471.003 Qualifications for practice; exemptions.
471.0035 Instructors in postsecondary educational institutions; exemption from licensure requirement.
471.007 Board of Professional Engineers.
471.008 Rulemaking authority.
471.009 Board headquarters.
471.013 Examinations; prerequisites.
471.017 Renewal of license.
471.0195 Florida Building Code training for engineers.
471.021 Engineers and firms of other states; temporary registration to practice in Florida.
471.023 Qualification of business organizations.
471.027 Engineers authorized to enter lands of third parties under certain conditions.
471.031 Prohibitions; penalties.
471.033 Disciplinary proceedings.
471.037 Effect of chapter locally.
471.038 Florida Engineers Management Corporation.
471.0385 Court action; effect.
471.045 Professional engineers performing building code inspector duties.
471.001 Purpose.—The Legislature deems it necessary in the interest of public health and safety to regulate the practice of engineering in this state.
History.—ss. 1, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 5, ch. 2000-332.
471.003 Qualifications for practice; exemptions.—
(1) No person other than a duly licensed engineer shall practice engineering or use the name or title of “licensed engineer,” “professional engineer,” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviations, or device tending to indicate that such person holds an active license as an engineer in this state.
(2) The following persons are not required to be licensed under the provisions of this chapter as a licensed engineer:
(a) Any person practicing engineering for the improvement of, or otherwise affecting, property legally owned by her or him, unless such practice involves a public utility or the public health, safety, or welfare or the safety or health of employees. This paragraph shall not be construed as authorizing the practice of engineering through an agent or employee who is not duly licensed under the provisions of this chapter.
(b)1. A person acting as a public officer employed by any state, county, municipal, or other governmental unit of this state when working on any project the total estimated cost of which is $10,000 or less.
2. Persons who are employees of any state, county, municipal, or other governmental unit of this state and who are the subordinates of a person in responsible charge licensed under this chapter, to the extent that the supervision meets standards adopted by rule of the board.
(c) Regular full-time employees of a corporation not engaged in the practice of engineering as such, whose practice of engineering for such corporation is limited to the design or fabrication of manufactured products and servicing of such products.
(d) Regular full-time employees of a public utility or other entity subject to regulation by the Florida Public Service Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or Federal Communications Commission.
(e) Employees of a firm, corporation, or partnership who are the subordinates of a person in responsible charge, licensed under this chapter.
(f) Any person as contractor in the execution of work designed by a professional engineer or in the supervision of the construction of work as a foreman or superintendent.
(g) A licensed surveyor and mapper who takes, or contracts for, professional engineering services incidental to her or his practice of surveying and mapping and who delegates such engineering services to a licensed professional engineer qualified within her or his firm or contracts for such professional engineering services to be performed by others who are licensed professional engineers under the provisions of this chapter.
(h) Any electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, or mechanical contractor whose practice includes the design and fabrication of electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, or mechanical systems, respectively, which she or he installs by virtue of a license issued under chapter 489, under former part I of chapter 553, Florida Statutes 2001, or under any special act or ordinance when working on any construction project which:
1. Requires an electrical or plumbing or air-conditioning and refrigeration system with a value of $125,000 or less; and
2.a. Requires an aggregate service capacity of 600 amperes (240 volts) or less on a residential electrical system or 800 amperes (240 volts) or less on a commercial or industrial electrical system;
b. Requires a plumbing system with fewer than 250 fixture units; or
c. Requires a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system not to exceed a 15-ton-per-system capacity, or if the project is designed to accommodate 100 or fewer persons.
(i) Any general contractor, certified or registered pursuant to the provisions of chapter 489, when negotiating or performing services under a design-build contract as long as the engineering services offered or rendered in connection with the contract are offered and rendered by an engineer licensed in accordance with this chapter.
(j) Any defense, space, or aerospace company, whether a sole proprietorship, firm, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, joint stock association, corporation, or other business entity, subsidiary, or affiliate, or any employee, contract worker, subcontractor, or independent contractor of the defense, space, or aerospace company who provides engineering for aircraft, space launch vehicles, launch services, satellites, satellite services, or other defense, space, or aerospace-related product or services, or components thereof.
(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter or of any other law, no licensed engineer whose principal practice is civil or structural engineering, or employee or subordinate under the responsible supervision or control of the engineer, is precluded from performing architectural services which are purely incidental to her or his engineering practice, nor is any licensed architect, or employee or subordinate under the responsible supervision or control of the architect, precluded from performing engineering services which are purely incidental to her or his architectural practice. However, no engineer shall practice architecture or use the designation “architect” or any term derived therefrom, and no architect shall practice engineering or use the designation “engineer” or any term derived therefrom.
History.—ss. 10, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 3, 10, ch. 81-302; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 5, ch. 82-179; s. 3, ch. 83-160; ss. 46, 119, ch. 83-329; s. 1, ch. 85-134; s. 57, ch. 87-225; s. 2, ch. 87-341; s. 2, ch. 87-349; ss. 1, 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 1, ch. 89-115; s. 67, ch. 89-162; s. 4, ch. 91-429; ss. 80, 118, ch. 94-119; s. 330, ch. 97-103; s. 65, ch. 98-287; s. 31, ch. 2000-356; s. 16, ch. 2002-299; s. 1, ch. 2003-425; s. 4, ch. 2004-332; s. 64, ch. 2009-195; s. 64, ch. 2018-110.
