NYC DOB and DDC to Address Design Professionals on October 19th at NYC Design Professionals Day.

On Friday October 19th, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) will provide several presentations to inform design professionals and the construction industry about important design considerations and about conducting inspections in the City, as well as about the recent initiatives by the department. The event will be held at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering (NYU-Poly), Pfizer Auditorium, 5 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201. For more information and to RSVP to the event CLICK HERE.

The full day event will begin with a keynote speech by DOB’s First Deputy Commissioner Thomas Fariello R.A., who will discuss recent developments and an update on the online filing system being implemented by the department. DOB’s Chief Structural Engineer Dan Eschenasy, PE, F.SEI, SECB, will provide an overview of post fire structural investigations by design professionals (1 PDH). Chief of DOB’s Forensic Engineering Unit, Tim Lynch PE, will discuss Building Typology and NYC’s building classifications system (1 PDH) as well as lessons from the recent damage assessments in Puerto Rico (1 PDH). In addition, DOB’s Director of Sustainability Enforcement, Holly Savoia PE will discuss TR-8 energy progress inspections conducted by design professionals in New York City (1 PDH).

In addition, the Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Department of Design & Construction (DDC) Eric Macfarlane, PE, M.ASCE, will provide an overview of New York City’s efforts to engineer sustainability and resiliency in the face of Global warming and associated sea level rise projection and extreme weather events (1 PDH). Mr. Macfarlane will discuss NYC’s emissions reduction efforts to date and NYC’s Roadmap to 80% GHG reduction by 2050. Also discussed will be a few DDC projects and case studies related to sustainability and resiliency and 80X20 efforts to preserve and improve the quality of life for NYC residents. For more information and to RSVP to the event use the following link: RSVP to Event.

The presentation by DOB’s Director of Sustainability Enforcement, Holly Savoia PE will include a discussion on changes in the energy code and the continually evolving knowledge base of design professionals in an effort to improve energy performance and sustainable building practices in construction. Strong enforcement and education are a necessary component of this effort, and TR-8 progress inspectors play a crucial part in the bridge between the design phase and construction. The presentation will identify the resources available to design professionals for the conduct of progress inspections with respect to the energy code, the administration process to be followed, lessons learned by the Department of Buildings during a recent pilot study of alteration projects, a discussion of challenges, and what is coming up on the horizon.

[Read more…]

State Education Department Launches Paths to the Professions Website

NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 20, 2018
Media Contact: Jonathan Burman, Jeanne Beattie or JP O’Hare
(518) 474-1201         www.nysed.gov

STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT LAUNCHES PATHS TO THE PROFESSIONS WEBSITE

New Website Offers Information on Careers in over 50 Licensed Professions for Students, Parents & Adults

The State Education Department today launched the Paths to the Professions website, a new site aimed at highlighting careers in the licensed professions. The website is a comprehensive tool that offers students, parents and educators an opportunity to learn more about obtaining a professional license.

“Many students graduate high school undecided about what their next step to start a career should be,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “The Paths to the Professions website allows students to explore careers that match closely with their strengths and interests, helping to make the transition from school to a career in the licensed professions as seamless as possible.”

“For students across the state, the school year has just started but whether you just started the school year or are someone thinking about a new career, it’s never too early to explore your options,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “By introducing students and educators to careers in the licensed professions, the Paths to the Professions website provides a road map to careers in the licensed professions.”

The Department’s Office of the Professions, under the direction of the Board of Regents, licenses over 50 professions and oversees nearly 900,000 active professionals. Designed to give students and job seekers a sneak peek at these professions, the new website features insightful profiles for each of the licensed professions. Each profession’s profile highlights what practitioners do, valuable skills and interests that match up with the profession, license requirements, and more. In addition, many profiles offer a video overview of the profession.

Students will have access to explore over 50 professions or select a category of interest:
Health Sciences
Human Services
Business
Design and STEM [Read more…]

NYSSPE – FALL 2018 Select Legislative and Regulatory Update   

NYSSPE – FALL 2018 Select Legislative and Regulatory Update       

Parking Garage Inspections
NYSSPE commends the NYS Department of State and NYS Code Council for final adoption of regulations which are aimed at assuring public safety by requiring periodic inspections of public garages to be conducted by qualified professional engineers.  The new rule (Parts 1202, 1203, and 1204 of Title 19 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations) found at: https://www.dos.ny.gov/dcea/noticadopt.html has an effective date of August 29, 2018.  Inspections are required to be undertaken at least once every three years by properly credential professional engineers.  The Society had initially sought passage of legislation to address the absence of mandatory garage inspections in 2016 and thereafter worked with the Department of State and the Code Council to secure this important public safety measure.

