Florida Senate - 2019                              CS for SB 616
       By the Committee on Innovation, Industry, and Technology; and
       Senators Perry and Hutson
       580-03504-19                                           2019616c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to engineering; amending s. 455.271,
    3         F.S.; deleting a provision requiring a delinquent
    4         status licensee to apply for active or inactive
    5         status; requiring rulemaking to authorize licensees
    6         whose licenses are void to apply for reinstatement;
    7         amending s. 471.005, F.S.; revising definitions;
    8         amending s. 471.008, F.S.; revising the Board of
    9         Professional Engineers’ rulemaking authority; amending
   10         s. 471.011, F.S.; conforming provisions to changes
   11         made by the act; amending s. 471.013, F.S.; revising
   12         the prerequisites for a person to take an examination
   13         that determines whether she or he is qualified to
   14         practice in this state as an engineer; deleting an
   15         obsolete provision; amending s. 471.015, F.S.;
   16         revising licensure certification requirements to
   17         include active engineering experience and a minimum
   18         age; revising requirements for licensure by
   19         endorsement by the board; providing that the time
   20         period in which a licensure application must be
   21         granted or denied is tolled if an applicant is
   22         required to make a personal appearance before the
   23         board; authorizing the board to deny a license if such
   24         an applicant fails to appear before the board within a
   25         specified timeframe; amending s. 471.019, F.S.;
   26         requiring the board to adopt rules relating to a
   27         reinstatement process for void licenses; revising
   28         continuing education requirements for reactivating a
   29         license; amending s. 471.021, F.S.; requiring that
   30         temporary registrations be issued for certain work
   31         rather than certificates of authorization; amending s.
   32         471.023, F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made
   33         by the act; providing requirements for qualifying
   34         agents who terminate an affiliation with or cease
   35         employment with qualified business organizations;
   36         amending s. 471.025, F.S.; requiring a successor
   37         engineer to be able to independently re-create certain
   38         work when seeking to reuse certain documents;
   39         specifying that a successor engineer assumes full
   40         professional and legal responsibility by signing or
   41         affixing his or her seal to assumed documents;
   42         releasing the engineer who previously sealed the
   43         documents from any professional responsibility or
   44         civil liability for her or his work that is assumed by
   45         a successor engineer; defining the term “successor
   46         engineer”; amending s. 553.79, F.S.; requiring that
   47         structural inspections on a threshold building be
   48         performed during new construction or during certain
   49         repair or restoration projects; amending s. 553.791,
   50         F.S.; revising notice requirements for certain
   51         building code inspection services by private
   52         providers; decreasing the amount of time a local
   53         building official has to take certain actions after
   54         receiving a permit application and affidavit from a
   55         private provider; prohibiting a local building
   56         official from prohibiting a private provider from
   57         performing any inspection outside the local building
   58         official’s normal operating hours; providing an
   59         effective date.
   61  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   63         Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (6) of section
   64  455.271, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   65         455.271 Inactive and delinquent status.—
   66         (6)(a) A delinquent status licensee must affirmatively
   67  apply with a complete application, as defined by rule of the
   68  board, or the department if there is no board, for active or
   69  inactive status during the licensure cycle in which a licensee
   70  becomes delinquent. Failure by a delinquent status licensee to
   71  become active or inactive before the expiration of the current
   72  licensure cycle shall render the license void without any
   73  further action by the board or the department. The board, or the
   74  department if there is no board, shall adopt rules allowing a
   75  licensee whose license is void to apply for reinstatement.
   77  This subsection does not apply to individuals subject to
   78  regulation under chapter 473.
   79         Section 2. Subsections (13) of section 471.005, Florida
   80  Statutes, is redesignated as subsection (3), and present
   81  subsection (3) and subsection (8) of that section are amended,
   82  to read:
   83         471.005 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
   84         (3) “Certificate of authorization” means a license to
   85  practice engineering issued by the management corporation to a
   86  corporation or partnership.
   87         (8) “License” means the licensing of engineers or
   88  certification of businesses to practice engineering in this
   89  state.
