Professional Practice FAQ

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about professional practice in British Columbia below. You can also contact our practice advisors at PracticeAdvisor@egbc.ca.

  • 1. Will my insurance cover work done by me on my personal property or work done for family/relatives or done for free as a service to the community?

    Professionals of Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia must be aware that providing engineering services to friends or family, as a volunteer for the community, or freely, does not make one immune to professional liability claim. Since either the client or a third party affected by the work can bring a lawsuit against the professional or the volunteer organization, professionals are urged to investigate their need for professional liability insurance.

    Engineers and Geoscientists BC strongly recommends that its members and licensees obtain suitable primary insurance when they are providing engineering services. Some insurance policies contain clauses that void coverage when providing professional services without a fee or to relatives. The association also recommends that professionals confirm coverage with the insurer, especially if the services are provided freely or on volunteer basis. Engineers and Geoscientists BC does not provide insurance coverage advice. The type and level of insurance to acquire is a business and risk management decision that professionals must ultimately make. 

  • 2. Can I provide services as a geoscientist in BC if I am a professional engineer with Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia?

    Only professionals who hold the P.Geo. designation can practice as professional geoscientists. A professional engineer can provide any scope of engineering service for which they feel qualified on the basis of education, experience, training and knowledge, but they cannot provide services as a professional geoscientists. The reverse is also true: professional geoscientists registered with Engineers and Geoscientists BC can only provide services as geoscientists and not as an engineers. This is in accordance with Principle #2 of the Code of Ethics Guidelines:

    “Members are registered either as Professional Engineers (P.Eng.) or Professional Geoscientists (P.Geo.) and sometimes both. The professions are distinct and registration in one does not give a member the right to practise in the other.”
  • 3. For shop drawings, is it necessary to seal each individual page or is it sufficient to seal a cover sheet?

    No, it is not necessary to seal each individual drawing. It is acceptable, but not recommended, to seal the package cover sheet which lists all the drawings. However, since individual shop drawings are often reproduced and/or separated from their package, it is preferable that each drawing be individually sealed. This prevents the use of a non-sealed version being mistakenly used. For packages with a large number of drawings, using an electronic signature and seal solves the issue. It allows all drawings to be sealed with a click of the mouse and reproduced from original electronic versions. Engineers and Geoscientists BC understands that electronically-sealed versions are not always available and that it is time-consuming to manually seal – stamp, sign, and date – each drawing for very large or multiple drawing packages. However, sealing only the cover sheet should only be considered as a last resort because it is less-than-ideal.

  • 4. Are P.Eng.'s, P.Geo.'s, EITs and GITs covered under the Employment Standards Act?

    The Employment Standards Act (the “Act”) is the legislation in the province that sets out certain minimum terms and conditions of employment for employees of provincially regulated employers in British Columbia.The Act, however, does not apply to everyone.

    The Act, for example, does not apply to persons practicing as professional engineers (P.Eng.) as defined by the Engineers and Geoscientists Act. The Act also does not apply to persons who are enrolled as an engineer-in-training (EIT) under the bylaws of Engineers and Geoscientists BC.

    The Act does apply to persons practicing as professional geoscientists (P.Geo.) and geoscientists-in-training (GIT), but they may be excluded from certain parts of the Act in certain circumstances, including where:

    • The professional geoscientist meets the definition of a “high technology professional” under the Act, in which case the professional geoscientist will be excluded from the following under the Employment Standards Act:
      • Part 4 (hours of work and overtime provisions) other than Section 39 (no excessive hours), and
      • Part 5 (statutory holiday provisions).
    • The professional geoscientist meets the definition of a “manager”, in which case the professional geoscientist will be excluded from the following under the Employment Standards Act:
      • Part 4 (hours of work and overtime provisions), and
      • Part 5 (statutory holiday provisions).
    • The professional geoscientist, other than a percussion drill or diamond drill operator, or a helper of either operator, is a person employed in any of the following activities while exploring for minerals other than oil or gas:
      • staking
      • line cutting
      • geological mapping
      • geochemical sampling and testing
      • geophysical surveying or manual stripping

      In these cases, the professional geoscientist will be excluded from Part 4 (hours of work and overtime provisions) of the Employment Standards Act.