471.0035 Instructors in postsecondary educational institutions; exemption from licensure requirement.—For the sole purpose of teaching the principles and methods of engineering design, notwithstanding the provisions of s. 471.005(7), a person employed by a public postsecondary educational institution, or by an independent postsecondary educational institution licensed or exempt from licensure pursuant to the provisions of chapter 1005, is not required to be licensed under the provisions of this chapter as a professional engineer.
History.—s. 11, ch. 99-252; s. 32, ch. 2000-356; s. 4, ch. 2000-372; s. 17, ch. 2002-299; s. 1017, ch. 2002-387.
471.005 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Board” means the Board of Professional Engineers.
(2) “Board of directors” means the board of directors of the Florida Engineers Management Corporation.
(3) “Defense company” means any business entity that holds a valid Department of Defense contract or any business entity that is a subcontractor under a valid Department of Defense contract. The term includes any business entity that holds valid contracts or subcontracts for products or services for military use under prime contracts with the United States Department of Defense, the United States Department of State, or the United States Coast Guard.
(4) “Department” means the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
(5) “Engineer” includes the terms “professional engineer” and “licensed engineer” and means a person who is licensed to engage in the practice of engineering under this chapter.
(6) “Engineer intern” means a person who has graduated from an engineering curriculum approved by the board and has passed the fundamentals of engineering examination as provided by rules adopted by the board.
(7) “Engineering” includes the term “professional engineering” and means any service or creative work, the adequate performance of which requires engineering education, training, and experience in the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences to such services or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, and design of engineering works and systems, planning the use of land and water, teaching of the principles and methods of engineering design, engineering surveys, and the inspection of construction for the purpose of determining in general if the work is proceeding in compliance with drawings and specifications, any of which embraces such services or work, either public or private, in connection with any utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, work systems, projects, and industrial or consumer products or equipment of a mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, or thermal nature, insofar as they involve safeguarding life, health, or property; and includes such other professional services as may be necessary to the planning, progress, and completion of any engineering services. A person who practices any branch of engineering; who, by verbal claim, sign, advertisement, letterhead, or card, or in any other way, represents himself or herself to be an engineer or, through the use of some other title, implies that he or she is an engineer or that he or she is licensed under this chapter; or who holds himself or herself out as able to perform, or does perform, any engineering service or work or any other service designated by the practitioner which is recognized as engineering shall be construed to practice or offer to practice engineering within the meaning and intent of this chapter.
(8) “License” means the licensing of 1engineers to practice engineering in this state.
(9) “Management corporation” means the Florida Engineers Management Corporation.
(10) “Retired professional engineer” or “professional engineer, retired” means a person who has been duly licensed as a professional engineer by the board and who chooses to relinquish or not to renew his or her license and applies to and is approved by the board to be granted the title “Professional Engineer, Retired.”
(11) “Secretary” means the Secretary of Business and Professional Regulation.
(12) “Space or aerospace company” means any business entity concerned with the design, manufacture, or support of aircraft, rockets, missiles, spacecraft, satellites, space vehicles, space stations, space facilities, or components thereof, and equipment, systems, facilities, simulators, programs, products, services, and activities related thereto.
History.—ss. 2, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 4, 10, ch. 81-302; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 4, ch. 83-160; s. 4, ch. 84-365; ss. 2, 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 151, ch. 94-218; s. 331, ch. 97-103; s. 33, ch. 2000-356; s. 3, ch. 2000-372; s. 18, ch. 2002-299; s. 2, ch. 2003-425; s. 3, ch. 2019-86.
1Note.—The word “or” following the word “engineers” was deleted by the editors to improve clarity. 471.007 Board of Professional Engineers.—
(1) There is created in the department the Board of Professional Engineers. The board shall consist of 11 members, 9 of whom shall be licensed engineers and 2 of whom shall be laypersons who are not and have never been engineers or members of any closely related profession or occupation. A member of the board who is a licensed engineer must be selected and appointed based on his or her qualifications to provide expertise and experience to the board at all times in civil engineering, structural engineering, electrical or electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, or engineering education.
(2) Following expiration of the terms of members appointed to initiate staggered terms as set forth in subsection (3), members of the board shall be appointed by the Governor for terms of 4 years each. A professional or technical engineering society may submit a list of qualified nominees to be considered by the Governor for appointment.
(3) When the terms of members serving as of July 1, 2014, expire, the terms of their immediate successors shall be staggered so that three members are appointed for 2 years, four members are appointed for 3 years, and four members are appointed for 4 years, as determined by the Governor. Each member shall hold office until the expiration of his or her appointed term or until a successor has been appointed.
History.—ss. 3, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 5, 9, 10, ch. 81-302; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 3, 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 152, ch. 94-218; s. 19, ch. 2002-299; s. 1, ch. 2004-332; s. 1, ch. 2014-125.
471.008 Rulemaking authority.—The board has authority to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement provisions of this chapter or chapter 455 conferring duties upon it.
History.—s. 1, ch. 87-341; s. 1, ch. 87-349; s. 1, ch. 88-303; ss. 4, 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 109, ch. 98-166; s. 142, ch. 98-200; s. 170, ch. 2000-160.
471.009 Board headquarters.—The location of the Board of Professional Engineers shall be in Leon County.
History.—ss. 3, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 6, 10, ch. 81-302; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 5, 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429.
(1) The board by rule may establish fees to be paid for applications, examination, reexamination, licensing and renewal, inactive status application and reactivation of inactive licenses, and recordmaking and recordkeeping. The board may also establish by rule a delinquency fee. The board shall establish fees that are adequate to ensure the continued operation of the board. Fees shall be based on department estimates of the revenue required to implement this chapter and the provisions of law with respect to the regulation of engineers.