   90         Section 3. Section 471.008, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   91  read:
   92         471.008 Rulemaking authority.—The board has authority to
   93  adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to:
   94         (1) Implement provisions of this chapter or chapter 455
   95  which confer conferring duties upon it.
   96         (2) Ensure competence in the practice of engineering.
   97         (3)Ensure accuracy, completeness, and quality in the
   98  engineering products provided.
   99         Section 4. Subsection (4) of section 471.011, Florida
  100  Statutes, is amended to read:
  101         471.011 Fees.—
  102         (4) The fee for a certificate of authorization shall not
  103  exceed $125.
  104         Section 5. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
  105  471.013, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  106         471.013 Examinations; prerequisites.—
  107         (1)(a) A person shall be entitled to take an examination
  108  for the purpose of determining whether she or he is qualified to
  109  practice in this state as an engineer if the person is of good
  110  moral character and:
  111         1. Is a graduate from an approved engineering curriculum of
  112  4 years or more in a school, college, or university which has
  113  been approved by the board and has a record of 4 years of active
  114  engineering experience of a character indicating competence to
  115  be in responsible charge of engineering; or
  116         2. Is a graduate of an approved engineering technology
  117  curriculum of 4 years or more in a school, college, or
  118  university which has been approved by the board within the State
  119  University System, having been enrolled or having graduated
  120  prior to July 1, 1979, and has a record of 4 years of active
  121  engineering experience of a character indicating competence to
  122  be in responsible charge of engineering; or
  123         3. Has, in lieu of such education and experience
  124  requirements, 10 years or more of active engineering work of a
  125  character indicating that the applicant is competent to be
  126  placed in responsible charge of engineering. However, this
  127  subparagraph does not apply unless such person notifies the
  128  department before July 1, 1984, that she or he was engaged in
  129  such work on July 1, 1981.
  131  The board shall adopt rules providing for the review and
  132  approval of schools or colleges and the courses of study in
  133  engineering in such schools and colleges. The rules must shall
  134  be based on the educational requirements for engineering as
  135  defined in s. 471.005. The board may adopt rules providing for
  136  the acceptance of the approval and accreditation of schools and
  137  courses of study by a nationally accepted accreditation
  138  organization.
  139         Section 6. Subsections (2), (3), (5), and (6) of section
  140  471.015, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  141         471.015 Licensure.—
  142         (2)(a) The board shall certify for licensure any applicant
  143  who has submitted proof satisfactory to the board that he or she
  144  is at least 18 years of age and who:
  145         1. Satisfies the requirements of s. 471.013(1)(a)1. and has
  146  a record of 4 years of active engineering experience of a
  147  character indicating competence to be in responsible charge of
  148  engineering; or
  149         2. Satisfies the requirements of s. 471.013(1)(a)2. and has
  150  a record of 6 years of active engineering experience of a
  151  character indicating competence to be in responsible charge of
  152  engineering s. 471.013.
  153         (b) The board may refuse to certify any applicant who has
  154  violated any of the provisions of s. 471.031.
  155         (3) The board shall certify as qualified for a license by
  156  endorsement an applicant who:
  157         (a) Qualifies to take the fundamentals examination and the
  158  principles and practice examination as set forth in s. 471.013,
  159  has passed a United States national, regional, state, or
  160  territorial licensing examination that is substantially
  161  equivalent to the fundamentals examination and principles and
  162  practice examination required by s. 471.013, and has satisfied
  163  the experience requirements set forth in paragraph (2)(a) and s.
  164  471.013; or
  165         (b) Holds a valid license to practice engineering issued by
  166  another state or territory of the United States, if the criteria
  167  for issuance of the license were substantially the same as the
  168  licensure criteria that existed in this state at the time the
  169  license was issued.
  170         (5)(a) The board shall deem that an applicant who seeks
  171  licensure by endorsement has passed an examination substantially
  172  equivalent to the fundamentals examination when such applicant
  173  has held a valid professional engineer’s license in another
  174  state for 10 15 years and has had 15 20 years of continuous
  175  professional-level engineering experience.
