The Legislature hereby determines the need to regulate the practice of engineering; to provide for the registration of qualified persons as professional engineers and the certification of engineer interns; to define the terms "engineer", "professional engineer", "engineer intern" and "practice of engineering"; to create a state board of registration for professional engineers and provide for the appointment and compensation of its members; to fix the term of members of the board and define its powers and duties; to set forth the minimum qualifications and other requirements for registration as an engineer and certification as an engineer intern; to establish registration fees with expiration and renewal requirements; to impose certain duties upon the state and political subdivisions thereof in connection with public works; and to provide for the enforcement of this article and penalties for its violation.
In order to safeguard life, health and property and to promote the public welfare, the practice of engineering in this state is hereby declared to be subject to regulation in the public interest. It is unlawful for any person to practice or to offer to practice engineering in this state, as defined in the provisions of this article, or to use in connection with his or her name or otherwise assume or advertise any title or description tending to convey the impression that he or she is a registered or licensed engineer, unless the person has been duly registered or exempted under the provisions of this article. Engineering is hereby declared a learned profession and its practitioners are held accountable to the state and the public by professional standards in keeping with the ethics and practice of other learned professions in this state. The practice of engineering is a privilege granted by the state.
Unless the context in which used clearly requires a different meaning as used in this article:
(a) "Board" means the West Virginia state board of registration for professional engineers as provided for in this article.
(b) "Consulting engineer" means a professional engineer whose principal occupation is the independent practice of engineering; whose livelihood is obtained by offering engineering services to the public; who serves clients as an independent fiduciary; who is devoid of public, commercial and product affiliation that might tend to infer a conflict of interest; and who is cognizant of their public and legal responsibilities and is capable of discharging them.
(c) "Engineer" means a person who is qualified to practice engineering by reason of special knowledge and use of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences and the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design, acquired by engineering education and engineering experience.
(d) "Engineer intern" means a person who has qualified for, taken and has passed an examination in the fundamental engineering subjects, as provided in this article.
(e) "Practice of engineering" means any service or creative work, the adequate performance of which requires engineering education, training and experience in the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such services or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning and design of engineering works and systems; planning the use of land and water; teaching of advanced engineering subjects, engineering surveys and studies; and the review of construction for the purpose of assuring compliance with drawings and specifications any of which embraces such services or work, either public or private, in connection with any utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, work systems, projects and industrial or consumer products or equipment of a mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic or thermal nature, insofar as they involve safeguarding life, health or property, and including such other professional services as may be necessary to the planning, progress and completion of any engineering services. Engineering surveys include all survey activities required to support the sound conception, planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of engineered projects.
Any person who practices any branch of the profession of engineering or who, by verbal claim, sign, advertisement, letterhead, card or in any other way represents himself or herself to be a professional engineer, or by using another title implies that he or she is a professional engineer or that he or she is registered under this article or who holds himself or herself out as able to perform, or who performs any engineering service or work or any other service designated by the practitioner which is recognized as engineering, is considered to practice or offer to practice engineering within the meaning and intent of this article.
(f) "Professional engineer" means a person who has been duly registered or licensed as a professional engineer by the board. The board may designate a professional engineer, on the basis of education, experience and examination, as being licensed in a specific discipline or branch of engineering signifying the area in which the engineer has demonstrated competence.
(g) "Responsible charge" means direct control and personal supervision of engineering work.
(h) "Rules of professional responsibility for professional engineers" means those rules, if any, promulgated by the West Virginia state board of registration for professional engineers as authorized by this article.
There is hereby created the board of registration for professional engineers which shall hereafter be referred to as the board. The board shall be composed of five members appointed by the governor, by and with the consent of the Senate, preferably from a list of names submitted by the West Virginia society of professional engineers. The members of the board shall be qualified and shall meet the requirements of section five of this article. The governor shall present each board member with a certificate of appointment. Each board member shall make and file an oath or affirmation with the secretary of state to faithfully execute the duties of a member of the board. Members of the board shall serve a term of five years. Of the members first appointed, one shall serve a term of one year, one shall serve a term of two years, one shall serve a term of three years, one shall serve a term of four years and one shall serve a term of five years. Members are eligible for reappointment but no member may be appointed for more than three full consecutive terms. Each member shall hold office until the expiration of the term for which appointed or until a successor has been duly appointed and has qualified. In the event of a vacancy on the board due to resignation, death or for any cause resulting in an unexpired term and if not filled within three months by the governor, the board may appoint a member to serve in the vacancy until the governor makes the appointment. Members of the former board whose terms have not expired shall fill the term on this board which corresponds with the length of the unexpired term of that member.