(2) The initial application and examination fee shall not exceed $125 plus the actual per applicant cost to the management corporation to purchase the examination from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying or a similar national organization. The examination fee shall be in an amount which covers the cost of obtaining and administering the examination and shall be refunded if the applicant is found ineligible to sit for the examination. The application fee shall be nonrefundable.
(3) The initial license fee shall not exceed $125.
(4) Qualification of a business organization under s. 471.023 shall not require payment of a fee.
(5) The biennial renewal fee shall not exceed $125.
(6) The fee for a temporary registration or certificate to practice engineering shall not exceed $25 for an individual or $50 for a business firm.
(7) The fee for licensure by endorsement shall not exceed $150.
(8) The fee for application for inactive status or for reactivation of an inactive license shall not exceed $150.
History.—ss. 4, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 20, ch. 88-205; ss. 6, 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 212, ch. 94-119; s. 1, ch. 97-312; s. 34, ch. 2000-356; s. 5, ch. 2000-372; s. 4, ch. 2019-86.
471.013 Examinations; prerequisites.— (1)(a) A person shall be entitled to take an examination for the purpose of determining whether she or he is qualified to practice in this state as an engineer if the person is of good moral character and:
1. Is a graduate from an approved engineering science curriculum of 4 years or more in a school, college, or university which has been approved by the board; or
2. Is a graduate of an approved engineering technology curriculum of 4 years or more in a school, college, or university which has been approved by the board.
The board shall adopt rules providing for the review and approval of schools or colleges and the courses of study in engineering in such schools and colleges. The rules shall be based on the educational requirements for engineering as defined in s. 471.005. The board may adopt rules providing for the acceptance of the approval and accreditation of schools and courses of study by a nationally accepted accreditation organization.
(b) A person shall be entitled to take the fundamentals examination for the purpose of determining whether she or he is qualified to practice in this state as an engineer intern if she or he is in the final year of, or is a graduate of, an approved engineering curriculum in a school, college, or university approved by the board.
(c) A person shall not be entitled to take the principles and practice examination until that person has successfully completed the fundamentals examination.
(d) The board shall deem that an applicant who seeks licensure by examination has passed the fundamentals examination when such applicant has received a doctorate degree in engineering from an institution that has an undergraduate engineering program that is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., and has taught engineering full time for at least 3 years, at the baccalaureate level or higher, after receiving that degree.
(e) Every applicant who is qualified to take the fundamentals examination or the principles and practice examination shall be allowed to take either examination three times, notwithstanding the number of times either examination has been previously failed. If an applicant fails either examination three times, the board shall require the applicant to complete additional college-level education courses or a board-approved relevant examination review course as a condition of future eligibility to take that examination. If the applicant is delayed in taking the examination due to reserve or active duty service in the United States Armed Forces or National Guard, the applicant is allowed an additional two attempts to take the examination before the board may require additional college-level education or review courses.
(2)(a) The board may refuse to certify an applicant for failure to satisfy the requirement of good moral character only if:
1. There is a substantial connection between the lack of good moral character of the applicant and the professional responsibilities of a licensed engineer; and
2. The finding by the board of lack of good moral character is supported by clear and convincing evidence.
(b) When an applicant is found to be unqualified for a license because of a lack of good moral character, the board shall furnish the applicant a statement containing the findings of the board, a complete record of the evidence upon which the determination was based, and a notice of the rights of the applicant to a rehearing and appeal.
History.—ss. 5, 42, ch. 79-243; s. 340, ch. 81-259; ss. 7, 10, ch. 81-302; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 141, ch. 92-149; s. 332, ch. 97-103; s. 20, ch. 2002-299; s. 1, ch. 2003-293; s. 2, ch. 2004-332; s. 2, ch. 2014-125; s. 5, ch. 2019-86.
(1) The management corporation shall issue a license to any applicant who the board certifies is qualified to practice engineering and who has passed the fundamentals examination and the principles and practice examination.
(2)(a) The board shall certify for licensure any applicant who has submitted proof satisfactory to the board that he or she is at least 18 years of age and who:
1. Satisfies the requirements of s. 471.013(1)(a)1. and has a record of at least 4 years of active engineering experience of a character indicating competence to be in responsible charge of engineering; or
2. Satisfies the requirements of s. 471.013(1)(a)2. and has a record of at least 6 years of active engineering experience of a character indicating competence to be in responsible charge of engineering.
(b) The board may refuse to certify any applicant who has violated s. 471.031.
(3) The board shall certify as qualified for a license by endorsement an applicant who:
(a) Qualifies to take the fundamentals examination and the principles and practice examination as set forth in s. 471.013, has passed a United States national, regional, state, or territorial licensing examination that is substantially equivalent to the fundamentals examination and principles and practice examination required by s. 471.013, and has satisfied the experience requirements set forth in paragraph (2)(a) and s. 471.013; or
(b) Holds a valid license to practice engineering issued by another state or territory of the United States, if the criteria for issuance of the license were substantially the same as the licensure criteria that existed in this state at the time the license was issued.
(4) The management corporation shall not issue a license by endorsement to any applicant who is under investigation in another state for any act that would constitute a violation of this chapter or of chapter 455 until such time as the investigation is complete and disciplinary proceedings have been terminated.
(5)(a) The board shall deem that an applicant who seeks licensure by endorsement has passed an examination substantially equivalent to the fundamentals examination when such applicant has held a valid professional engineer’s license in another state for 15 years and has had 20 years of continuous professional-level engineering experience.
