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Policy Statement 443 - Indemnification for Pro Bono Service

 

Approved by the Engineering Practice Policy Committee on March 15, 2018
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 6, 2018
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2018

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) endorses legislation to protect professional engineers from professional liability claims when providing pro bono services to charitable causes and in emergency situations.

Issue

ASCE encourages its members, as individuals, to provide pro bono expertise and professional services to domestic and international charitable causes and in emergency situations. Members who provide professional services pro bono for ASCE endorsed programs are covered by the Society's professional liability insurance. However, pro bono services provided by an individual in emergency situations or in other volunteer situations not endorsed by ASCE are not protected against professional liability claims that may arise as part of furnishing these services. Engineers in emergency or other pro bono volunteer situations may be called upon to make recommendations with limited information.  

Rationale

Professional engineers are often called to provide pro bono services in emergency situations and to charitable causes. These services may not be covered by the professional liability insurance provided by engineers' employers. Professional engineers have the technical ability to assist in emergency situations and to aid charitable undertakings. This policy addresses the need for laws to provide liability protections for volunteer actions taken by the engineer without benefit of professional liability insurance. The medical and legal professions have professional liability protections to cover similar situations. Professional engineers provide comparable services that warrant similar professional liability protection. With such protection, engineers will be more inclined to provide pro bono services.

Protection as proposed would not relieve engineers of the responsibility to act in accordance with the Code of Ethics. When providing these pro bono services, engineers must continue to practice within their areas of professional expertise. 

ASCE Policy Statement 443
First Approved in 1996   


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