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.
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