      • The professional geoscientist works for an employer in the oil and gas well drilling and servicing industry or in the mining industry, in which case certain provisions of the Employment Standards Act, including Section 40 (overtime), may not apply if certain conditions are met.
      • The professional geoscientist is governed by a collective agreement, in which case certain exclusions apply.

      Where all or part of the Act does not apply, the parties to the employment relationship are largely responsible for negotiating their own terms.

      For employment related advice, Engineers and Geoscientists BC recommends contacting an employment lawyer.

  • 5. Can an EIT/GIT use the word "Engineer" in a job title given by an employer?

    Policy CO 00-101 approved by Council on May 31, 2000 states:

    “Engineers-in-training (EIT’s) and Geoscientists-in-training (GIT’s) are allowed to use descriptive job titles, assigned by their employer, that include the word “Engineer” or “Geoscientist” or other designations commonly used by registered professionals.  In using such titles, the person must be clearly identified as being an EIT or GIT, and must be working under the direct supervision of a registered member who takes professional responsibility for the work of the EIT or GIT.

    This policy does not apply in the case of EIT’s or GIT’s who are employed in a company where there are no registered professionals providing direct supervision.”
  • 6. What if I am asked to review and evaluate the work of another professional engineer or geoscientist?

    Principle 7 of the Code of Ethics states that “members and licensees shall conduct themselves with fairness, courtesy and good faith towards clients, colleagues and others, give credit where it is due and accept, as well as give, honest and fair professional comment.”

    Members are entitled to review and evaluate the work of other members when so required by their employment duties and when their experience and knowledge is appropriate. Contacting a member whose work is to be reviewed is not only a professional courtesy but also provides the opportunity for the exchange of pertinent information that would assist in the review.

    When the review is part of a typical or institutional process, such as a submission to a regulatory body or authority having jurisdiction, the reviewing member is not obliged to contact the member. Where a member is approached by a lawyer to review the work of another member for the purpose of litigation, that communication is protected by the solicitor-client privilege and cannot be disclosed unless the client waives the privilege. Therefore, the reviewing member is not required to contact the prior member; however they should note this in their report.

    The steps to reviewing and evaluating another professional’s work are:

    • Decide whether you are qualified to review and evaluate the work and get instructions as to what the client requires in writing,
    • Review the relevant Quality Management and Professional Practice Guidelines of Engineers and Geoscientists BC,
    • Advise the client that you wish to contact the previous professional. If they stipulate that the former professional is not to be contacted, they should be advised that it is contrary to the spirit and intent of the Code of Ethics. If the client continues to insist that the former professional is not to be contacted, you should advise the client that you will need to document this in your report, including the reasons why. In some instances the comments/criticisms may warrant declining the offer to review the work if you cannot contact the previous professional, and
    • Contact the previous professional to inform them that you are conducting a review and ask if there are any additional materials or information that they think you should have.

    For more information please see:

  • 7. Do I need Primary Professional Liability Insurance?

    Although, the Engineers and Geoscientists Act contains no provision requiring members of Engineers and Geoscientists BC to have professional liability insurance, the association strongly recommends that its professional members who provide consulting engineering or geoscience services have primary professional liability insurance. This can be obtained individually but is most often provided through the corporate entity which employs the member. In accordance with the Section 17 (a) of the Bylaws, you are required to let your client know in writing whether or not you have professional liability insurance and whether that insurance is applicable to the services in question.

    For more information regarding professional liability insurance we recommend that you address your questions to a qualified insurance professional. Our affinity partner, Marsh Canada, can also be contacted for more information on insurance.

  • 8. Can I use the Secondary Professional Liability Insurance as Primary Professional Liability Insurance?

    No, the Secondary Professional Liability Insurance Program was not designed by Engineers and Geoscientists BC to act as primary liability coverage.

    The secondary coverage is not intended for firms, corporations, public entities or employers as these groups are expected to carry specific liability coverage as part of their business. It is also not for sole proprietors or decision makers in a firm engaged in standalone providing engineering or geoscience services.