Each member of the board must be a citizen of the United States and a resident of this state. Each member shall have been engaged in the lawful practice of engineering as a professional engineer for at least twelve years; shall have been in responsible charge of engineering projects for at least five years; and shall be a registered professional engineer in this state.
Each member of the board shall receive compensation for time spent, and reimbursement for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred, in the performance of board-related duties pursuant to section eleven, article one of this chapter.
The governor may remove any member of the board for misconduct, incompetency, neglect of duty or for any reason prescribed by law for removal of state officials. Vacancies in the membership of the board shall be filled for the unexpired term.
The board shall hold at least one regular meeting each year. Special meetings may be held as the bylaws of the board provide. Each year the board shall elect the following officers: A president, a vice president and a secretary, who shall serve at the will and pleasure of the board. A quorum of the board shall consist of not less than three professional engineer members.
(a) The board may adopt and amend bylaws not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of this state. The board may promulgate and shall adopt "rules of professional responsibility for professional engineers". These rules are binding to any person registered with the board under the provisions of this article. These rules are also applicable to firms holding a certificate of authorization as provided in section seventeen of this article.
(b) The board may subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance and it may also subpoena books, papers, documents or other pertinent data in any disciplinary matters or in any case involving an allegation of a violation of the provisions of this article. The board may apply to the circuit court of Kanawha county to enforce compliance with any subpoena it issues.
(c) The board may seek an injunction in circuit court to enforce the provisions of this article or to restrain a person or entity from violating a provision of this article. In pursuing injunctive relief under this section, the board shall not be required to prove that an adequate remedy at law does not exist or that substantial or irreparable damage would result from the continued violation. The members of the board may not be personally liable for any decisions made in good faith in pursuing injunctive relief.
(d) The board may require all applicants for registration to take and successfully pass an examination of their fitness and qualifications to become registered.
(e) The board may require that a registered professional engineer demonstrate continuing professional competency in engineering as a condition of renewal or reregistration.
(f) Board members are exempt from civil liability for any decision made or any act done in good faith in the performance of any duty or the exercise of any power granted under this article.
There is hereby established within the state treasury a "board of professional engineers fund". The board shall deposit all fees and other moneys received by the board into the fund. The moneys in the fund shall be used for expenses of the board and shall be requisitioned on the signatures of the president and secretary of the board. The secretary of the board shall annually furnish an accounting of all funds received and expended by the board to the governor and to each house of the Legislature. The board may use the moneys in the fund to employ necessary staff, pay for membership fees to the national council of examiners for engineering and surveying and for any other necessary and reasonable expense of the board: Provided, That the board may not issue warrants in excess of moneys in the fund.
(a) The board shall keep a record of its proceedings and of all applications for registration. The record shall show: (1) The name, age and last known address of each applicant; (2) the date of application; (3) place of business of such applicant; (4) education, experience and other qualifications; (5) type of examination required; (6) whether or not the applicant was rejected; (7) whether or not a certificate of registration was granted; (8) the date of the action by the board; and (9) such information as may be deemed necessary by the board.
(b) The record of the board is prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the board and a transcript duly certified by the secretary shall be admissible as evidence with the same force and effect as if the original were produced.
(c) On the first day of July of each year, the board shall submit to the governor a report of its transactions of the preceding year and shall transmit to the governor a complete statement of the receipts and expenditures of the board, attested to by affidavits of its chairman and secretary.
(d) Board records and papers of the following class are of a confidential nature and are not public records: Examination material for examinations not yet given, file records of examination problem solutions, letters of inquiry and reference concerning applicants, board inquiry forms concerning applicants, investigation files where any investigation is still pending and all other materials of like confidential nature.
A complete roster with the names and the last known addresses of all registered professional engineers shall be published by the secretary of the board at intervals established by the board. Copies of this roster may be mailed to each person registered and shall be placed on file with the secretary of state and may be distributed or sold to county and city officials and to the public.
(a) General requirements. - Every person who desires to be certified as an engineer intern or to be registered as a professional engineer in this state must comply with the following requirements:
(1) Submission of a completed application specified by the board and payment of the application fee specified by rule of the board;
(2) Be at least eighteen years of age;
(3) Be of good moral character;
(4) Submit statements of reference as specified by rule of the board;
(5) Graduate from a four-year engineering curriculum accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (EAC/ABET), or an equivalent as approved by the board as being of satisfactory standing; and
(6) Be free of any grounds for disqualification as set forth in subsection of (a) of section twenty-one of this article.
