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Professional Engineering Accountability Policy

Professional Engineering Accountability Policy

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Professional Engineering Accountability Policy

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  1. Professional Engineering Accountability Policy ODOT/ACEC Conference PresentationMarch 8, 2006 Cathy Nelson/ODOT and Mel Sears/Parametrix

  2. AGENDA • Definition of the topic • Status and process for policy development (in formulation) • ACEC perspectives • ODOT perspectives • Example project issue • Next Steps

  3. What is Professional Engineering Accountability? • Being accountable to the engineering profession’s laws and standards • Adhering to OSBEELS • Being technically competent • Adhering to the “Standard of Care” • Applies to ODOT and Consultants to the same degree, but different consequences Definition

  4. The Practice of Professional Engineering • Governed by the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying (OSBEELS)Mission“Regulate the practice of engineering and the practice of land surveying in the State as they relate to the welfare of the public in safeguarding life, health and property” Definition

  5. Professional Engineering Legal Accountability • Have appropriate technical competence • Use appropriate care and professional judgment (standard of care)…Perfect is not achievable • As ordinarily possessed by reputable engineering professionals practicing in similar locations under similar circumstances Definition

  6. Engineering under Differing Conditions • Implementing new engineering theories, technologies, materials…. • Developing low risk routine projects • Developing high risk unique projects • Developing emergency projects Definition

  7. Professional Engineering Accountability -- ODOT’s Programmatic Approach • Engineering Policies & Procedures • Training • Deviation Policy • Design Quality Program • Consequences for failure to comply Definition

  8. Performance Accountability Consequences… Definition

  9. Framing the concern… • During design? Plans and specs can’t be “100%perfect” • Some errors and omissions are part of the normal process and are to be expected • Standardizing processes will help improve quality level • Develop policy and processes to deal with imperfections in design • During construction? Field interpretations are always required • Develop “partnership” to resolve • Develop policy and processes to deal with field interpretations and changes • How does it affect ODOT Engineers? • How does it affect consulting engineers? Definition

  10. Where are we now on the policy? • A policy is in “formulation” stages • A goal is to have ODOT and private industry input throughout the process • A goal is to bring some clarity to a controversial topic • A goal is to improve effectiveness • A goal is to build a common understanding and partnership Status and process

  11. ODOT Errors & Omissions Policy Key Components • Identifying Errors & Omissions • When, How, Roles, Responsibilities, Documentation • Evaluating Errors & Omissions • Define Standard of Care Threshold • Cost Recovery Process Status and process

  12. ODOT E & O Policy Dev. and Implementation • Develop Basic Policy Components • Stakeholder review/input • Internal/External Training and Communication Status and process

  13. ACEC Perspectives…Foundation Principles • Recognize DOT’s stewardship role to the public • Common understanding of standard of care vs. perfection by owners • Consultants professional liability insurance only for “negligent” E&O • Fair, equitable resolution processes • Partnership environment • Understand cost recovery around negligent performance ACEC Perspective

  14. ACEC Perspectives… • Opportunity to stay engaged in construction and being notified immediately of problems • avoid on-site “judge, jury, executioner” • Betterment philosophy • If an omission would have been required anyway • Totality of the project • Put changes and issues into scale • Cost recovery should be based on negligence • When the standard of care is breached ACEC Perspective

  15. ACEC Perspectives… • Fair compensation • Compensate for non-negligent effort • Weigh recovery costs vs. damages • Spending $100 to get $1 • Appeals process • Defined, fair, equitable, non-retaliatory • No percentage thresholds • Too arbitrary; too many factors • Contingency Planning • Budget for changes • Active participation for post-design services ACEC Perspective

  16. ODOT Perspectives • Public Stewardship • Safe and Functional Transportation Infrastructure • Cost Effectiveness • Industry Partnership • Shared Understanding and Delivery of Appropriate Standard of Care • Technical Competency • Due Diligence • Industry Standard of Practice ODOT Perspective Negligent Perfect

  17. Example of the complexity… • ODOT Bridge project • ODOT approves Consultant’s scope and budget for geotechnical investigation • Bridge designed by Consultant based on Subconsultant geotech report • Field issues encountered in construction while driving piles, piles too long • Field change order issued by ODOT Project Manager to contractor Case Study Example

  18. Example continued… • ODOT requests Consultant cost recovery for issued change order • Consultant suggests issue is within Standard of Care • Field conditions not always completely definable • Tensions arise, communication deteriorates, time goes by, participants dig in to their positions Case Study Example

  19. Next Steps… • ODOT puts more meat on the draft policy • Develop input process Next Steps