  176         (b) The board shall deem that an applicant who seeks
  177  licensure by endorsement has passed an examination substantially
  178  equivalent to the fundamentals examination and the principles
  179  and practices examination when such applicant has held a valid
  180  professional engineer’s license in another state for 20 25 years
  181  and has had 25 30 years of continuous professional-level
  182  engineering experience.
  183         (6) The board may require a personal appearance by any
  184  applicant for licensure under this chapter. Any applicant of
  185  whom a personal appearance is required must be given adequate
  186  notice of the time and place of the appearance and provided with
  187  a statement of the purpose of and reasons requiring the
  188  appearance. If an applicant is required to appear, the time
  189  period within which a licensure application must be granted or
  190  denied is tolled until such time as the applicant appears.
  191  However, if the applicant fails to appear before the board at
  192  either of the next two regularly scheduled board meetings, the
  193  application for licensure may be denied.
  194         Section 7. Section 471.019, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  195  read:
  196         471.019 Reactivation.—The board shall prescribe by rule a
  197  reinstatement process for void licenses which includes
  198  establishing appropriate continuing education requirements for
  199  reactivating a license. The continuing education requirements
  200  for reactivating a license for a licensed engineer may not
  201  exceed the continuing education requirements prescribed pursuant
  202  to s. 471.017 12 classroom hours for each year the license was
  203  inactive.
  204         Section 8. Section 471.021, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  205  read:
  206         471.021 Engineers and firms of other states; temporary
  207  registration certificates to practice in Florida.—
  208         (1) Upon approval of the board and payment of the fee set
  209  in s. 471.011, the management corporation shall issue a
  210  temporary license for work on one specified project in this
  211  state for a period not to exceed 1 year to an engineer holding a
  212  certificate to practice in another state, provided Florida
  213  licensees are similarly permitted to engage in work in such
  214  state and provided that the engineer be qualified for licensure
  215  by endorsement.
  216         (2) Upon approval by the board and payment of the fee set
  217  in s. 471.011, the management corporation shall issue a
  218  temporary registration certificate of authorization for work on
  219  one specified project in this state for a period not to exceed 1
  220  year to an out-of-state corporation, partnership, or firm,
  221  provided one of the principal officers of the corporation, one
  222  of the partners of the partnership, or one of the principals in
  223  the fictitiously named firm has obtained a temporary license in
  224  accordance with subsection (1).
  225         (3) The application for a temporary license shall require
  226  the constitute appointment of the Department of State as an
  227  agent of the applicant for service of process in any action or
  228  proceeding against the applicant arising out of any transaction
  229  or operation connected with or incidental to the practice of
  230  engineering for which the temporary license was issued.
  231         Section 9. Section 471.023, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  232  read:
  233         471.023 Registration Certification of business
  234  organizations.—
  235         (1) The practice of, or the offer to practice, engineering
  236  by licensees or offering engineering services to the public
  237  through a business organization, including a partnership,
  238  corporation, business trust, or other legal entity or by a
  239  business organization, including a corporation, partnership,
  240  business trust, or other legal entity offering such services to
  241  the public through licensees under this chapter as agents,
  242  employees, officers, or partners is permitted only if the
  243  business organization is registered with possesses a
  244  certification issued by the management corporation pursuant to
  245  qualification by the board, subject to the provisions of this
  246  chapter. One or more of the principal officers of the business
  247  organization or one or more partners of the partnership and all
  248  personnel of the business organization who act in its behalf as
  249  engineers in this state shall be licensed as provided by this
  250  chapter. All final drawings, specifications, plans, reports, or
  251  documents involving practices licensed under this chapter which
  252  are prepared or approved for the use of the business
  253  organization or for public record within the state shall be
  254  dated and shall bear the signature and seal of the licensee who
  255  prepared or approved them. Nothing in this section shall be
  256  construed to mean that a license to practice engineering shall
  257  be held by a business organization. Nothing herein prohibits
  258  business organizations from joining together to offer
  259  engineering services to the public, if each business
  260  organization otherwise meets the requirements of this section.