(b) The board shall deem that an applicant who seeks licensure by endorsement has passed an examination substantially equivalent to the fundamentals examination and the principles and practices examination when such applicant has held a valid professional engineer’s license in another state for 25 years and has had 30 years of continuous professional-level engineering experience.
(6) The board may require a personal appearance by any applicant for licensure under this chapter. Any applicant of whom a personal appearance is required must be given adequate notice of the time and place of the appearance and provided with a statement of the purpose of and reasons requiring the appearance. If an applicant is required to appear, the time period within which a licensure application must be granted or denied is tolled until such time as the applicant appears. However, if the applicant fails to appear before the board at either of the next two regularly scheduled board meetings, the application for licensure may be denied.
(7) The board shall, by rule, establish qualifications for certification of licensees as special inspectors of threshold buildings, as defined in ss. 553.71 and 553.79, and shall compile a list of persons who are certified. A special inspector is not required to meet standards for certification other than those established by the board, and the fee owner of a threshold building may not be prohibited from selecting any person certified by the board to be a special inspector. The board shall develop minimum qualifications for the qualified representative of the special inspector who is authorized to perform inspections of threshold buildings on behalf of the special inspector under s. 553.79.
History.—ss. 6, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 2, ch. 85-134; ss. 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; ss. 82, 216, ch. 94-119; s. 32, ch. 95-392; s. 110, ch. 98-166; s. 37, ch. 2000-141; s. 171, ch. 2000-160; s. 35, ch. 2000-356; s. 6, ch. 2000-372; s. 21, ch. 2002-299; s. 2, ch. 2003-293; s. 3, ch. 2014-125; s. 6, ch. 2019-86.
471.017 Renewal of license.—
(1) The management corporation shall renew a license upon receipt of the renewal application and fee.
(2) The board shall adopt rules establishing a procedure for the biennial renewal of licenses.
(3)(a) The board shall require a demonstration of continuing professional competency of engineers as a condition of license renewal or relicensure. Every licensee must complete 9 continuing education hours for each year of the license renewal period, totaling 18 continuing education hours for the license renewal period. For each renewal period for such continuing education:
1. One hour must relate to this chapter and the rules adopted under this chapter.
2. One hour must relate to professional ethics.
3. Four hours must relate to the licensee’s area of practice.
4. The remaining hours may relate to any topic pertinent to the practice of engineering.
Continuing education hours may be earned by presenting or attending seminars, in-house or nonclassroom courses, workshops, or professional or technical presentations made at meetings, webinars, conventions, or conferences, including those presented by vendors with specific knowledge related to the licensee’s area of practice. Up to 4 hours may be earned by serving as an officer or actively participating on a committee of a board-recognized professional or technical engineering society. The 2 required continuing education hours relating to this chapter, the rules adopted pursuant to this chapter, and ethics may be earned by serving as a member of the Legislature or as an elected state or local official. The hours required pursuant to s. 471.0195 may apply to any requirements of this section except for those required under subparagraph 1.
(b) The board shall adopt rules that are substantially consistent with the most recent published version of the Continuing Professional Competency Guidelines of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, and shall allow nonclassroom hours to be credited. The board may, by rule, exempt from continuing professional competency requirements retired professional engineers who no longer sign and seal engineering documents and licensees in unique circumstances that severely limit opportunities to obtain the required continuing education hours.
History.—ss. 7, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 213, ch. 94-119; s. 11, ch. 98-287; s. 36, ch. 2000-356; s. 7, ch. 2000-372; s. 4, ch. 2014-125.
471.019 Reactivation.—The board shall establish by rule a reinstatement process for void licenses. The rule shall prescribe appropriate continuing education requirements for reactivating a license. The continuing education requirements for reactivating a license for a licensed engineer may not exceed the continuing education requirements prescribed pursuant to s. 471.017 for each year the license was inactive.
History.—ss. 8, 42, ch. 79-243; s. 341, ch. 81-259; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 104, ch. 83-329; ss. 7, 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 214, ch. 94-119; s. 12, ch. 98-287; s. 37, ch. 2000-356; s. 22, ch. 2002-299; s. 7, ch. 2019-86.
471.0195 Florida Building Code training for engineers.—All licensees actively participating in the design of engineering works or systems in connection with buildings, structures, or facilities and systems covered by the Florida Building Code shall take continuing education courses and submit proof to the board, at such times and in such manner as established by the board by rule, that the licensee has completed any specialized or advanced courses on any portion of the Florida Building Code applicable to the licensee’s area of practice. The board shall record reported continuing education courses on a system easily accessed by code enforcement jurisdictions for evaluation when determining license status for purposes of processing design documents. Local jurisdictions shall be responsible for notifying the board when design documents are submitted for building construction permits by persons who are not in compliance with this section. The board shall take appropriate action as provided by its rules when such noncompliance is determined to exist.
History.—s. 38, ch. 2000-356; s. 23, ch. 2002-299; s. 12, ch. 2009-195.
471.021 Engineers and firms of other states; temporary registration to practice in Florida.—
(1) Upon approval of the board and payment of the fee set in s. 471.011, the management corporation shall issue a temporary registration for work on one specified project in this state for a period not to exceed 1 year to an engineer holding a certificate to practice in another state, provided Florida licensees are similarly permitted to engage in work in such state and provided that the engineer be qualified for licensure by endorsement.
(2) Upon approval by the board and payment of the fee set in s. 471.011, the management corporation shall issue a temporary registration for work on one specified project in this state for a period not to exceed 1 year to an out-of-state corporation, partnership, or firm, provided one of the principal officers of the corporation, one of the partners of the partnership, or one of the principals in the fictitiously named firm has obtained a temporary registration in accordance with subsection (1).