Indemnification
Legislation addressing the issue of design professional contractual indemnification on public sector projects (state and local) was a top priority for the Society in 2018.  Unfortunately, after securing near unanimous passage the legislation (A8293-A Morelle / S6622-A Senator Ranzenhofer – 2018) in both houses of the legislature, Governor Cuomo veto the measure due to strong opposition from state agencies and local governments.  The legislation addresses public sector contracts wherein municipalities, state agencies and other governmental entities have inordinate leverage over the terms of indemnification.  Presently, governmental entities can and do unfairly shift the burden to design consulting firms for the cost of future contingent events such as property damage, personal injury and attorneys’ fees with liability arising solely from the terms of the contract and not wrongdoing on the part of the designer.  In many instances design professionals are unable to secure insurance to cover the scope of claims these provisions can generate.   The bill addressed indemnification inequity by voiding contractual provisions requiring defense and indemnification involving a public work to the extent that a design professional is required to defend and indemnify a municipality, state agency, and other governmental entity or other parties for damages that are not the result of the negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct of the design professional.  Responsibility for loses related to the actions or failures of other parties that are unrelated to the design professional services rightfully rest with the at-fault party or parties.  Design professions simply should not be compelled to provide indemnification for such conduct.

Notwithstanding the design community’s efforts Governor Cuomo vetoed the bill on the ground that the statute would have unnecessarily restricted state and local government’s bargaining power and lead to potential higher costs to governmental units. Both the New York State Conference of Mayors and the New York State Association of Counties along with the general contractors opposed the legislation.  NYSSPE remains committed to adoption of remedial legislation in this area over the long term.  Similar laws are in place in more than 20 sister states.

In the interim the Governor directed that state agencies review current indemnification requirement with a view toward ameliorating the terms of indemnification where gaps in insurance coverages are found.  The Society will be working to insure that our voice is heard on the agency level.

Bachelors’ DegreeProfessional Engineering
 Both houses of the NYS legislature have passed legislation in previous sessions which would for the first time in New York required an applicant for a PE license to have post secondary education consisting of a bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering.  Unfortunately, the Society has not succeeded in passing the bill in both houses in the same year.  We are optimistic that 2019 may provide an opportunity to secure passage in the same year.    [Read more…]

2018 Incoming President Message from James J. Kuhn, PE.

Thank you for electing me to the position of President of NYSSPE. My journey began with the NYSSPE in 2002. Jennifer Miller invited me to a business card exchange event, and I became a member.  I recognized that being part of the NYSSPE gave me and fellow members the opportunity to learn important business skills, as well as interact with experienced licensed professional engineers. Over time, I got more and more involved with the leadership of the organization, thanks to Wally Waidelich and Jim Galarneau.

I remember a day on the golf course with my father, when someone asked me what I did for a living. I said I was an engineer, and my dad was quick to correct me.  He said “No, you are a professional engineer”. That’s the moment when I realized the standing and recognition of what PE meant to others.

While being involved in the NYSSPE for the past 16 years, I have met many dedicated PE’s and Presidents of this organization. It is with gratitude and respect that I acknowledge Laura Pellizzi, PE, who finishes her term as the organization’s first 2-year term President.

What I’ve learned about Laura is that she’s extremely driven, determined, persistent, and organized. She has accomplished a lot during her term, including recognizing and affecting change in management, increasing activity on a National level, helping to update the Constitution and By-laws, and getting an accurate financial picture. She did a fantastic job getting the operations in order, and leading Executive Committee, Administration, and Board meetings. Laura has unquestionably had the Society’s interest and perpetuation as a top priority. And she did all this as a “volunteer”! Thank you, Laura.

I am very pleased to be working with a wonderfully dedicated staff in Jen Miller, Kathryn Viggiani, and Rachel Pieniazek.  I thank each of them for their hard work and professionalism put forth each day.  In addition to these three terrific ladies that make up the “office” (near and far), we have Mark Kriss, who supports our activities on various fronts. We also have well-rounded Executive and Administrative committees. With everyone’s efforts, we will continue the path that our past presidents and leaders took, while paving new paths with our current and future leaders, and members on the National, State, and Chapter levels.

As we look ahead to the next two years, we need to adapt and evolve while staying true to our mission of protecting the license. Times are changing, and I encourage our members to be part of this change. Stay tuned as we work to develop the next set of initiatives.  Your interaction and ideas are welcome.

I look forward to the next two years.  Thank you.

