2020 Florida Statutes
Qualification of business organizations.
Qualification of business organizations.
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.