COMMENT ON LICENSING AND LICENSE HOLDERS FROM SEPTEMBER 3, 2016
Joseph Hayes covered a lot of ground on September 3 2016 but left out a big part of the story. There is much more that needs to be covered.
First, in New York there are special corporation required for licensed professional engineering firms and not just any type of corporation.
Second, the drawings should be created by the licensed engineering firm and not others. There is an allowance for the licensed engineer to review drawings created by others but I am sure that is not the real intention of the license since in such a case they do not have complete control of its creation and changes. A so called Design Studio is a way to common out there and does just that, make drawings. Then they have a license engineer reviews their drawings to seal them although he did not create them. This is a so call pretend unlicensed engineer firm is working work around the law.
Third, if a licensed engineer is hired by your firm, you cannot mark up the price of their work; that is called fee splitting that is illegal since you are not in the engineering business. It needs to be broken out as a separate line item on your bill reflecting exactly what you were charged if it is not being billed separately to the client as it should be. Licensed engineers who act unprofessionally are subject to fines, suspensions , loss of certain privileges and the permanent loss of their license. See the follow link for a listing in NYC as an example of such http://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/industry/professional-engineers-and-registered-architects.page
Fourth, unfortunately licensed engineers and architects are allow to practice in disciplines that they have no expertise in. A licensed civil engineer can seal a fire alarm plans which is acceptable under the law.
Fifth and lastly, NICET I do believe regardless of what may be permitted elsewhere, was never intended to allow the fire alarm field to take the place of a licensed engineer by creating and sealing drawings despite what the industry says.
For some reason, perhaps to beat out the competition, there seems to be a need in these times for firms to engage in the services of other that they are not licensed to do. Just look at all the listing in the Alarm Exchange under Qualifiers needed or available. These are firms looking for someone to cover them with a license in an area that they are not, in order to engage in business in an area that requires one without ascertaining the license. A common term for this was and still is whoring out your license for a buck (nothing new). These so called “Qualifiers” have many requirements to be sure that the firm they covering for, yes covering for meets the requirements of the license not limited to staff compliance with background checking and finger prints. How does that happen if that firm is in another state? How does the qualifier insure that is the case? Does he go to that state and review the employees records? Will that firm cover that Qualifiers legal fees when they are at risk of losing that license when full compliance is not meet? Let’s see that responses and defense to this!
GIVE ME A BREAK!
I'll give you a break because sometimes a little bit of knowledge and a lot of opinion ends up with something close, but not entirely accurate.
The information provided by Joe Hayes pertained to New York. Not all states require a PE or Architect to sign off on plans. Some states permit the licensed alarm company to sign off and submit the plans. In NY a PE or architect can incorporate and that corporation is a professional corporation, not a business corporation. When filing an additional step is required, getting approval from the Department of Education.
There is nothing wrong with professionals delegating certain of their duties. That is the case when a PE or architect uses a design company, or even the alarm company, to prepare the plans and specifications in draft, subject to final approval and assumption of responsibility by the PE or architect. Now for the pot shot you take at license holders covering a license required by a company. If you are suggesting that a license holder qualify for a company with the intention of performing no services or accepting any responsibility, then you are correct. In NY this is called "availing" your license. Happens when the NY license holder moves to Florida and doesn't come back.
What you overlook is the assumption of responsibility that the license holder undertakes and accepts. When my office introduces a license holder to a company we strongly recommend that a Qualifier Agreement be signed. Our reason is not to "make a buck", but to protect the license holder and the company. Each has their respective duties, responsibilities, risks and potential consequences that arise out of the relationship. While the The Qualifier Agreement is only the first step in the relationship; both license holder and company need to adhere to the provisions of the Qualifier Agreement; each has to perform their assigned duties and accept their responsibilities. The consequences of non-compliance, or as you insinuate, is to create a sham relationship whereby the company really seeks to operate without a true license holder and the license holder is only too eager to accept a "buck" or signing on the dotted line.
License requirements are different in each of the licensed jurisdictions. The Qualifier Agreements need to be jurisdiction specific. I know some of my clients think they can get away without Qualifier Agreements or "forms" prepared by others who are not attorneys or well versed in alarm law. I suppose you can get away with anything if no-one investigates. Consequences for sham license relationships can result in fines, possible civil and criminal penalties, suspension of the license, revocation of the license and the refusal of the licensing agency to permit the alarm company to operate in the jurisdiction with someone else's license. These can be severe consequences to the license holder who may need the license for his own or other businesses, as well as the company who may have already generated a lot of business in the jurisdiction.
So to answer your questions, which appear to be rhetorical, the license holder needs to perform all the duties required by the licensing statute, and the company needs to let that license holder perform those duties. My office has placed many license holders with companies. We lay out the duties and we expect both license holder and company to adhere to what is required.
License holders and companies looking for license holders can post on The Alarm Exchange. You may list your name and contact or use my office to make the connection [for which service we do not charge a fee]. You post by sending me the "ad" and you engage my office, to handle the listing for you or prepare the Qualifier Agreement, by contacting Jennifer Kirschenbaum,Esq. at 516 747 6700 302, Jennifer@KirschenbaumEsq.com or Jesse Kirschenbaum,Esq at 516 747 6700 x 317 or jesse@Kirschenbaumesq.com