  261  No business organization shall be relieved of responsibility for
  262  the conduct or acts of its agents, employees, or officers by
  263  reason of its compliance with this section, nor shall any
  264  individual practicing engineering be relieved of responsibility
  265  for professional services performed by reason of his or her
  266  employment or relationship with a business organization.
  267         (2) For the purposes of this section, registration with the
  268  management corporation a certificate of authorization shall be
  269  required for any business organization or other person
  270  practicing under a fictitious name, offering engineering
  271  services to the public. However, when an individual is
  272  practicing engineering in his or her own given name, he or she
  273  shall not be required to be registered licensed under this
  274  section.
  275         (3) Except as provided in s. 558.0035, the fact that a
  276  licensed engineer practices through a business organization does
  277  not relieve the licensee from personal liability for negligence,
  278  misconduct, or wrongful acts committed by him or her.
  279  Partnerships and all partners shall be jointly and severally
  280  liable for the negligence, misconduct, or wrongful acts
  281  committed by their agents, employees, or partners while acting
  282  in a professional capacity. Any officer, agent, or employee of a
  283  business organization other than a partnership shall be
  284  personally liable and accountable only for negligent acts,
  285  wrongful acts, or misconduct committed by him or her or
  286  committed by any person under his or her direct supervision and
  287  control, while rendering professional services on behalf of the
  288  business organization. The personal liability of a shareholder
  289  or owner of a business organization, in his or her capacity as
  290  shareholder or owner, shall be no greater than that of a
  291  shareholder-employee of a corporation incorporated under chapter
  292  607. The business organization shall be liable up to the full
  293  value of its property for any negligent acts, wrongful acts, or
  294  misconduct committed by any of its officers, agents, or
  295  employees while they are engaged on its behalf in the rendering
  296  of professional services.
  297         (4) Each certification of authorization shall be renewed
  298  every 2 years. Each business organization registered certified
  299  under this section must notify the board within 1 month after
  300  any change in the information contained in the application upon
  301  which the registration certification is based.
  302         (a)A qualifying agent who terminates an affiliation with a
  303  qualified business organization must notify the board, by a
  304  process established by rule, of such termination within 24 hours
  305  after the termination. If such qualifying agent is the only
  306  qualifying agent for that business organization, the business
  307  organization must be qualified by another qualifying agent
  308  within 60 days after the termination. Except as provided in
  309  paragraph (b), the business organization may not engage in the
  310  practice of engineering until it is qualified by another
  311  qualifying agent.
  312         (b) In the event a qualifying agent ceases employment with
  313  a qualified business organization and such qualifying agent is
  314  the only licensed individual affiliated with the business
  315  organization, the board may authorize another licensee employed
  316  by the business organization to temporarily serve as its
  317  qualifying agent for a period of not more than 60 days to
  318  proceed with incomplete contracts. The business organization may
  319  not operate beyond such period under this chapter absent
  320  replacement of the qualifying agent.
  321         (c) A qualifying agent shall notify the board, by a process
  322  established by rule, before engaging in the practice of
  323  engineering in affiliation with a different business
  324  organization.
  325         (5) Disciplinary action against a business organization
  326  shall be administered in the same manner and on the same grounds
  327  as disciplinary action against a licensed engineer.
  328         Section 10. Subsection (4) is added to section 471.025,
  329  Florida Statutes, to read:
  330         471.025 Seals.—
  331         (4) A successor engineer seeking to reuse documents
  332  previously sealed by another engineer must be able to
  333  independently re-create all of the work done by the original
  334  engineer. A successor engineer assumes full professional and
  335  legal responsibility by signing and affixing his or her seal to
  336  the assumed documents. Such documents must be treated as though
  337  they were the successor engineer’s original product, and the
  338  original engineer is released from any professional
  339  responsibility or civil liability for prior work assumed by the
  340  successor engineer. For the purposes of this subsection, the
  341  term “successor engineer” means an engineer who is using or
  342  relying upon the work, findings, or recommendations of the
  343  engineer who previously sealed the pertinent documents.
