Disciplinary Notice: Ahmed Raza Syed, Surrey, BC

Posted on October 7, 2020

Ahmed Raza Syed has been the subject of prior Engineers and Geoscientists BC disciplinary action in 2018 and 2019.

A Notice of Inquiry was issued to Mr. Syed in November 2019 regarding engineering services he provided for glass guard rails on six separate projects in the City of Langford. On May 9, 2020, a panel of the Discipline Committee (the Panel) determined that Mr. Syed breached Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Code of Ethics and Bylaws and demonstrated unprofessional conduct. On August 18, 2020, the Panel issued the Decision on Penalty and Costs, canceling Mr. Syed’s membership and ordering him to pay $32,582.98 toward legal costs. Mr. Syed may not apply for re-admission until August 18, 2022 and his membership will remain cancelled until he pays all ordered costs, including those in the previous disciplinary actions.

Ahmed Raza Syed has been the subject of Engineers and Geoscientists BC disciplinary action stemming from two complaints: one regarding structural engineering services for 4 residential buildings in the City of Abbotsford, and another regarding engineering services for glass guard rails for 6 residential projects in the City of Langford.

Previous Discipline

In February 2018, as a result of Mr. Syed’s failure to provide records to the Investigation Committee in relation both the Abbotsford and Langford files, the Discipline Committee issued a decision requiring Mr. Syed to pay a fine of $5,000, and pay $7,500 towards Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s legal costs. Mr. Syed was further ordered to complete the Professional Practice Examination and the Professional Engineering and Geoscience Practice in BC Online Seminar. As Mr. Syed did not complete the Professional Practice Examination within the timeframe provided, his licence was suspended from June 1, 2018 to June 29, 2018. Mr. Syed’s licence was reinstated once he successfully completed the Professional Practice Examination. Having received the records, the Investigation Committee continued its investigation on both files.

In December 2018, during the continuing investigation, Engineers and Geoscientists BC applied to the Discipline Committee for an interim suspension of Mr. Syed’s licence because of concern for public safety. On December 23, 2018, the Discipline Committee determined that Mr. Syed’s lack of structural engineering knowledge raised serious questions about his ability to safely perform structural engineering on wood frame single-family dwellings and guard rails. The Discipline Committee ordered an interim suspension of Mr. Syed’s licence until it reached a decision on the findings of the Investigation Committee on the Langford file.

On June 18, 2019, following a disciplinary inquiry relating to the Abbotsford file, the Discipline Committee ordered a suspension of Mr. Syed’s licence for 6 months (consecutive to the existing interim suspension). The Discipline Committee also required that, following the 6-month suspension, Mr. Syed must be subject to direct supervision by another professional engineer approved by the Registrar, and that he pay $29,000 towards Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s legal costs. The Investigation Committee continued its work on the Langford file.

Current Discipline

On November 12, 2019, Engineers and Geoscientists BC issued another Notice of Inquiry to Mr. Syed, regarding the Langford file, alleging that Mr. Syed demonstrated unprofessional conduct, negligence, or incompetence related to the design and field reviews of glass guards on 6 separate properties.

On May 9, 2020, the Panel concluded that, pursuant to section 33(1)(b) and (c) of the Engineers and Geoscientists Act, Mr. Syed violated Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Code of Ethics, and demonstrated unprofessional conduct as his conduct constituted a marked departure from the standards expected of an engineer in his circumstances. The Panel found that:

  • Mr. Syed failed to prepare drawings, or prepared inadequate drawings after the glass guards were installed, failed to perform any calculations, and provided assurances under seal for work that had not yet been performed.
  • The glass guards installed at four of the projects did not meet the requirements of the 2012 BC Building Code because the glass guards were incapable of resisting all applicable loads.
  • Drawings for glass guards at two of the projects were missing material information required by Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Professional Practice Guidelines for Designing Guards for Buildings.
  • For four of the projects, Mr. Syed signed and sealed Schedule B forms indicating he had designed the glass guards before they were installed, and that their design substantially complied with the 2012 BC Building Code, when he did not perform adequate engineering work or analysis prior to the installation of the glass guards.
  • For two of the projects, Mr. Syed signed and sealed Schedule C-B forms indicating that he had fulfilled his obligations for field review and that the design of the installed glass guards substantially complied with the 2012 BC Building Code when he had not conducted field reviews or performed adequate engineering work or analysis prior to the installation of the glass guards.
  • Mr. Syed failed to maintain adequate records for assessments, designs, and load calculations, and failed to retain adequate records of his field reviews.
  • Mr. Syed undertook and accepted responsibility for the glass guards when he lacked sufficient training or experience in the practice area of engineering glass guard systems, and that he provided opinions on a professional subject which were not founded upon adequate knowledge and honest conviction.

On August 18, 2020, the Panel issued its Decision and Order on Penalty and Costs. The Panel found Mr. Syed’s conduct amounted to very serious unprofessional conduct and posed serious risks to the public. In its Decision, the Panel wrote:

The Panel agrees with the Association’s submission that Mr. Syed acted as a “seal for hire” when he agreed to act as the responsible registered professional on projects where the glass guards were already installed and to provide the contract clients with whatever sealed documents were required to obtain approval from the City.

The Panel is not convinced that a suspension would adequately address the
requirements for specific and general deterrence in this case, particularly given the seriousness of the conduct, Mr. Syed’s lack of acknowledgement and remedial action, and his level of adherence to prior suspension terms.

The Panel agrees with the Association that the number of Projects and applicability of identical allegations to different Projects is significant as it demonstrates a general failure on Mr. Syed’s part to meet basic and minimum engineering standards and practices. The Panel also agrees that Mr. Syed’s repeated failure to maintain proper documentation and to perform calculations, and the fact that he undertook projects where he lacked sufficient training and experience created a significant safety risk to the public.

The Panel expressed concerns about the pattern and scope of Mr. Syed’s conduct, and found that his prior discipline history to be relevant. The Panel found that Mr. Syed’s prior disciplined conduct demonstrates many similarities to the current matter, and further noted that the costs ordered against him in the June 18, 2019 decision of the Discipline Committee in relation to the 4 Abbotsford residential projects have yet to be paid.

In addition, the Panel found that Mr. Syed expressed some remorse, but has largely failed to take responsibility for his conduct in a meaningful and complete manner. Mr. Syed has deflected blame to others, suggesting he had no other options available to him. Mr. Syed also denied that a cap rail was required by the 2012 BC Building Code, contrary to the expert opinion. The Panel is not aware of any remedial steps which Mr. Syed has undertaken. The Panel ordered that:

  • Mr. Syed’s membership is cancelled.
  • Mr. Syed must pay costs of $32,582.98 to Engineers and Geoscientists BC by November 18, 2020.
  • Mr. Syed may not apply for re-admission until 24 months from the date of the order, which is August 18, 2022.
  • Mr. Syed’s membership will remain cancelled until he pays the costs ordered against him in both previous and current matters.

The full text of the Determination of the Discipline Committee and the Decision and Order of the Discipline Committee on Penalty and Costs can be found in the Discipline Notices section of our website, at egbc.ca/Discipline-Notices.

Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s website contains information on the complaint, investigation, and discipline processes. You can contact us at 604.558.6647 or toll-free at 1.888.430.8035 ext. 6647, or by email at [email protected].

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