Business and Professions Code - BPC

Published: 2015-07-08

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Business and Professions Code - BPC


  ( Heading of Division 3 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 30. )

CHAPTER 7. Professional Engineers [6700 - 6799]

  ( Chapter 7 repealed and added by Stats. 1951, Ch. 1709. )
ARTICLE 1. General Provisions [6700 - 6706.3]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1951, Ch. 1709. )


This chapter constitutes the chapter on professional engineers. It may be cited as the Professional Engineers Act.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 732, Sec. 1.)


“Professional engineer,” within the meaning and intent of this act, refers to a person engaged in the professional practice of rendering service or creative work requiring education, training and experience in engineering sciences and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences in such professional or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning or design of public or private utilities, structures, machines, processes, circuits, buildings, equipment or projects, and supervision of construction for the purpose of securing compliance with specifications and design for any such work.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1161.)


“Civil engineer” as used in this chapter means a professional engineer in the branch of civil engineering and refers to one who practices or offers to practice civil engineering in any of its phases.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1161.)


“Electrical engineer” as used in this chapter means a professional engineer in the branch of electrical engineering and refers to one who practices or offers to practice electrical engineering in any of its phases.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1161.)


“Mechanical engineer” as used in this chapter means a professional engineer in the branch of mechanical engineering and refers to one who practices or offers to practice mechanical engineering in any of its phases.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1161.)


The phrase “responsible charge of work” means the independent control and direction, by the use of initiative, skill, and independent judgment, of the investigation or design of professional engineering work or the direct engineering control of such projects. The phrase does not refer to the concept of financial liability.

(Amended by Stats. 1986, Ch. 229, Sec. 1.)


“Supervision of the construction of engineering structures” means the periodic observation of materials and completed work to determine general compliance with plans, specifications, and design and planning concepts. However, “supervision of the construction of engineering structures” does not include responsibility for the superintendence of construction processes, site conditions, operations, equipment, personnel, or the maintenance of a safe place to work or any safety in, on, or about the site.

For purposes of this subdivision, “periodic observation” means visits by an engineer, or his or her agent, to the site of a work of improvement.

(Amended by Stats. 1987, Ch. 959, Sec. 2.)


(a) In order to safeguard life, health, property, and public welfare, no person shall practice civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering unless appropriately licensed or specifically exempted from licensure under this chapter, and only persons licensed under this chapter shall be entitled to take and use the titles “consulting engineer,” “professional engineer,” or “registered engineer,” or any combination of those titles or abbreviations thereof, and according to licensure with the board the engineering branch titles specified in Section 6732, or the authority titles specified in Sections 6736 and 6736.1, or the title “engineer-in-training.”

(b) The provisions of this section shall not prevent the use of the title “consulting engineer” by a person who has qualified for and maintained exemption for using that title under the provisions of Section 6732.1, or by a person licensed as a photogrammetric surveyor.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 658, Sec. 89. Effective January 1, 2007.)


(a) The Department of Consumer Affairs, in conjunction with the board, and the Joint Committee on Boards, Commissions, and Consumer Protection shall review the engineering branch titles specified in Section 6732 to determine whether certain title acts should be eliminated from this chapter, retained, or converted to practice acts similar to civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, and whether supplemental engineering work should be permitted for all branches of engineering. The department shall contract with an independent consulting firm to perform this comprehensive analysis of title act registration.

(b) The independent consultant shall perform, but not be limited to, the following: (1) meet with representatives of each of the engineering branches and other professional groups; (2) examine the type of services and work provided by engineers in all branches of engineering and interrelated professions within the marketplace, to determine the interrelationship that exists between the various branches of engineers and other interrelated professions; (3) review and analyze educational requirements of engineers; (4) identify the degree to which supplemental or “overlapping” work between engineering branches and interrelated professions occurs; (5) review alternative methods of regulation of engineers in other states and what impact the regulations would have if adopted in California; (6) identify the manner in which local and state agencies utilize regulations and statutes to regulate engineering work; and (7) recommend changes to existing laws regulating engineers after considering how these changes may affect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

(c) The board shall reimburse the department for costs associated with this comprehensive analysis. The department shall report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature by September 1, 2002.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 22, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2006.)


A subordinate is any person who assists a registered professional engineer in the practice of professional engineering without assuming responsible charge of work.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1951, Ch. 1709.)


(a) An engineer who voluntarily, without compensation or expectation of compensation, provides structural inspection services at the scene of a declared national, state, or local emergency at the request of a public official, public safety officer, or city or county building inspector acting in an official capacity shall not be liable in negligence for any personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage caused by the engineer’s good faith but negligent inspection of a structure used for human habitation or owned by a public entity for structural integrity or nonstructural elements affecting life and safety.

The immunity provided by this section shall apply only for an inspection that occurs within 30 days of the declared emergency.

Nothing in this section shall provide immunity for gross negligence or willful misconduct.

(b) As used in this section:

(1) “Engineer” means a person registered under this chapter as a professional engineer, including any of the branches thereof.

(2) “Public safety officer” has the meaning given in Section 3301 of the Government Code.

(3) “Public official” means a state or local elected officer.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 1013, Sec. 52.5. Effective January 1, 2003.)


Any reference in any law or regulation to a registered engineer, or to a registered civil, electrical, or mechanical engineer, is deemed to refer to a licensed engineer, or to a licensed civil, electrical, or mechanical engineer, as the case may be.

(Added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 59, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 1999.)