(b) Certification of an engineer intern. - In addition to the foregoing general requirements, an applicant must meet the following requirements to be certified as an engineer intern in this state:
(1) Satisfactorily complete the required examination on the fundamentals of engineering; and
(2) Complete each additional requirement that the board may specify by legislative rule.
(c) Registration of a professional engineer. - In addition to the general requirements specified in subsection (a) of this section, an applicant must meet the following requirements to be certified as a professional engineer in this state:
(1) Meet all the requirements for certification as an engineer intern;
(2) Submit a record of four years or more of progressive experience in engineering work of a grade and a character that indicates to the board that the applicant may be competent to practice engineering;
(3) Satisfactorily complete the required examination on the principles and practice of engineering;
(4) Complete each additional requirement that the board may specify by legislative rule.
(d)Registration of a professional engineer through comity or reciprocal registration. - Notwithstanding the requirements of the foregoing subsection of this section, the board may issue a license to an applicant who holds a valid license or other authorization to practice engineering from another state, if the applicant satisfies the general requirements of subsection (a) of this section, satisfies the additional requirements specified by rule of the board and meets one of the following requirements:
(1) Holds a license or other authorization to engage in the practice of engineering issued by a proper authority of any jurisdiction, based on requirements that do not conflict with the provisions of this article and possesses credentials that are, in the judgment of the board, of a standard equivalent to or not lower than that specified in the applicable licensure act and rules in effect in this state at the time such license was issued, upon application, which may include a council record with NCEES; or
(2) Holds a valid council record with NCEES, which is the compilation of documents maintained by NCEES of an applicant's qualifications as a professional engineer, including official transcripts, engineering examination results, employment verifications and references, which indicates that the applicant meets the requirements of this article.
(e)Certification or registration of qualified applicants. - The board shall issue a certification to a qualified applicant who meets the requirements for certification as an engineer intern and shall issue a professional engineer registration to a qualified applicant who meets the requirements for registration as a professional engineer.
(f) Continuation of existing registrations and certificates. - A registration or certificate issued by the board prior to July 1, 2013, shall for all purposes be considered a registration or certificate issued under this article: Provided, That a person registered or certified prior to July 1, 2013, must renew the registration or certification pursuant to the provisions of this article and the rules of the board.
Every person seeking to become registered as a professional engineer or seeking to become certified as an engineer intern shall file an application on forms provided by the board. The application shall be made under oath and shall include:
(a) The level of education of the applicant;
(b) A summary of the applicant's technical experience; and
(c) The names and complete mailing addresses of any references.
Applicants may not use the names of board members as references.
In lieu of information required on the board's application forms, the board may accept the verified information contained in a valid council record issued by the national council of examiners for engineering and surveying for professional engineer applicants.
The board shall set fees for all applicants for registration and certification by promulgating legislative rules under the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
Fees of unsuccessful applicants and the fees of applicants who have been refused registration or certification for any purpose shall be retained by the board to cover administrative costs.
(a) The board has the power to establish, by legislative rule, the requirements for examination for registration as a professional engineer and certification as an engineer intern including, but not limited to, the following criteria: subject matter, prerequisites for testing, passing score, examination sites and schedules, entities authorized to administer examinations, prerequisites for testing and form of testing, including examination by electronic or other means.
(b) The board's rules for examination shall include the following minimum requirements:
(1) An examination to qualify to be an engineer intern, to test the applicant's knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of engineering; and
(2) An examination to qualify as a professional engineer, to test the applicant's knowledge and understanding of the principles and practice of engineering.
(c) If the board determines that the safe and ethical practice of engineering in this state requires examination of matters specific to the law and practice in this state, the board may also establish criteria, by legislative rule, for an examination of the applicant's knowledge and understanding of this state's statutes, rules, professional ethics and design requirements.
(d) A candidate for registration as a professional engineer who fails the examination of the principles and practice of engineering may retake the examination one time upon payment of the fee established by the board. In the event of a second failure, the candidate may not repeat the examination unless the examinee demonstrates to the board that he or she has pursued additional instruction or training to correct the candidate's deficit areas of knowledge.
(e) In the event that examination requirements, test administration procedures, scoring or testing methods are modified by a board-approved testing entity providing standard tests for use by the board, the board has the authority to promulgate emergency rules to adopt and reflect those changes.
