Gerald Spencer, P.E. has more than 50 years experience serving as the Engineer of Record responsible for the design and construction of the MEP portions of more than 1300 building construction projects since 1968 including more than 30 years of preparing forensic engineering reports. Gerald Spencer, P.E. has also been providing licensed professional engineering expert opinion and testimony concerning HVAC, electrical, plumbing, cryogenics, ventilation, construction contract compliance, construction cost estimating, construction contract acquisition, construction contract administration, and other construction matters for attorneys with since 2001.
DEFINITION OF AN HVAC LICENSED PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER (HVACPE): There is no accepted written definition of an individual who is qualified to practice and render HVAC engineering services to the general public in return for monetary compensation. This page is my attempt to coin the definition of an HVACPE. These engineering qualification requirements for an HVACPE will vary according to the complexity of the HVAC system. The HVAC engineering qualification requirements for a residence, strip center, or office lease require the least qualified, experienced and licensed engineer with experience as the EOR for that type of facility. A high rise multi-story construction with the design in accordance with the “High Rise Fire Code” would require greater engineering qualification requirements. The HVACPE for the design of an Open Heart Hospital Surgical Suite, Medical Research Laboratory, Critical Mission Space Flight systems Reliability, Petrochemical Process Refrigeration, or an Indoor Firing Range would require the greatest amount of qualifications and experience for the EOR and that would then limit the engineers to those that are reasonably qualified to be the Engineer of Record (EOR) for one of these complicated projects.
As an example of professional liability for malpractice performed by any licensed professional serving the public at large, please consider an unimaginable scenario where the late world-renowned Houston heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey, who is/was legally qualified by Texas law to also perform brain surgery according to the laws of the State of Texas, might have in fact performed brain surgery on a patient in return for financial compensation.
If complications from that brain surgery harmed the patient, then Dr. DeBakey should be required to compensate the patient for the damage done by Dr. DeBakey.
Dr. DeBakey would have certainly not done any brain surgery because he knows that he does not have the specific skills and experience that would predict a successful outcome of that brain surgery when his skills are compared to those medical doctors that do have those specific brain surgery skills and experience that would predict a successful outcome.
The following is my subjective list of the minimum requirements that a Texas state licensed professional consulting engineer should have in order to meet TEPA definition of the minimum education and experience requirements for an individual PE to offer or provide professional consulting engineering services to the public for any HVAC project that is as complicated as an a surgical operating suite or an Indoor Pistol Firing Range project:
1. Texas state professional mechanical engineering license.
2. At least five years of full time experience as an EIT or experience under the mentoring of an HVACPE in order to learn the nuances of providing HVAC engineering services to the general public.
3. Continuous private consulting practice for at least 10 years as an HVAC practicing engineer as described below:
3.1. Continuous HVAC private consulting engineering practice which entails performing HVAC engineering services where these services include being the EOR responsible for preparing design calculations, drawings, specifications, design analysis, and other construction contract documents that are required for the acquisition of HVAC system construction contracts for the business entity or the public citizen that commissions the HVACPE.
3,2. These HVACPE services also include the construction contract administration, project testing, project acceptance, and other similar services performed to assist the owner of the facility to construct and initially start operation of the facility.
3.3. Private HVAC consulting engineering practice does not include performing sales application of HVAC equipment that the engineer is selling, HVAC construction contracting, or other HVAC industry related activities.
3.4. Private HVAC consulting engineering practice does not include performing professional engineering for chemical process plant design, retail product design, electrical power generation, or other non-HVAC industry-related activities.
3.5. Private HVAC consulting engineering practice does not include the preparation of contract documents that are utilized in the acquisition of HVAC system construction contracts for the business entity where that PE has a financial interest or where the PE is employed, such as an HVAC contractor.
3.6. Experience as the EOR for at least 10 projects with similar complexity to this facility requiring large amounts of OSA ventilation for occupant safety, capture velocity, etc.
3.7. Preparation of completely detailed contract documents suitable for competitive bidding for the acquisition of HVAC system construction contracts of similar complexity.
3.8. Responsibility to the AHJ as the EOR for the design and construction of at least 50 HVAC projects in climates where humidity control is one of the primary governing criteria; e.g. Houston, Texas.
4. Membership in ASHRAE.
5. A Texas state professional engineering license to assure that the EOR is reasonably qualified and experienced in HVAC design to be the EOR for this facility IAW the TEPA rules and regulations to the extent that a successful outcome of the design and the construction of the facility could be expected.
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