Category Archives: Professional Engineering Practice and Code of Ethics

Professional Engineering Practice and Code of Ethics

Advice is always free, right? Estimates are always free, right?


Our Code of Ethics says that members shall, “uphold the principle of appropriate and adequate compensation for the performance of engineering and geoscience work.”

That simply means that Engineers may not work for free. Preparing estimates and giving advice is engineering work and engineering work requires “adequate compensation.”

What duties does an engineer have that clients may be unaware of?

  • The duty to inspect that which he or she designs. An engineer is required to inspect what he designs. He or she cannot simply seal a set of plans. The engineer must provide a package of services to his or her client which must include both design and field reviews.
  • The Duty to Inform the Client about Insurance. The Engineer must make the client aware of whether or not he carries errors and omissions insurance. Mann Engineering and Planning Corporation carries insurance with liability limits of $250,000 per Claim / $500,000 per Policy Period. A copy of our certificate of insurance is available to clients upon request.
  • File organization and storage. Engineers are required to organize, index and store project files. Although the files must be kept for 10 years, Mann Engineering keeps files indefinitely.
  • Professional Development. Engineers are required to accrue an average of 80 professional development hours per year.

What is the Building Code?

According to the Provincial Government, The BC Building Code is a provincial regulation for new construction and building alterations, establishing minimum standards for safety, health, accessibility, fire and structural protection of buildings, and protection of the building or facility from water and sewer damage. The Building Code also includes requirements for energy and water efficiency. The Code applies throughout the province, except for some Federal lands and the City of Vancouver.

Why do I need a structural engineer?

Often when you apply for a building permit, the building official will tell you that you need a structural engineer. She may say something like, you need to submit a Schedule B or we need letters of assurance or we need an engineer’s report or your plans need to be sealed by a structural engineer. Her request for engineering may be based upon whether or not your structure makes use of Part 4 components. Things like girder trusses, LVLs, I-Joists or high foundation walls are Part 4 components. Part 4 components are structural members that can’t be found within Part 9 of the Building Code. (Part 9 is a simplified code within the Building Code of British Columbia meant for small buildings and homes.) You may need a structural engineer for other reasons such as exterior walls dominated by windows or open concept floor plans with few interior walls. Most of our registered home professional builders use our services on every project they build regardless of whether or not the municipality asks for it. They say that it is a small price for peace of mind.