gerald ROY spencer, P.E.

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.


The “Standard of Care” for Engineering services provided to the public at large does not have an accepted written definition, but is a "moving target" subject different opinions from those in the construction industry, usually depending upon the financial interest of the individual. This opinion will also vary among those in the construction industry with the same financial interests. 

The following is my subjective personal definition of the “Standard of Care” provided by
the Engineers of Record (EOR) for Engineering services provided to their clients during design. My opinion is subject to the differing opinions of all of the different parties involved in the construction industry. My definition is provided as a starting point for any discussion. I will be happy to discuss or argue my opinions in any forum that might be appropriate for discussion or debate of this topic.

The owner or any other client has the right to expect that the Engineers that solicit him for design commissions have previously prepared construction contract drawings and specifications for construction projects similar to his project, and that they have certified similar projects as the EOR for code compliance as required by the Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) for building code enforcement and building permit application.

The engineer preparing construction contract drawings and specifications must realize that the contract documents are only an instrument required for the first step toward construction of a facilityor a modification to a facility, which is (normally) the final objective and the purpose of the contract documents. 

The Engineers must also be very experienced at performing construction contract administration in order to assure that the contractor will be able to perform the work defined by the construction contract documents.  

The Owner has the right to assume that the Engineers of Record (EOR) that he commissions to be responsible for the design and the construction of the owner's project has the following experience and qualifications:

1. The EOR will produce a project that will operate and serve as required to perform the mission or the purpose of the project as defined, described, required, and/or generally accepted to perform as the owner required, directed, and requested wth written and verbal communication to the EOR.

2. The EOR is construction oriented and very experienced at preparing construction contract documents for similar projects for the acquisition of a contract to construct the owner's project.

3. The EOR is responsible the constructability of the construction contract documents that he creates. 

4. The EOR is responsible for producing project contract documents that are are as error free as possible. 

5. The EOR will adequately supervise the construction contractor to assure that the contractor completes the contract requirements of the contract documents as required to construct the facility as defined by the contract documents.

6. The EOR will perform total project management including programming, design, management, cost control, timely service, quality of work and construction contract administration. 

7. The EOR will perform all coordination between the owner's organization documented to as much detail as written word and sketches permit. 

8. The EOR will conduct all meetings and telephone conversations, followed with written confirmation of all items discussed and decisions made at that meeting.  All verbal instructions from clients to the EOR will be confirmed in writing.  This documentation is in the form of confirmation notices numbered in sequence so that continuity of numbered notices assures each recipient that they have all of the coordination documentation on the project. 
The EOR will also conduct periodic formal coordination review meetings during design with all other design disciplines involved.  These meetings allow each design discipline to be informed of the actions of other disciplines, and allow information flow concerning actions of one discipline affecting other disciplines.  Client input at these meetings is an important part of the design process working to satisfy the needs of the client.

The EOR will complete the design work within the time frames allotted, within budget and with a minimum number of field change orders.

10. T
he EOR will complete the design work within the time frames allotted, within budget and with no field change orders.  meet our schedules, even if the schedules require effort above and beyond normal expectations. The EOR will meet the design schedules, even if the schedules require effort above and beyond normal expectations. 

11. The EOR will provide
designers in each discipline who are also the construction cost estimators that prepare the "Final Construction Cost Estimates" used at the project bid openings.  This keeps the EOR's designers cost conscious in lieu of ivory tower type designers whose designs are too expensive to construct.  The EOR's designers should also perform the Construction Contract Administration for the projects that they design in order to assure the constructability of their designs to the point that construction problems and change orders are minimized. Construction cost control will be emphasized by all of the EOR's licensed professionals and by all of the EOR's designers.

12. The EOR will provide final design drawings and specifications for each discipline that have been checked and stamped (certified) by an officer of the firm registered in that particular design discipline prior to issue for bidding or construction.  Final design documents are also cross checked by the EOR's officers registered in other disciplines insofar as coordination between disciplines is required (also spelling, graphics, and etc.).