(3) The application for a temporary registration shall require appointment of the Department of State as an agent of the applicant for service of process in any action or proceeding against the applicant arising out of any transaction or operation connected with or incidental to the practice of engineering for which the temporary registration was issued.
History.—ss. 9, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 142, ch. 92-149; s. 8, ch. 2000-372; s. 24, ch. 2002-299; s. 8, ch. 2019-86.
471.023 Qualification of business organizations.—
(1) The practice of, or the offer to practice, engineering by licensees or offering engineering services to the public through a business organization, including a partnership, corporation, business trust, or other legal entity or by a business organization, including a corporation, partnership, business trust, or other legal entity offering such services to the public through licensees under this chapter as agents, employees, officers, or partners is permitted only if the business organization is qualified by an engineer licensed under this chapter, subject to the provisions of this chapter. One or more of the principal officers of the business organization or one or more partners of the partnership and all personnel of the business organization who act in its behalf as engineers in this state shall be licensed as provided by this chapter. All final drawings, specifications, plans, reports, or documents involving practices licensed under this chapter which are prepared or approved for the use of the business organization or for public record within the state shall be dated and shall bear the signature and seal of the licensee who prepared or approved them. Nothing in this section shall be construed to mean that a license to practice engineering shall be held by a business organization. Nothing herein prohibits business organizations from joining together to offer engineering services to the public, if each business organization otherwise meets the requirements of this section. No business organization shall be relieved of responsibility for the conduct or acts of its agents, employees, or officers by reason of its compliance with this section, nor shall any individual practicing engineering be relieved of responsibility for professional services performed by reason of his or her employment or relationship with a business organization.
(2) For the purposes of this section, a business organization or other person practicing under a fictitious name, offering engineering services to the public must be qualified by an engineer licensed under this chapter.
(3) Except as provided in s. 558.0035, the fact that a licensed engineer practices through a business organization does not relieve the licensee from personal liability for negligence, misconduct, or wrongful acts committed by him or her. Partnerships and all partners shall be jointly and severally liable for the negligence, misconduct, or wrongful acts committed by their agents, employees, or partners while acting in a professional capacity. Any officer, agent, or employee of a business organization other than a partnership shall be personally liable and accountable only for negligent acts, wrongful acts, or misconduct committed by him or her or committed by any person under his or her direct supervision and control, while rendering professional services on behalf of the business organization. The personal liability of a shareholder or owner of a business organization, in his or her capacity as shareholder or owner, shall be no greater than that of a shareholder-employee of a corporation incorporated under chapter 607. The business organization shall be liable up to the full value of its property for any negligent acts, wrongful acts, or misconduct committed by any of its officers, agents, or employees while they are engaged on its behalf in the rendering of professional services.
(4) Each qualifying agent of a business organization qualified under this section must notify the board within 30 days after any change in the information contained in the application upon which the qualification is based.
(a) A qualifying agent who terminates an affiliation with a qualified business organization shall notify the management corporation of such termination within 24 hours. If such qualifying agent is the only qualifying agent for that business organization, the business organization must be qualified by another qualifying agent within 60 days after the termination. Except as provided in paragraph (b), the business organization may not engage in the practice of engineering until it is qualified by another qualifying agent.
(b) In the event a qualifying agent ceases employment with a qualified business organization and the qualifying agent is the only licensed individual affiliated with the business organization, the executive director of the management corporation or the chair of the board may authorize another licensee employed by the business organization to temporarily serve as its qualifying agent for a period of no more than 60 days to proceed with incomplete contracts. The business organization is not authorized to operate beyond such period under this chapter absent replacement of the qualifying agent.
(c) A qualifying agent shall notify the department in writing before engaging in the practice of engineering in the licensee’s name or in affiliation with a different business organization.
History.—ss. 11, 42, ch. 79-243; s. 1, ch. 80-223; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 8, 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 143, ch. 92-149; s. 333, ch. 97-103; s. 39, ch. 2000-356; s. 9, ch. 2000-372; s. 25, ch. 2002-299; s. 3, ch. 2003-293; s. 3, ch. 2013-28; s. 9, ch. 2019-86.
(1) The board shall prescribe, by rule, one or more forms of seal to be used by licensees. Each licensee shall obtain at least one seal in the form approved by rule of the board and may, in addition, register his or her seal electronically in accordance with ss. 668.001-668.006. All final drawings, specifications, plans, reports, or documents prepared or issued by the licensee and being filed for public record and all final documents provided to the owner or the owner’s representative shall be signed by the licensee, dated, and sealed with said seal. Such signature, date, and seal shall be evidence of the authenticity of that to which they are affixed. Drawings, specifications, plans, reports, final documents, or documents prepared or issued by a licensee may be transmitted electronically and may be signed by the licensee, dated, and sealed electronically with said seal in accordance with ss. 668.001-668.006.
(2) It is unlawful for any person to seal or digitally sign any document with a seal or digital signature after his or her license has expired or been revoked or suspended, unless such license has been reinstated or reissued. When an engineer’s license has been revoked or suspended by the board, the licensee shall, within a period of 30 days after the revocation or suspension has become effective, surrender his or her seal to the executive director of the board and confirm to the executive director the cancellation of the licensee’s digital signature in accordance with ss. 668.001-668.006. In the event the engineer’s license has been suspended for a period of time, his or her seal shall be returned to him or her upon expiration of the suspension period.
(3) No licensee shall affix or permit to be affixed his or her seal, name, or digital signature to any plan, specification, drawing, final bid document, or other document that depicts work which he or she is not licensed to perform or which is beyond his or her profession or specialty therein.
