Enroll Your Company for PEPP's Online Directory
through April 1, get 10% off the price
of becoming a 2014 PEPP Sustaining Firm and ensure your firm is listed in PEPP’s online searchable directory. Your support is needed for the efforts
of the Professional Engineers in Private Practice (PEPP) as we strive to
promote the hard-earned professional engineer (P.E.) designation and enhance
the image of the PE in private practice.
As a 2014 PEPP Sustaining Firm, you
will receive the following benefits:
- Online Exposure: You’ll be
included in a searchable directory that includes a complete description of
your firm’s specialties. NSPE’s website receives more than 75,000 user
sessions per month. Let owners and other customers and partners find you!
All PEPP Sustaining Firms are listed at: http://www.nspe.org/PEPP/Supporters
Your options to participate include the
- Firm Recognition: Listing in an
issue of NSPE’s PE magazine
(circulation is approx. 35,000) and in PEPP
Talk, a quarterly electronic newsletter sent to more than 6,000 PEPP
- Valuable Discounts: 25% discount on
ads in PE magazine, NSPE’s
Update, web banners, and Job Board postings.
Level $216* (regularly $240) Online
Listing plus Firm Recognition in PE
Magazine & PEPP Talk. Includes
Bronze level package plus companies will be recognized as official 2014 PEPP
Sustaining Sponsors in NSPE’s PE magazine and in PEPP
Please send company logos (.gif or .jpg file, up to 10KB) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
complete this form and MAIL or FAX it back today! 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 www.nspe.org/PEPP for a complete list of
PEPP programs. Thank you for your continuing support of NSPE/PEPP.
NSPE Legislative Affairs News
NSPE Expresses Serious Concerns With the FUELS Act
On March 19, the National Society of Professional Engineers urged Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) to reconsider his bill S. 496, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act. The FUELS Act would substantially weaken the current EPA Spill, Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule, placing the public and the farmers it seeks to protect at increased risk of devastating oil spills. NSPE understands that some members of the agricultural community have concerns with the current SPCC rule. NSPE would like to underscore two important points, though: first, the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare must be of paramount importance; and second, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that most farms would be exempt from the rule. Read the press release.
NSPE Members Visit with Members of Congress to Advocate for the Professional Engineering Community
On March 6, NSPE members and staff participated in the 2014 Society of Women Engineers Capitol Hill Day to discuss issues of importance to professional engineers, including STEM education, investment in national infrastructure, and qualifications-based selection. NSPE Treasurer Julia Harrod, P.E., F.NSPE, and NSPE Legislative and Government Affairs Committee STEM Task Force Chair Karen Moran, P.E., F.NSPE, lead the delegation and met with several champions of engineering. Visits with Representatives Donna Edwards (D-MD), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and NSPE's very own PE in Congress, David McKinley, P.E. (R-WV), were extremely productive. There is growing interest and commitment to NSPE's issues and these visits served to bring these matters to the forefront.
For all the latest NSPE legislative activities visit the NSPE website.
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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, DC, 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.
Check out this page for details and registration information.[ return to top ]
Emergency Response and Recovery
Victor O. Schinnerer & Co. Inc
Last issue, 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.”
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 nonemployees, 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.
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 that 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 carriers 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. [ return to top ]
Recent Court Decisions Regarding Contract Documents
Some recent court case issues include:
- Differing site condition claim; contractor’s knowledge
of condition from prior work at the site. Miron Construction Company,
Inc., v. City of Oshkosh, Court of Appeals of Wisconsin (2013).
- Effect of architect’s concealment of cause of defect on
the statute of limitations. J.S. Riemer, Inc. v. Village of Orland Hills,
Appellate Court of Illinois, First District (2013).
- Effect of statute of repose on project owner’s claim
against general contractor. Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium
Public Facilities District v. Huber, Hunt, & Nichols—Kiewit
Construction Company, Supreme Court of Washington (2013).
For a complete list of cases and summaries, visit the EJCDC website.
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Engineering a Stronger Profession
Since July 2012, NSPE and its
members have been engaged in an open process aimed at building a Society
dedicated to organizational innovation and development. The foundation of that
effort has been the association management book Race for Relevance, which
outlines the challenges faced by today’s associations and provides a plan for
Informed by data collected
through extensive surveying and the active engagement of about 100 members from
41 states involved in seven task forces, the NSPE Board of Directors has
committed itself to reinvigorating an organization that has been serving
professional engineers for 80 years. By following the changes outlined in Race
for Relevance, NSPE will be renewing its unique and vital role in promoting and
protecting the value of the licensed professional engineer.
The NSPE Board is committed
to integrating the values, strategies, objectives, and action plan outlined in
its new Statement of Strategic Direction (approved January 29, 2014) into
the very fabric of NSPE’s ongoing governance and operations.
Staying Strategic (March 2014 PE)
By Executive Director Mark
Change or Be Changed (April 2014 PE)
By President Robert Green,
Background on NSPE’s Race
for Relevance initiative.
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NSPE Spring Webinar Series
NSPE's spring webinar series features a session on April 17 titled A Conversation about Conflicts of Interest, Confidentiality and the Public Health Safety and Welfare, hosted by Arthur Schwartz, NSPE's deputy executive director and general counsel, who will be joined by other ethics experts. Schwartz will also facilitate A Conversation on Employment and Professional Practice on May 14.
Get a group of your colleagues together in the conference room and all of you can participate and receive credit for the low member price of $99 for most of the webinars. Each webinar is held from 12:30–1:30 p.m. EST.
Access the entire webinar schedule on the NSPE website. Don't miss out! Registeronline today. [ return to top ]
ACEC & NSPE Seeking Applications for QBS Award
Every year, ACEC and NSPE partner to administer the QBS Awards. The purpose of the QBS Awards is to recognize public and private entities that make exemplary use of the qualifications-based selection process at the federal, state, and local levels. In turn, QBS Award winners serve as examples of how well the QBS process works, and they help ACEC and NSPE promote the practice of QBS in jurisdictions that do not use, or underuse, QBS to procure engineering services.
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ACEC and NSPE are now seeking nominations for the 2014 QBS Awards, honoring entities that retain design professionals using qualifications-based selection. The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 6, 2014.
Please visit the NSPE website
for a nomination form.