, or arrange to allow employees to regain productivity while preserving family relations.

Finally, during a recovery period it is essential to meet with a firm’s insurance carrier to discuss property and business resumption policies.

© 2013, 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 & Co. Inc. is managing underwriter for the Schinnerer and CNA Professional Liability Insurance Program, commended by NSPE/PEPP since 1957. 

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The 2014 Update for a Popular Contract Document

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 adviser activities.
  • Clarification of the right of engineer to suspend work for nonpayment 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 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 revised E-500 document! [ return to top ]

NSPE Legislative Affairs News

For all the latest NSPE legislative activities visit the NSPE Web site.

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 U.S. Office of Personnel Management to Strengthen Qualification Standards
On October 18, NSPE sent a letter urging the U.S. 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 11th 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 ]

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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Take the 2014 Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest Challenge!
All current NSPE individual members through their NSPE state societies, and NSPE chapters (including student chapters) are invited to participate in the 2014 NSPE Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest. Here's your opportunity to match your wits with experienced PEs and engineering students throughout the country!

This year, contestants are encouraged to analyze the facts of a real situation regarding the ethics of an engineer who is asked by his supervisor to sign off on a change order when the engineer believes the change order was a result of a contractor's faulty workmanship.

Contestants must develop discussion and conclusions about the ethics of the engineer in the case using the format of the NSPE Board of Ethical Review. Entries must be 750 words or less and must be received at NSPE Headquarters by Friday, April 11, 2014.

The winning entry will receive a certificate, recognition in PE Magazine, and an award of $1,000 ($500 to the NSPE state society or NSPE chapter and $500 divided among the authors), provided by NSPE and the NSPE Educational Foundation. Special recognition may also be offered to the authors of superior essays written by current student members.

Judges will decide the winner based on quality of the entry in form and presentation; demonstration of understanding of the implications concerning ethical or unethical behavior; and comprehensive analysis of the case and arguments supporting your conclusions.

Please visit the "Ethics" section of the NSPE website for additional information.

The contest is named for NSPE's former general counsel, who played a key role in the founding of the NSPE Board of Ethical Review.
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PEPP 2013–14
Executive Board

Eric L West (Chair)
Midland, TX

Chris K Richard (Vice Chair)
Lafayette, LA

Dawn Edgell (Immediate Past Chair) 
Aurora, IL

Terrance N Glunt
Boca Raton, FL

Daniel Gilbert
Lexington, KY






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