  344         Section 11. Paragraph (a) of subsection (5) of section
  345  553.79, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  346         553.79 Permits; applications; issuance; inspections.—
  347         (5)(a) During new construction or during repair or
  348  restoration projects in which the structural system or
  349  structural loading of a threshold building is being modified,
  350  the enforcing agency shall require a special inspector to
  351  perform structural inspections on the a threshold building
  352  pursuant to a structural inspection plan prepared by the
  353  engineer or architect of record. The structural inspection plan
  354  must be submitted to and approved by the enforcing agency before
  355  the issuance of a building permit for the construction, repair,
  356  or restoration of a threshold building. The purpose of the
  357  structural inspection plan is to provide specific inspection
  358  procedures and schedules so that the building can be adequately
  359  inspected for compliance with the permitted documents. The
  360  special inspector may not serve as a surrogate in carrying out
  361  the responsibilities of the building official, the architect, or
  362  the engineer of record. The contractor’s contractual or
  363  statutory obligations are not relieved by any action of the
  364  special inspector. The special inspector shall determine that a
  365  professional engineer who specializes in shoring design has
  366  inspected the shoring and reshoring for conformance with the
  367  shoring and reshoring plans submitted to the enforcing agency. A
  368  fee simple title owner of a building, which does not meet the
  369  minimum size, height, occupancy, occupancy classification, or
  370  number-of-stories criteria which would result in classification
  371  as a threshold building under s. 553.71(12), may designate such
  372  building as a threshold building, subject to more than the
  373  minimum number of inspections required by the Florida Building
  374  Code.
  375         Section 12. Subsections (4) and (5), paragraphs (a), (b),
  376  and (c) of subsection (7), and subsection (9) of section
  377  553.791, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  378         553.791 Alternative plans review and inspection.—
  379         (4) A fee owner or the fee owner’s contractor using a
  380  private provider to provide building code inspection services
  381  shall notify the local building official at the time of permit
  382  application, or no later than 2 p.m. of the business day before
  383  less than 7 business days prior to the first scheduled
  384  inspection by the local building official or building code
  385  enforcement agency for a private provider performing required
  386  inspections of construction under this section, on a form to be
  387  adopted by the commission. This notice shall include the
  388  following information:
  389         (a) The services to be performed by the private provider.
  390         (b) The name, firm, address, telephone number, and
  391  facsimile number of each private provider who is performing or
  392  will perform such services, his or her professional license or
  393  certification number, qualification statements or resumes, and,
  394  if required by the local building official, a certificate of
  395  insurance demonstrating that professional liability insurance
  396  coverage is in place for the private provider’s firm, the
  397  private provider, and any duly authorized representative in the
  398  amounts required by this section.
  399         (c) An acknowledgment from the fee owner in substantially
  400  the following form:
  402         I have elected to use one or more private providers to
  403         provide building code plans review and/or inspection
  404         services on the building or structure that is the
  405         subject of the enclosed permit application, as
  406         authorized by s. 553.791, Florida Statutes. I
  407         understand that the local building official may not
  408         review the plans submitted or perform the required
  409         building inspections to determine compliance with the
  410         applicable codes, except to the extent specified in
  411         said law. Instead, plans review and/or required
  412         building inspections will be performed by licensed or
  413         certified personnel identified in the application. The
  414         law requires minimum insurance requirements for such
  415         personnel, but I understand that I may require more
  416         insurance to protect my interests. By executing this
  417         form, I acknowledge that I have made inquiry regarding
  418         the competence of the licensed or certified personnel
  419         and the level of their insurance and am satisfied that
  420         my interests are adequately protected. I agree to
  421         indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the local
  422         government, the local building official, and their
  423         building code enforcement personnel from any and all
  424         claims arising from my use of these licensed or
  425         certified personnel to perform building code
  426         inspection services with respect to the building or
  427         structure that is the subject of the enclosed permit
  428         application.