(4) A successor engineer seeking to reuse documents previously sealed by another engineer must be able to independently re-create all of the work done by the original engineer. A successor engineer assumes full professional and legal responsibility by signing and affixing his or her seal to the assumed documents. Such documents must be treated as though they were the successor engineer’s original product, and the original engineer is released from any professional responsibility or civil liability for prior work assumed by the successor engineer. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “successor engineer” means an engineer who is using or relying upon the work, findings, or recommendations of the engineer who previously sealed the pertinent documents.
History.—ss. 12, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 144, ch. 92-149; s. 334, ch. 97-103; s. 4, ch. 97-241; s. 40, ch. 2000-356; s. 32, ch. 2000-372; s. 2, ch. 2001-63; s. 26, ch. 2002-299; s. 10, ch. 2019-86.
471.027 Engineers authorized to enter lands of third parties under certain conditions.—Engineers are hereby granted permission and authority to go on, over, and upon the lands of others when necessary to make engineering surveys and, in so doing, to carry with them their agents and employees necessary for that purpose. Entry under the right hereby granted shall not constitute trespass, and engineers and their duly authorized agents or employees so entering shall not be liable to arrest or a civil action by reason of such entry; however, nothing in this section shall be construed as giving authority to said licensees, agents, or employees to destroy, injure, damage, or move anything on lands of another without the written permission of the landowner.
History.—ss. 17, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 27, ch. 2002-299.
471.031 Prohibitions; penalties.— (1) A person may not:
(a) Practice engineering unless the person is licensed or exempt from licensure under this chapter.
(b)1. Except as provided in subparagraph 2. or subparagraph 3., use the name or title “professional engineer” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviations, or device tending to indicate that such person holds an active license as an engineer when the person is not licensed under this chapter, including, but not limited to, the following titles: “agricultural engineer,” “air-conditioning engineer,” “architectural engineer,” “building engineer,” “chemical engineer,” “civil engineer,” “control systems engineer,” “electrical engineer,” “environmental engineer,” “fire protection engineer,” “industrial engineer,” “manufacturing engineer,” “mechanical engineer,” “metallurgical engineer,” “mining engineer,” “minerals engineer,” “marine engineer,” “nuclear engineer,” “petroleum engineer,” “plumbing engineer,” “structural engineer,” “transportation engineer,” “software engineer,” “computer hardware engineer,” or “systems engineer.”
2. Any person who is exempt from licensure under s. 471.003(2)(j) may use the title or personnel classification of “engineer” in the scope of his or her work under that exemption if the title does not include or connote the term “professional engineer,” “registered engineer,” “licensed engineer,” “registered professional engineer,” or “licensed professional engineer.”
3. Any person who is exempt from licensure under s. 471.003(2)(c) or (e) may use the title or personnel classification of “engineer” in the scope of his or her work under that exemption if the title does not include or connote the term “professional engineer,” “registered engineer,” “licensed engineer,” “registered professional engineer,” or “licensed professional engineer” and if that person is a graduate from an approved engineering curriculum of 4 years or more in a school, college, or university which has been approved by the board.
(c) Present as his or her own the license of another.
(d) Give false or forged evidence to the board or a member thereof.
(e) Use or attempt to use a license that has been suspended, revoked, or placed on inactive or delinquent status.
(f) Employ nonexempt unlicensed persons to practice engineering.
(g) Conceal information relative to violations of this chapter.
(2) Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.—ss. 14, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 47, ch. 83-329; ss. 9, 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 215, ch. 94-119; s. 335, ch. 97-103; s. 41, ch. 2000-356; s. 28, ch. 2002-299; s. 3, ch. 2003-425; s. 3, ch. 2004-332.
471.033 Disciplinary proceedings.— (1) The following acts constitute grounds for which the disciplinary actions in subsection (3) may be taken:
(a) Violating any provision of s. 455.227(1), s. 471.025, or s. 471.031, or any other provision of this chapter or rule of the board or department.
(b) Attempting to procure a license to practice engineering by bribery or fraudulent misrepresentations.
(c) Having a license to practice engineering revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted against, including the denial of licensure, by the licensing authority of another state, territory, or country, for any act that would constitute a violation of this chapter or chapter 455.
(d) Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of engineering or the ability to practice engineering.
(e) Making or filing a report or record that the licensee knows to be false, willfully failing to file a report or record required by state or federal law, willfully impeding or obstructing such filing, or inducing another person to impede or obstruct such filing. Such reports or records include only those that are signed in the capacity of a licensed engineer.
(f) Advertising goods or services in a manner that is fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading in form or content.
(g) Engaging in fraud or deceit, negligence, incompetence, or misconduct, in the practice of engineering.
(h) Violating chapter 455.
(i) Practicing on a revoked, suspended, inactive, or delinquent license.
(j) Affixing or permitting to be affixed his or her seal, name, or digital signature to any final drawings, specifications, plans, reports, or documents that were not prepared by him or her or under his or her responsible supervision, direction, or control.
(k) Violating any order of the board or department previously entered in a disciplinary hearing.
(l) Performing building code inspection services under s. 553.791, without satisfying the insurance requirements of that section.
(2) The board shall specify, by rule, what acts or omissions constitute a violation of subsection (1).
(3) When the board finds any person guilty of any of the grounds set forth in subsection (1), it may enter an order imposing one or more of the following penalties:
(a) Denial of an application for licensure.
(b) Revocation or suspension of a license.
(c) Imposition of an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000 for each count or separate offense.
