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What Is A Licensed Professional Engineer?

A licensed professional engineer (PE) evaluates, plans, designs, supervises, and/or consults on the construction or operation of: utilities, houses, office buildings, shopping centers, roads, bridges, storm water management, sanitary sewer design and management, etc., machines and equipment and other projects and processes that require the application of engineering principles and data to safeguard people and property. Individuals, government agencies and private companies employ professional engineers.


What Credentials Does A Pennsylvania Licensed Professional Engineer Have?

A licensed Pennsylvania PE has earned a minimum of 8 years of education/experience credit and has passed a 16hour national licensing examination. Most Pennsylvania PEs have a four year bachelor’s degree from an accredited engineering program and have earned qualifying experience as an Engineer In Training. Many engineers also have a master’s degree in their field.


When Would I Use The Services Of A Professional Engineer?

You might employ a PE to:


  • Evaluate the structural integrity, electrical, and/or mechanical systems of a house prior to purchase or renovation;
  • Design a new house or addition;
  • Design the water and sewerage systems, storm drainage facilities, and/or road layouts for a housing development or other tract of land.

Professional engineers also design commercial, industrial, and transportation facilities; municipal facilities such as water and wastewater treatment plants; and dams and bridges, among other things.


When Must I Employ A Licensed Profession Engineer?

Generally, you will need the services of a licensed design professional such as a PE any time you need the approval of a government agency or official for a construction project; these officials can only accept engineering plans signed and stamped with the seal of the PE. Check with that official to determine what you are required to submit. You will also need a PE when the complexity of the design of a project requires the skills of a professional engineer or when the services fall within the legal definition of professional engineering.


What Should I Expect As A Client Of A Professional Engineer?

You should expect to be provided with the following:


  • A description of the engineer’s qualifications;
  • Names of former clients as references;
  • A clear and complete description of the work that will be done and the products that will be delivered;
  • A project schedule, including terms of payment; and
  • Final plans, specifications and reports that contain the signature and seal of the professional engineer.


The PE can provide complete project services, including project planning, design, and construction supervision and inspection. He or she can also provide complete “as built” drawings of the finished project.


How Do I Locate A Professional Engineer?

Check under “Engineers” in the yellow pages of your telephone book or you may also search online. The listings may be subdivided by engineering disciplines or specialty areas such as electrical, civil, mechanical, etc. Many listings also include “consulting engineers,” companies which practice in several of these specialty areas and offer their services to the public. You may call professional organizations for assistance in identifying their members who specialize in your area of need.



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