(a) The board shall issue a certificate of registration to any applicant who, in the opinion of the board, has met the requirements of this article. The certificate of registration shall carry the designation "professional engineer". It shall give the full name of the registrant with their registration number and shall be signed by the chairman and the secretary under the seal of the board. The certificate of registration grants the recipient authority to practice in this state.
(b) An unexpired and unrevoked certificate is prima facie evidence that the person named on it is entitled to all rights, privileges and responsibilities of a professional engineer.
(c) Every registrant shall obtain a seal for use in identifying his or her official professional work. The design of the seal shall be determined by the board and shall bear the registrant's name, registrant's registration number, the legend "registered professional engineer, state of West Virginia" and such other words or figures as the board may prescribe. The seal may be a rubber stamp. Whenever the seal is applied, the registrant's written signature shall be adjacent to or across the seal. No further words or wording are required. A facsimile signature is not acceptable. Whenever presented to a client or any public or governmental agency, the seal, signature and date shall be placed on all specifications, reports, drawings, plans, design information and calculations in accordance with rules promulgated by the board. The seal and signature shall be used by registrants only when the work being stamped was under the registrant's complete direction and control.
In the case of a registrant of another state using a temporary permit issued by this state, the registrant shall use the state of permanent registration seal and shall affix his or her signature and temporary permit number to all work. In the case of a registrant checking the work of an out-of-state registrant, the state registrant shall completely check and have complete dominion and control of the design. The complete dominion and control includes possession of the sealed and signed reproducible construction drawings with complete signed and sealed design calculations indicating all changes in design.
(d) The board shall issue to any applicant who, in the opinion of the board, has met the requirements of this article, an enrollment card as engineer intern, which indicates that his or her name has been recorded in the board office. The engineer intern enrollment card does not authorize the holder to practice as a professional engineer. It is unlawful for a registrant to affix or to permit his or her seal and signature to be affixed to any document after the expiration of his or her certificate or for the purpose of aiding or abetting any other person to evade or attempt to evade any provisions of this article.
A new certificate of registration or certificate of authorization to replace any certificate lost, destroyed or mutilated may be issued subject to the rules of the board. A charge established by rule shall be made for each new certificate.
Government agencies, authorities, officials and employees may not engage in the practice of engineering involving either public or private property unless the provisions of this article are met.
(a) The board may suspend or revoke or refuse to issue, restore or renew a certificate of registration of, or place on probation, impose a civil penalty or reprimand any professional engineer who has:
(1) Perpetrated any fraud or deceit in obtaining or attempting to obtain or renew a certificate of registration or certificate of authorization;
(2) Been negligent, incompetent or committed an act of misconduct in the practice of engineering;
(3) Been convicted of or has entered a plea of nolo contendere to any crime under the laws of the United States or any state or territory thereof, which is a felony whether related to practice or not; and conviction of or entry of a plea of nolo contendere to any crime, whether a felony, misdemeanor or otherwise, an essential element of which is dishonesty, or which is directly related to the practice of engineering;
(4) Failed to comply with any of the provisions of this article or any of the rules promulgated under it;
(5) Been disciplined by another state, territory, the District of Columbia, foreign country, the United States government or any other governmental agency, if at least one of the grounds for discipline is the same or substantially equivalent to those grounds for discipline contained in this article;
(6) Failed within thirty days to provide information requested by the board as a result of a formal or informal complaint to the board which would indicate a violation of this article;
(7) Knowingly made false statements or signed false statements, certificates or affidavits to induce payment;
(8) Aided or assisted another person in violating any provision of this article or the rules promulgated;
(9) Violated any terms of probation imposed by the board or using a seal or practicing engineering while the professional engineer's license is suspended, revoked, nonrenewed or inactive;
(10) Signed or affixed the professional engineer's seal or permitted the professional engineer's seal or signature to be affixed to any specifications, reports, drawings, plans, design information, construction documents or calculations or revisions which have not been prepared or completely checked by the professional engineer or under the professional engineer's direct supervision or control;
(11) Engaged in dishonorable, unethical or unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public;
(12) Provided false testimony or information to the board; and
(13) Been habitually intoxicated or addicted to or by the use of drugs or alcohol.
(b) In addition to any other penalty provided in this article, the board may assess civil penalties against any person who violates any provision of this article or any rule promulgated by the board for each offense in an amount determined by the board.
(c) The board shall prepare and shall adopt "rules of professional responsibility for professional engineers". The board may revise and amend these "rules of professional responsibility for professional engineers" from time to time and shall notify each registrant in writing of any revisions or amendments.