 

 

 

James J. Kuhn, PE
NYSSPE President

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Note: NYSSPE facilitates posting on this blog, but the views and accounts expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not the views or accounts of NYSSPE, its officers or directors whose views and accounts may or may not be similar or identical. NYSSPE, its officers and directors do not express any opinion regarding any product or service by virtue of reference to such product or service in this blog.

 

Engineering Ethics: How to Protect Your Engineering License

By Lewis Tesser and Randall Tesser

Bad things happen to good engineers.  Each year, some well-intentioned professional engineers cross over the misconduct threshold, and many, many more are the subject of disciplinary investigations even though they have not committed an ethical violation.  Therefore, it is worth discussing the factors triggering disciplinary investigations and the circumstances frequently attending disciplinary violations.  Whether or not misconduct has been committed, avoiding even the appearance of ethical pitfalls will save you time, money and stress, keep your clients satisfied, and safeguard your license.

Communication, Communication, Communication

In any profession, the vast majority of complaints emanate from unsatisfied clients.[1] The remedy is apparent; keep the customer satisfied. The best way to do this is to maintain good communication. Often, timely and honest communication is the single easiest and greatest step that any professional can take to reduce the likelihood of receiving complaints. What is involved?

Promptly return phone calls and e-mails. Whether you are working directly for a client, are working through a contractor or are part of an organization, whoever your point person is, keep them informed. When clients do not hear from you—even if you are hard at work—they may believe that their project is not important to you. Of course, you do not have to respond to each and every call ten times a day. The key is to communicate. Establish a policy regarding response time, and stick to it. If you are unable to respond, make sure to explain the reason for the unavailability and make a realistic promise as to when the call will be returned.

Document your work. Keep contemporaneous notes of relevant conversations, important events, time devoted and expenses incurred. Maintain records in a way that you can easily retrieve them. With good recordkeeping, you can show your clients all the hard work that you put into their projects. This will be especially useful if a bill is higher than usual.

Speaking of bills, clients should never be surprised. You may feel awkward having spent more time than expected on a project. That is the time to communicate with the client (or your company). Let them know ahead of time if you expect a bill to be high, and explain why the bill is higher than usual (using your well documented records). Consider sending out your bills frequently and regularly so they are not stuck with one big number at the end.

Be Wary of Ethical Grey Areas

            While being a licensed professional involves certain privileges, it also limits the scope of your practice. There are certain activities that are prohibited for professional engineers to take part in, either because they are not the work of a professional engineer, or because they pose a conflict of interest. For example, in some states an engineer may not work for, or with, the government while they are being regulated as a professional. In addition, professional engineers often may not perform work where they have an undisclosed financial interest in a project.[2]

On that note, be aware of local laws and regulations. Different states, counties and municipalities impose different requirements on the practice of engineering. Regardless of where your license was issued, violating local rules and regulations can put your license in jeopardy. A little bit of research goes a long way when working in new or unfamiliar localities. [Read more…]

Legislative Update: Indemnification Passed in Assembly

A.8293A /S.6622A INDEMNIFICATION

A.8293A /S.6622A yesterday passed the Assembly, giving it two-house passage. The bill, which passed the Senate last week, protects design professionals from broad form indemnity demands in public works contracts on both the state and local levels.  These indemnity provisions shift responsibility for damages from the government or third parties (who were at fault) to PEs and other design professionals.  In short, when something goes wrong on a project, though no fault of the design professional, the law should not permit contract terms to shift responsibility to the design professional or the professional design firm. This is precisely what this legislation prohibits.

To read NYSSPE’s entire memorandum in support CLICK HERE.

We extend a huge thank you to our members who have reached out to their legislators on this priority issue.  We would further like to thank other design professional organizations which have joined in the effort.  Governor Cuomo’s approval of this measure, now the focus of our attention, is the next step needed to put this law in place.

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Note: NYSSPE facilitates posting on this blog, but the views and accounts expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not the views or accounts of NYSSPE, its officers or directors whose views and accounts may or may not be similar or identical. NYSSPE, its officers and directors do not express any opinion regarding any product or service by virtue of reference to such product or service in this blog.

NYSSPE 2018 Annual Conference Recap

The New York State Society of Professional Engineers held their annual conference in Saratoga Springs, NY June 15th and 16th.  The conference was well attended by over 100 engineers and included a variety of learning sessions cover trending topics such as Bio-Engineering, Energy Code, Ethics and Large Diameter Infrastructure needs.  NYSSPE had the pleasure of welcoming Kodi Verhalen, P.E., Esq., F.NSPE; NSPE Immediate Past President who attended conference and Board Meetings.

