Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Enforcement
How does an individual know when a P.E. (Professional Engineer) is required?
Refer to Sections 1001.053 and 1001.056 of the Texas Engineering Practice Act.
- When public money and electrical or mechanical engineering is involved and the contemplated expenditure for the project exceeds $8,000 (Section 1001.053);
- When public money is involved but electrical or mechanical engineering is not required and the contemplated expenditure for the project exceeds $20,000 (Section 1001.053);
- Apartments that are exceeding eight units for one-story buildings or exceeding four units for two-story buildings (Section 1001.056);
- Other buildings having more than one story; buildings that contain a clear span between supporting structures greater than 24 feet on the narrow side; and single story buildings having a total floor area over 5,000 square feet (Section 1001.056).
How do I find out if a license holder has had any complaints filed against him/her?
Contact the Board office and ask if a complaint has ever been filed against a professional engineer, an unlicensed person, or a firm offering to perform engineering services in Texas.
How do I sign my seal?
License holders should sign their name either above or below the seal so that the signature does not obscure the license holders name and license number.
When do I seal a document?
License holders should affix their engineer seal, signature, and date of execution to all documents containing the final version of any engineering work. Refer to Board Rule 137.31 and 137.33.
Can I use a computer-generated seal?
Yes, you may use a computer-generated seal and it may be of a reduced size provided that the engineer's name and number are clearly legible. Refer to Board Rule 137.31(c).
How can I use an electronic signature?
An electronic signature is a digital representation of an engineer's signature. It may be affixed to an electronic file and the engineering work may then be submitted electronically or printed and submitted with the printed version of the electronic signature. This allows an engineer to affix a computer-generated seal and an electronic signature to an engineering work. This may then be submitted either electronically or in printed form. This does not prohibit an engineer from placing an original wet seal or seal impression, and/or an original signature on any engineering work. By affixing an electronic signature to an engineering work, the engineer is taking the responsibility for that work being done by him or under his direct supervision. The engineer must maintain the security of the electronic signature consistent with maintaining the protection of their seal. Please be advised that local authorities may have additional/more stringent requirements.
Can I submit a bid for an engineering project?
A license holder can only submit a competitive bid on private engineering projects. A license holder cannot submit a competitive bid on public projects like projects for any city, county, state, or independent school district.
Does the board register firms?
Yes. Effective January 1, 2000, the Board began registering firms. You can obtain a Firm Registration Application by contacting the Board office or downloading the application from our web site. If the engineer is practicing engineering as a sole proprietor, he/she must also register as a firm. Section 1001.405
What title can I use if I'm a graduate engineer?
Graduates of all public universities recognized by the American Association of Colleges and Universities who have a degree from an ABET engineering program have the right to disclose any college degrees received and use the title "Graduate Engineer" on stationery, business cards, and personal communications of any character. A graduate engineer who is employed by a registered firm and who is supervised by a licensed professional engineer may use the term "engineer". Refer to the Texas Engineering Practice Act, Section 1001.406.
Can I perform land surveying or architecture as an engineer?
You may perform engineering surveys that includes all survey activities required to support the sound conception, planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of an engineered project, but does not include the surveying of real property and other activities regulated under the Professional Land Surveying Practices Act (Article 5282C, Vernon's Texas Civil Statues). Likewise, the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners governs the practice of architecture.
Do I need a license to be an expert witness?
No. Expert witnesses, as long as they are preparing documents or evidence for court, are exempted from licensure. Refer to the Texas Engineering Practice Act, Section 1001.004(e)(2).
Do I need to notify the board if I believe that someone has violated the Texas Engineering Practice Act or Board rules?
License holders shall first notify involved parties or the Board of any engineering decisions or practices that might endanger the health, safety, property, or welfare of the public. When, in an engineer's judgment, any risk to the public remains, unresolved, that engineer shall report any fraud, gross negligence, incompetence, misconduct, unethical or illegal conduct to the Board or proper civil or criminal authorities. Refer to Board Rule 137.55(c).
What do I do when I'm asked to correct or complete a project begun by another engineer?
An engineer, as a third party, may alter, complete, correct, revise, or add to the work of another engineer when engaged to do so by a client, provided: the client furnishes the documentation of such work submitted to the client by the first engineer. The second engineer of the engagement immediately upon acceptance of the engagement notifies the first engineer in writing. Any work altered, completed, corrected, revised, or added to shall have a seal affixed by the second engineer. The second engineer then becomes responsible for any alterations, additions or deletions to the original design including any effect or impact of those changes on the original engineer's design. Refer to Board Rule 137.33(i).
Can an architect perform the engineering for a building that is over 5,000 square feet?
No. Engineering for buildings that are in excess of 5,000 square feet must be performed by a licensed engineer in Texas. Refer to the Texas Engineering Practice Act, Sections 1001.056.
If I am licensed in another state, can I use the P.E. title in Texas?
Yes, but only when using a disclaimer. Refer to Engineering Advisory Opinion Request Number 10. The engineer may not offer engineering services in Texas, but they may identify themselves in the following manner: John W. Doe, P.E., Oklahoma (Not licensed in Texas)
Can an engineer who is licensed as a civil engineer practice in mechanical engineering or similar disciplines?
A license holder may perform any engineering assignment for which the engineer is qualified by education, examination, or experience to perform adequately and competently. Refer to Board Rule 137.59(b). Branches of competency can be found with the PE Search function.
How do I file a complaint?
Complaints shall be submitted on complaint forms provided by the Board or in a written format that includes a description of the violation, supporting information and factual evidence, names and addresses of witnesses, sources of other pertinent information, and what section of the Act or Board rule(s) have been violated. Refer to Board Rule 139.13.
Are disciplinary actions against a license holder open to the public?
Yes. Disciplinary actions against a license holder, except for an informal reprimand, are published on our web site.
Can a license holder receive a disciplinary sanction and administrative penalty?
Yes. The suggested sanctions and administrative penalties against license holders are set forth in Board Rule 139.35(b).
If I am not a licensed engineer and I am found to be illegally practicing engineering, can I be sanctioned by the Board?
Yes. The suggestion sanctions and administrative penalties against non-licensed individuals are set forth in Board Rule 139.31(a) and 139.35(c).