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Assembly Bill 2629, which is effective on January 1, 2001, added two sections to the Business and Professions Code. Section 6749 was added to the Professional Engineers Act and Section 8759 was added to the Professional Land Surveyors' Act. Both new sections require a written contract to be used by a Board licensee when contracting to provide professional services to a client. The use of a written contract helps to eliminate miscommunications, which oftentimes arise when using a verbal contract. A written contract may be in electronic form. The following is an overview of the new sections.
Requirements: Before the Professional Engineer or Professional Land Surveyor begins work, they need to sign a written contract with their client, or his or her representative. However, there are exemptions. The written contract must include, but not be limited to, all of the following:
- A description of services to be provided by the Professional Engineer or Professional Land Surveyor,
- A description of any basis of compensation applicable to the contract, and method of payment agreed upon by the parties,
- The name, address, and license or certificate number of the Professional Engineer or Professional Land Surveyor, and the name and address of the client,
- A description of the procedure that the Professional Engineer or Professional Land Surveyor and the client will use to accommodate additional services, and
- A description of the procedure to be used by any party to terminate the contract.
Exemptions: A written contract is not required under the following circumstances:
- The client will not be compensating the Professional Engineer or Professional Land Surveyor for their services.
- The Professional Engineer or Professional Land Surveyor has a current or prior contractual relationship with the client to provide professional services, and the client has paid the Professional Engineer or Professional Land Surveyor all of the fees that are due under that contract.
- The client knowingly states in writing, after full disclosure of this requirement, that a written contract need not be used.
- Professional services are rendered by a Professional Engineer or Professional Land Surveyor to another Professional Engineer or Professional Land Surveyor; an architect; a contractor; a geologist or geophysicist; a manufacturing, mining, public utility, research and development, or other industrial corporation, if the services are provided in connection with or incidental to the products, systems, or services of that corporation or its affiliates; or a public agency.
For additional information, please contact the Enforcement Unit at BPELS.Enforcement_Information@dca.ca.gov or (916) 999-3592.