On Friday evening NYSSPE hosted the Annual Awards and Installation Dinner, during which James Kuhn, P.E. was inducted as the 2018-2020 NYSSPE President.  The awards dinner highlighted NYSSPE award winners that have impacted the industry through a multitude of disciplines and recognized the high honor of Rockland Chapter’s Andrew Yarmus, P.E., F.NSPE who was recently chosen for NSPE Fellow Member and Capital District Chapter’s Nikhil Bodhankar, P.E. who was awarded both NSPE & NYSSPE’s 2018 Young Engineer of the Year.  The project of the year was awarded to PE’s in Construction (PEC) Project of the Year:  The Moynihan Train Hall and Farley Building Redevelopment – Phase 1– New West End.   [Read more…]

NYSSPE Members Benefit with New York/National Long-Term Care Brokers

As a member of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers you have access to a valuable benefit program. NYSSPE  have partnered with New York/National Long-Term Care Brokers (NYLTCB) to offer Long-Term Care Insurance with discounted premiums. The program is subject to medical underwriting and insurability is not guaranteed.

Reasons people plan ahead for Long-Term Care:
• To protect retirement assets and pension income;
• To prevent Medicaid spend down (impoverishment);
• To ensure options for health care; and
• To avoid being a burden to loved ones.
As a NYSSPE member, this offering is made available to you and your eligible family members with a permanent discount, not available to the general public. Eligible family members include spouses/domestic partners, adult children and parents/parents-in-law.

Members have access to a dedicated Long-Term Care planning specialist to help determine if coverage is appropriate for you, and compare policies from different insurance companies to ensure the best coverage at the most competitive premium.

For more information please call NYLTCB to free at (800) 695-8224 Ext 137 or CLICK HERE

Capital District Chapter’s Nikhil Bodhankar, P.E. is named NSPE 2018 Young Engineer of the Year

NYSSPE is pleased to announce that Nikhil Bodhankar, P.E. has been awarded the very prestigious National Society of Professional Engineers 2018 Young Engineer of the Year Award.

Nikhil Bodhankar, P.E. is a senior electrical engineer, associate principal and shareholder at SMRT Architects and Engineers in Latham, New York.  He is a member of the Capital District Chapter and currently resides in Niskayuna, NY.   Nik has more than a decade of experience in specialized scientific research and practice in electrical engineering. His designs have been applied in a variety of public and private sector fields, including research institutions, education, utilities, transportation, health care, and renewable energy. Nik leads the Electrical Engineering Department of SMRT’s New York office.

He has worked closely with clients including the GE-Global Research Center, where he made substantial contributions to the complex areas of safety electrical circuits, explosion-proof environment electrical design, machine automation, programming variable frequency drives, and developing control logic for some of the world’s more challenging research experiments. His clients have also included Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, GlobalFoundries, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the New York State Office of General Services. [Read more…]

Andrew Yarmus, P.E. is named in NSPE Fellows Class of 2018

NSPE has named nine professional engineers to its 2018 class of Fellow members. The Fellow membership grade honors active NSPE members who have demonstrated exemplary and devoted service to their profession, the Society, and their community. Requirements for the designation include holding at least one elected office at any level and active involvement at the national level.

NSPE state and territorial societies can nominate Fellows, as can NSPE interest groups, chartered affinity groups, and the Board of Directors.

Congratulations Andrew Yarmus, P.E. and the fellows Class of 2018!  

Andrew R. Yarmus, P.E is a licensed Professional Engineer and a New York State Certified Code Enforcement Official. He is also a Registered Professional Industrial Hygienist, a licensed Asbestos Inspector and Project Designer, a Certified Environmental Inspector, and a Certified Planner, and previously served as a New York State ICC/BCAP Energy Code Ambassador. He has participated in various programs including seminars and lectures conducted by groups such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, the New York State Society of Professional Engineers, the Environmental Assessment Association, and the American Society of Home Inspectors. He the current Chair of the National Professional Engineers in Construction Group, the NYS Mid-Hudson Region Vice President, and the Immediate Past President of the Rockland County Chapter. Mr. Yarmus has previously been acknowledged as the Rockland Chapter Young Engineer of the Year and twice as the Chapter Member of the Year. He has also been elected twice to serve as the NYSSPE Mid-Hudson Region nominating committee delegate, and has been awarded two Presidential Citations for his dedication to and efforts on behalf of the Professional Engineers of both New York State and Rockland County. In 2011, Mr. Yarmus received the New York State Society of Professional Engineers Meritorious Service Award which recognizes a professional engineer who has made an outstanding contribution to the goals of the Society of Professional Engineers over an extended period of time. [Read more…]