Approved by Committee on Licensure on January 27, 2021
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on May 4, 2021
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 16, 2021
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recommends that agencies at all levels of government require licensure of their civil engineers, who are responsible for preparing, supervising, reviewing, and/or approving public policy, projects, and programs, in accordance with the legal professional requirements of the jurisdiction within which the project will be constructed or regulated. Government agencies are encouraged to pay licensure fees of their engineering employees.
Jurisdictions normally require professional engineers to seal and sign documents for which they have responsible charge. Such documents, whether prepared by consultants or in-house engineers, are normally reviewed by a supervising engineer of the administering public agency. However, in some jurisdictions the individuals responsible for review, approval, and design of such documents are not required to be licensed professional engineers and in many cases are exempted by state and federal law. Professional engineer licensure is the jurisdictional acknowledgement that the individual has met the minimum competency level to practice engineering in their jurisdiction.
Engineers are employed by agencies at all levels of government. The duties of these engineers cover a broad range of engineering responsibilities including, but not limited to, the following: development of policy that influences the planning, design, construction, sustainability, resiliency, maintenance, and operation of constructed projects; construction administration; review and approval of project reports; supervision or preparation of project designs, contract documents, and specifications; review and approval of plans and specifications prepared by others; review and approval of shop drawings; and preparation and approval of design changes.
While government engineers may be assisted by consultants, the long-term operation of the constructed project is the responsibility of the government agency. It logically follows that the government engineer should be professionally qualified to assume such responsibilities. Professional licensure is a common and preferred credential attesting to an engineer’s minimum qualifications. The engagement of engineering staff by government agencies is addressed in Policy Statement 138, “Engineering Services for Government Agencies.”
The government engineer may, from time to time, be asked to appear as an expert witness on behalf of that entity. Professional licensure is one of the measures used to establish competency needed to qualify and establish credibility as an expert witness.
This policy has worldwide application
ASCE Policy Statement 385
First Approved in 1991