For Immediate Release - July 15, 2013

Division of Professional Licensure Proposes New Regulations for Engineers and Land Surveyors

BOSTON - Monday, July 15, 2013 - As part of Governor Deval Patrick's ongoing initiative to modernize and streamline state regulations to keep Massachusetts ahead of its economic competitors and reduce the cost of doing business, the Division of Professional Licensure today announced a proposal to comprehensively reform the rules governing the practices of engineering and land surveying in Massachusetts.  The reforms will allow the use of certain technologies in the course of business and clarify existing regulatory requirements for licensed professionals.

"The Patrick Administration recognizes the need for streamlined regulations, and we are making great strides," said Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "This reform shows our continuing efforts to help licensed professionals adapt to the changing technologies in their trades."

In October 2011, Governor Patrick announced a first in the nation effort to systematically review all state regulations and streamline regulations for small businesses. In 2012, 446 sets of regulations had been reviewed, leading to 286 opportunities for reform - which accounts for 64 percent of regulations reviewed and approximately 14 percent of total state regulations identified for modification or repeal. Agencies are now in the third round of review.

The Division held a public hearing Monday regarding their proposal, which comes after a significant review of current regulations by the Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors. The majority of regulations governing engineers and land surveyors have not been updated since 1993, and members of the professions have found the current regulations to be outdated and lacking structure.

In an effort to modernize existing regulations, the Board developed a new set of rules that more clearly articulates the requirements for licensure and recognizes important technological advancements that impact how licensees conduct business on a day-to-day basis.

"We thank the members of the Board for the time and careful attention they have given to the proposed regulations," said Mark Kmetz, Director of the Division of Professional Licensure.  "Engineers and land surveyors play a vital role in our state's economy, helping to build and maintain our infrastructure.  They deserve a regulatory code that is clear and coherent, and that reflects how their professions are practiced in the 21st century."

One proposed change will allow licensees to authenticate their work through the use of digital signatures and digitized professional stamps. Along with additional proposed changes, this will help modernize the profession by allowing the use of new technologies, saving time and increasing efficiency.

Another proposed change clarifies an existing requirement that businesses performing engineering work have an appropriately qualified licensee directly in charge of the work. Currently, a licensee cannot approve work unless it was performed by the licensee personally, or by an employee under the direct supervision of the licensee. The clarification will provide better guidance to small engineering and land surveying firms in their day-to-day operations, while also offering stronger protections to businesses and consumers utilizing the services of those firms.

The text of the proposed regulations is available online through DPL's website, www.mass.gov/ocabr/licensee/dpl-boards/en/. Written comments may be submitted to the Division of Professional Licensure, attention Erin LeBel, Executive Director, 1000 Washington Street, Suite 710, Boston, MA 02118-6100, or emailed to mailto:susan.e.coco@state.ma.us.  All comments must be submitted to the Division by 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 25, 2013.

Members of the engineering and surveying professions provide services to consumers in a  number of fields including chemical, civil, environmental, electrical, mechanical, structural, agricultural, aeronautical, aerospace, fire protection, manufacturing, industrial, nuclear, petroleum, and safety engineering.

The Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors licenses more than 16,000 individuals in these professions and sets and enforces licensing standards to ensure that licensees are competent and do not endanger public safety. It is one of the 31 professional and trade boards under the supervision of the Division of Professional Licensure, a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The agency is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for more than 370,000 licensees in trades and professions and also licenses and regulates private occupational schools.

The Division reminds consumers to visit its website at www.mass.gov/dpl and select the "Check a Professional's License" link to determine whether a professional with whom they may do business is licensed and in good standing.

 

###