(d) Issuance of a reprimand.
(e) Placement of the licensee on probation for a period of time and subject to such conditions as the board may specify.
(f) Restriction of the authorized scope of practice by the licensee.
(4) The management corporation shall reissue the license of a disciplined engineer or business upon certification by the board that the disciplined person has complied with all of the terms and conditions set forth in the final order.
History.—ss. 15, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 8, 10, ch. 81-302; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 3, ch. 85-134; ss. 10, 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 145, ch. 92-149; s. 217, ch. 94-119; s. 336, ch. 97-103; s. 5, ch. 97-241; s. 111, ch. 98-166; s. 13, ch. 98-287; s. 119, ch. 2000-141; s. 172, ch. 2000-160; s. 10, ch. 2000-372; s. 35, ch. 2001-186; s. 4, ch. 2001-372; s. 29, ch. 2002-299; s. 4, ch. 2003-293; s. 4, ch. 2005-147; s. 53, ch. 2009-195; s. 45, ch. 2010-106.
471.037 Effect of chapter locally.—
(1) Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to repeal, amend, limit, or otherwise affect any local building code or zoning law or ordinance, now or hereafter enacted, which is more restrictive with respect to the services of licensed engineers than the provisions of this chapter.
(2) In counties or municipalities that issue building permits, such permits may not be issued in any case in which it is apparent from the application for the building permit that the provisions of this chapter have been violated. However, this subsection does not authorize the withholding of building permits in cases involving the exceptions and exemptions set out in s. 471.003.
History.—ss. 13, 42, ch. 79-243; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 14, 15, ch. 89-30; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 81, ch. 94-119; s. 42, ch. 2000-356; s. 30, ch. 2002-299.
471.038 Florida Engineers Management Corporation.—
(1) This section may be cited as the “Florida Engineers Management Corporation Act.”
(2) The purpose of this section is to create a public-private partnership by providing that a single nonprofit corporation be established to provide administrative, investigative, and prosecutorial services to the board and that no additional nonprofit corporation be created for these purposes.
(3) The Florida Engineers Management Corporation is created to provide administrative, investigative, and prosecutorial services to the board in accordance with the provisions of chapter 455 and this chapter. The management corporation may hire staff as necessary to carry out its functions. Such staff are not public employees for the purposes of chapter 110 or chapter 112, except that the board of directors and the staff are subject to the provisions of s. 112.061. The provisions of s. 768.28 apply to the management corporation, which is deemed to be a corporation primarily acting as an instrumentality of the state, but which is not an agency within the meaning of s. 20.03(11). The management corporation shall:
(a) Be a Florida corporation not for profit, incorporated under the provisions of chapter 617.
(b) Provide administrative, investigative, and prosecutorial services to the board in accordance with the provisions of chapter 455, this chapter, and the contract required by this section.
(c) Receive, hold, and administer property and make only prudent expenditures directly related to the responsibilities of the board, and in accordance with the contract required by this section.
(d) Be approved by the board, and the department, to operate for the benefit of the board and in the best interest of the state.
(e) Operate under a fiscal year that begins on July 1 of each year and ends on June 30 of the following year.
(f) Have a seven-member board of directors, five of whom are to be appointed by the board and must be registrants regulated by the board and two of whom are to be appointed by the secretary and must be laypersons not regulated by the board. All appointments shall be for 4-year terms. No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms. Failure to attend three consecutive meetings shall be deemed a resignation from the board, and the vacancy shall be filled by a new appointment.
(g) Select its officers in accordance with its bylaws. The members of the board of directors who were appointed by the board may be removed by the board.
(h) Select the president of the management corporation, who shall also serve as executive director to the board, subject to approval of the board.
(i) Use a portion of the interest derived from the management corporation account to offset the costs associated with the use of credit cards for payment of fees by applicants or licensees.
(j) Operate under a written contract with the department which is approved by the board. The contract must provide for, but is not limited to:
1. Submission by the management corporation of an annual budget that complies with board rules for approval by the board and the department.
2. Annual certification by the board and the department that the management corporation is complying with the terms of the contract in a manner consistent with the goals and purposes of the board and in the best interest of the state. This certification must be reported in the board’s minutes. The contract must also provide for methods and mechanisms to resolve any situation in which the certification process determines noncompliance.
3. Funding of the management corporation through appropriations allocated to the regulation of professional engineers from the Professional Regulation Trust Fund.
4. The reversion to the board, or the state if the board ceases to exist, of moneys, records, data, and property held in trust by the management corporation for the benefit of the board, if the management corporation is no longer approved to operate for the board or the board ceases to exist. All records and data in a computerized database shall be returned to the department in a form that is compatible with the computerized database of the department.
5. The securing and maintaining by the management corporation, during the term of the contract and for all acts performed during the term of the contract, of all liability insurance coverages in an amount to be approved by the board to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the management corporation and its officers and employees, the department and its employees, and the state against all claims arising from state and federal laws. Such insurance coverage must be with insurers qualified and doing business in the state. The management corporation must provide proof of insurance to the department. The department and its employees and the state are exempt from and are not liable for any sum of money which represents a deductible, which sums shall be the sole responsibility of the management corporation. Violation of this subparagraph shall be grounds for terminating the contract.
6. Payment by the management corporation, out of its allocated budget, to the department of all costs of representation by the board counsel, including salary and benefits, travel, and any other compensation traditionally paid by the department to other board counsel.
7. Payment by the management corporation, out of its allocated budget, to the department of all costs incurred by the management corporation or the board for the Division of Administrative Hearings of the Department of Management Services and any other cost for utilization of these state services.