(d) The board may:
(1) Revoke a certificate of authorization;
(2) Suspend a certificate of authorization of any firm for a period of time not exceeding two years where one or more of its officers or directors of the firm have been found guilty of any conduct which would authorize a revocation or suspension of his or her certificate of registration under the provisions of this article;
(3) Place the person or firm on probation for a period of time and make the person or firm subject to conditions as the board may specify;
(4) Assess a civil penalty and related costs for each count or separate offense in an amount set by the board.
(a) Any person may file a complaint with the board that a person or firm subject to the provisions of this article has committed a fraud, been deceitful, been grossly negligent, incompetent, guilty of misconduct or has violated the "rules of professional responsibility for professional engineers".
(b) All complaints, unless dismissed by the board as unfounded, trivial or unless settled informally, shall be heard by the board within six months after the date each complaint was received by the board.
(c) The board shall fix the time and place for hearings on complaints and a copy of all charges, together with a notice of the time and place of hearing on the complaint the person or firm complained against or mailed to the last known address of the person or firm at least thirty days prior to the hearing. At the hearing, the person or firm shall have the right to appear in person or by counsel, or both, to cross-examine witnesses and to produce evidence and witnesses in his, her or its defense. If the accused person or firm fails or refuses to appear, the board may proceed to hear the complaint and determine the validity of the charges.
(d) If after the hearing a majority of the board votes in favor of sustaining the charges, the board shall reprimand or assess a civil penalty against the person or firm complained against. The board may also suspend, revoke, refuse to issue or refuse to restore or renew an individual's certificate of registration or a firm's certificate of authorization. In addition, the board may place a registrant on probation.
(e) Any person or firm aggrieved by any action of the board in assessing a civil penalty, denying, suspending, refusing to issue, refusing to restore or renew or revoking a certificate of registration or a certificate of authorization, may appeal the board's decision to the circuit court.
(f) Any civil penalty assessed as a result of a hearing shall be paid within fifty days after the decision becomes final.
(g) The board may, upon petition of a person or firm, reissue a certificate of registration or authorization, provided that a majority of the members of the board votes in favor of such issuance.
Any person who practices or offers to practice engineering in this state without being registered in accordance with the provisions of this article, or any person, firm, partnership, organization, association, corporation or other entity using or employing the words engineer, engineering or any modification or derivative thereof in its name or form of business activity except as authorized in this article, or any person presenting or attempting to use the certificate of registration or the seal of another, or any person who gives any false or forged evidence of any kind to the board or to any member thereof in obtaining or attempting to obtain a certificate of registration, or any person who falsely impersonates any other registrant of like or different name, or any person who attempts to use an expired, suspended or revoked or nonexistent certificate of registration, or who practices or offers to practice when not qualified, or any person who falsely claims that he or she is registered or authorized under this article, or any person who violates any of the provisions of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned in the county jail not more than six months, or both fined and imprisoned.
Any person who commits a second or subsequent offense under this section is guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary not less than ten nor more than twenty years.
The attorney general may act as legal adviser to the board and render any legal assistance as may be necessary in carrying out the provisions of this article. The board may employ counsel and necessary assistance to aid in the enforcement of this article and the compensation and expenses of the council shall be paid from the funds of the board.
This article may not be construed to prevent the practice by:
(a) Other professions. -- The practice of any other legally recognized profession;
(b) Temporary permits. -- The practice or offer to practice engineering by a person not a resident of or having no established place of business in this state, provided the person is legally qualified by registration to practice engineering, as defined in this article, in their own state or country. The person shall make application to the board in writing and after payment of a fee established by the board may be granted a written permit for a definite period of time not to exceed one year to do a specific job: Provided, That no right to practice engineering shall accrue to the applicant with respect to any other works not set forth in the permit; and
(c) Employees and subordinates. -- The work of an employee or a subordinate of a person holding a certificate of registration under this article, or an employee of a person practicing lawfully: Provided, That the work does not include final engineering designs or decisions and is done under the direct supervision of and verified by a person holding a certificate of registration under this article or a person practicing lawfully.Any regular full-time employee of a person, partnership, corporation or other business entity who is engaged solely and exclusively in performing services for such person, partnership, corporation or other business entity, who is not required by any provision of the law other than this article to be a registered professional engineer and whose services are performed on, or in connection with, property owned or leased by such person, partnership, corporation or other business entity, or in which such person, partnership, corporation or other business entity has an interest, estate or possessory right, and are not offered or made available to the public. This exemption includes the use of job title and personal classification by such person, but no name, title or words may be used which tend to convey the impression that an unlicensed person is offering professional engineering services to the public.
Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.