    Please read more about the limits of the Secondary Professional Liability Insurance Program.

  • 9. I am a limited license holder, but I am qualified in more than one discipline. Can I issue Letters of Assurance (LoAs) that are not under my scope?

    Limited licensees can engage in professional engineering or professional geoscience in a manner consistent with the scope of their license and according to the provisions of their license. A Limited License holder cannot issue Letters of Assurance that are outside of their defined scope.

  • 10. I am looking for an engineer for xxxxx services. Can someone please guide me?

    Several Member Directories are available on our website, where you can search for members and licencees of Engineers and Geoscientists BC by their area of practice and location.

    For more information please visit:
    Member Directories

    An additional directory has been compiled on the basis of self-declarations in areas of practice provided by individual members called the Discrete Scope Directory.

    For more information please visit:
    Discrete Scope Projects Directory

  • 11. I am a consultant. Is there any regulation that limits the fee that I charge my client for the services offered?

    Engineers and Geoscientists BC regulates the practice of professional engineering and professional geoscience. It does not regulate the fees charged by members to their clients. However, Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of BC (ACEC-BC) have developed a guideline document called Budget Guidelines for Consulting Engineering Services that can provide some guidance on project budgets.

    For a copy of the Budget Guidelines for Consulting Engineering Services please visit Professional Practice Guidelines.

  • 12. Can I scan my seal and signature and place it on an electronic document?

    No, a scanned image of your seal, signature, and date, cannot be applied. However, the image of the seal can be scanned and applied to a document, which is then printed, signed and dated. The legal requirement is that the signature is live.

    For more information on sealing requirements please read the Quality Management Guidelines.

  • 13. Can Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia provide legal advice?

    No, the association does not provide legal advice to its members, the public or any other stakeholders.

  • 14. Does Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia issue Certificates of Authorization to organizations?

    The Engineers and Geoscientists Act contains provisions for the Association to issue certificates of authorization—licences issued to allow individuals and businesses to provide professional engineering or geoscience services. Currently there is nothing in the Engineers and Geoscientists Act preventing companies from operating without such certificates. Therefore, certificates of authorization are not enforceable and Engineers and Geoscientists BC does not issue them at this time.

    However, since the association recognizes the significant influence that organizations have on the practice of professional members, the Organizational Quality Management (OQM) program was created in 2012. OQM is a voluntary program that provides guidance on professional practice and quality management at the organization level.

    For more information on the OQM Program page.
  • 15. Can Schedule C-B be withheld for non-payment of fees?

    If the final field review has been completed, then the Schedule C-B cannot be withheld due to the reasons of non-payments of fees. However, if the final field review has not been completed, and if the association member has not been paid in accordance with the contract, then the final field review can be delayed until payment is received.

  • 16. Do I or my client own my design?

    This is dependent on the contract between yourself and the client who owns the designs/work. When this is not negotiated upfront, it can become much more difficult to deal with later in the project. If a dispute arises, Engineers and Geoscientists BC recommends that you consult a lawyer.

  • 17. I was recently terminated from my job, can you provide advice on how to proceed?

    Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia regulates the practice of the professions. It does not get involved in employment or contractual related matters. For employment/contract related advice, Engineers and Geoscientists BC recommends contacting an employment/contract lawyer.

  • 18. When do I need an engineer for my sewerage system?

    The Sewerage Systems Regulation prescribes conditions, such as Type 3 systems, where the services of an Engineers and Geoscientists BC professional are required.

  • 19. What must be done when changing engineer during the course of construction?

    The procedure is described beginning at page 17 of 30 of the Guide to the Letters of Assurance.


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Questions regarding the Engineers and Geoscientists BC Organizational Quality Management Program may be directed to:

Kelly Dayman
Manager, Organizational Quality Management
Email: kdayman@egbc.ca
Phone: 604.639.8184
Toll-free: 1.888.430.8035 ext. 8184

Lina Bowser
Manager, Quality Assurance Programs
Email: oqm@egbc.ca
Phone: 604.412.4862
Toll-free: 1.888.430.8035 ext. 4862
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