  430  If the fee owner or the fee owner’s contractor makes any changes
  431  to the listed private providers or the services to be provided
  432  by those private providers, the fee owner or the fee owner’s
  433  contractor shall, within 1 business day after any change, update
  434  the notice to reflect such changes. A change of a duly
  435  authorized representative named in the permit application does
  436  not require a revision of the permit, and the building code
  437  enforcement agency shall not charge a fee for making the change.
  438  In addition, the fee owner or the fee owner’s contractor shall
  439  post at the project site, prior to the commencement of
  440  construction and updated within 1 business day after any change,
  441  on a form to be adopted by the commission, the name, firm,
  442  address, telephone number, and facsimile number of each private
  443  provider who is performing or will perform building code
  444  inspection services, the type of service being performed, and
  445  similar information for the primary contact of the private
  446  provider on the project.
  447         (5) After construction has commenced and if the local
  448  building official is unable to provide inspection services in a
  449  timely manner, the fee owner or the fee owner’s contractor may
  450  elect to use a private provider to provide inspection services
  451  by notifying the local building official of the owner’s or
  452  contractor’s intention to do so no later than 2 p.m. of the
  453  business day before less than 7 business days prior to the next
  454  scheduled inspection using the notice provided for in paragraphs
  455  (4)(a)-(c).
  456         (7)(a) No more than 15 30 business days after receipt of a
  457  permit application and the affidavit from the private provider
  458  required pursuant to subsection (6), the local building official
  459  shall issue the requested permit or provide a written notice to
  460  the permit applicant identifying the specific plan features that
  461  do not comply with the applicable codes, as well as the specific
  462  code chapters and sections. If the local building official does
  463  not provide a written notice of the plan deficiencies within the
  464  prescribed 15-day 30-day period, the permit application shall be
  465  deemed approved as a matter of law, and the permit shall be
  466  issued by the local building official on the next business day.
  467         (b) If the local building official provides a written
  468  notice of plan deficiencies to the permit applicant within the
  469  prescribed 15-day 30-day period, the 15-day 30-day period shall
  470  be tolled pending resolution of the matter. To resolve the plan
  471  deficiencies, the permit applicant may elect to dispute the
  472  deficiencies pursuant to subsection (13) or to submit revisions
  473  to correct the deficiencies.
  474         (c) If the permit applicant submits revisions, the local
  475  building official has the remainder of the tolled 15-day 30-day
  476  period plus 5 business days to issue the requested permit or to
  477  provide a second written notice to the permit applicant stating
  478  which of the previously identified plan features remain in
  479  noncompliance with the applicable codes, with specific reference
  480  to the relevant code chapters and sections. If the local
  481  building official does not provide the second written notice
  482  within the prescribed time period, the permit shall be issued by
  483  the local building official on the next business day.
  484         (9) A private provider performing required inspections
  485  under this section shall provide notice to the local building
  486  official of the date and approximate time of any such inspection
  487  no later than the prior business day by 2 p.m. local time or by
  488  any later time permitted by the local building official in that
  489  jurisdiction. The local building official may not prohibit the
  490  private provider from performing any inspection outside of the
  491  local building official’s normal operating hours, including
  492  before and after normal business hours, on weekends, or on
  493  holidays. The local building official may visit the building
  494  site as often as necessary to verify that the private provider
  495  is performing all required inspections. A deficiency notice must
  496  be posted at the job site by the private provider, the duly
  497  authorized representative of the private provider, or the
  498  building department whenever a noncomplying item related to the
  499  building code or the permitted documents is found. After
  500  corrections are made, the item must be reinspected by the
  501  private provider or representative before being concealed.
  502  Reinspection or reaudit fees shall not be charged by the local
  503  jurisdiction as a result of the local jurisdiction’s audit
  504  inspection occurring before the performance of the private
  505  provider’s inspection or for any other administrative matter not
  506  involving the detection of a violation of the building code or a
  507  permit requirement.
  508         Section 13. This act shall take effect October 1, 2019.