8. Payment by the management corporation, out of its allocated budget, to the department of reasonable costs associated with the contract monitor.
(k) Provide for an annual financial audit of its financial accounts and records by an independent certified public accountant. The annual audit report shall include a management letter in accordance with s. 11.45 and a detailed supplemental schedule of expenditures for each expenditure category. The annual audit report must be submitted to the board, the department, and the Auditor General for review.
(l) Provide for persons not employed by the corporation who are charged with the responsibility of receiving and depositing fee and fine revenues to have a faithful performance bond in such an amount and according to such terms as shall be determined in the contract.
(m) Submit to the secretary, the board, and the Legislature, on or before October 1 of each year, a report on the status of the corporation which includes, but is not limited to, information concerning the programs and funds that have been transferred to the corporation. The report must include: the number of license applications received; the number approved and denied and the number of licenses issued; the number of examinations administered and the number of applicants who passed or failed the examination; the number of complaints received; the number determined to be legally sufficient; the number dismissed; the number determined to have probable cause; the number of administrative complaints issued and the status of the complaints; and the number and nature of disciplinary actions taken by the board.
(n) Develop and submit to the department, performance standards and measurable outcomes for the board to adopt by rule in order to facilitate efficient and cost-effective regulation.
(4) The management corporation may not exercise any authority specifically assigned to the board under chapter 455 or this chapter, including determining probable cause to pursue disciplinary action against a licensee, taking final action on license applications or in disciplinary cases, or adopting administrative rules under chapter 120.
(5) Notwithstanding ss. 455.228 and 455.2281, the duties and authority of the department to receive complaints and to investigate and deter the unlicensed practice of engineering are delegated to the board. The board may use funds of the Board of Professional Engineers in the unlicensed activity account established under s. 455.2281 to perform the duties relating to unlicensed activity.
(6) The department shall retain the independent authority to open or investigate any cases or complaints, as necessary to protect the public health, safety, or welfare. In addition, the department may request that the management corporation prosecute such cases and shall retain sole authority to issue emergency suspension or restriction orders pursuant to s. 120.60.
(7) Management corporation records are public records subject to the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution; however, public records exemptions set forth in ss. 455.217 and 455.229 for records created or maintained by the department shall apply to records created or maintained by the management corporation. In addition, all meetings of the board of directors are open to the public in accordance with s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I of the State Constitution. The exemptions set forth in s. 455.225, relating to complaints and information obtained pursuant to an investigation by the department, shall apply to such records created or obtained by the management corporation only until an investigation ceases to be active. For the purposes of this subsection, an investigation is considered active so long as the management corporation or any law enforcement or administrative agency is proceeding with reasonable dispatch and has a reasonable, good faith belief that it may lead to the filing of administrative, civil, or criminal proceedings. An investigation ceases to be active when the case is dismissed prior to a finding of probable cause and the board has not exercised its option to pursue the case or 10 days after the board makes a determination regarding probable cause. All information, records, and transcriptions regarding a complaint that has been determined to be legally sufficient to state a claim within the jurisdiction of the board become available to the public when the investigation ceases to be active, except information that is otherwise confidential or exempt from s. 119.07(1). However, in response to an inquiry about the licensure status of an individual, the management corporation shall disclose the existence of an active investigation if the nature of the violation under investigation involves the potential for substantial physical or financial harm to the public. The board shall designate by rule those violations that involve the potential for substantial physical or financial harm. The department and the board shall have access to all records of the management corporation, as necessary to exercise their authority to approve and supervise the contract.
(8) The management corporation is the sole source and depository for the records of the board, including all historical information and records. The management corporation shall maintain those records in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of State and shall not destroy any records prior to the limits imposed by the Department of State.
(9) The board shall provide by rule for the procedures the management corporation must follow to ensure that all licensure examinations are secure while under the responsibility of the management corporation and that there is an appropriate level of monitoring during the licensure examinations.
History.—ss. 2, 5, ch. 97-312; s. 112, ch. 98-166; s. 173, ch. 2000-160; ss. 1, 2, ch. 2000-372; s. 121, ch. 2001-266; s. 5, ch. 2003-293.
471.0385 Court action; effect.—If any provision of s. 471.038 is held to be unconstitutional or is held to violate the state or federal antitrust laws, the following shall occur:
(1) The corporation shall cease and desist from exercising any powers and duties enumerated in the act.
(2) The Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall resume the performance of such activities. The department shall regain and receive, hold, invest, and administer property and make expenditures for the benefit of the board.
(3) The Executive Office of the Governor, notwithstanding chapter 216, is authorized to reestablish positions, budget authority, and salary rate necessary to carry out the department’s responsibilities related to the regulation of professional engineers.
History.—s. 3, ch. 97-312.
471.045 Professional engineers performing building code inspector duties.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person who is currently licensed under this chapter to practice as a professional engineer may provide building code inspection services described in s. 468.603(5) and (8) to a local government or state agency upon its request, without being certified by the Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board under part XII of chapter 468. When performing these building code inspection services, the professional engineer is subject to the disciplinary guidelines of this chapter and s. 468.621(1)(c)-(h). Any complaint processing, investigation, and discipline that arise out of a professional engineer’s performing building code inspection services shall be conducted by the Board of Professional Engineers rather than the Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board. A professional engineer may not perform plans review as an employee of a local government upon any job that the professional engineer or the professional engineer’s company designed.
History.—s. 7, ch. 98-419; s. 10, ch. 99-254; s. 28, ch. 2000-372; s. 8, ch. 2017-149.