BPELS Committee

Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (BPELSG)
Oscar Serrano, P.E., M.ASCE, Region 9 Governor

As chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Region 9 Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (BPELSG) Committee, this past year I was asked to develop the purpose and goals for the committee. The purpose of the committee is to provide a liaison between the ASCE Region 9 Board of Governors and the BPELSG Board.

One of the goals of the committee is to assist the BPELSG Board with matters pertaining to Civil Engineers. After all, actions that the BPELSG Board takes impact us as civil engineers such as their positions on legislation. At each meeting, the BPELSG Board discusses current legislation that they are watching, supporting or opposed to. Over this past year, a lot of discussion has occurred on Assembly Bill 320 which would create a new title act for Environmental Engineers. That bill failed to pass.

In California, there are several levels of licensure. First there are three practice acts: Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineer. According to the BPELSG website, this means that “only a person appropriately licensed with the Board may practice or offer to practice these branches of engineering.” There are also nine title acts: Agricultural, Chemical, Control System, Fire Protection, Industrial, Metallurgical, Nuclear, Petroleum, and Traffic Engineering. Title act means that “only a person licensed by the Board in that branch of engineering may use the title in any manner.” If AB 320 had passed, the BPELSG would have developed an Environmental Engineer exam or possibly use the national exam. Applicants who passed this exam could then use the title Environmental Engineer. Currently, any person can call themselves an Environmental Engineer. There is also a third level of licensure in California called Authority, which refers to the Structural and Geotechnical Engineering licenses. “An authority indicates a proficiency in that field greater than what is required for civil engineering licensure.” The BPELSG Board also oversees Land Surveyor and Geologists and Geophysics exams.

A second goal of the Region 9 BPELSG committee is to provide the BPELSG Board with information regarding ASCE initiatives like Raise the Bar (http://www.raisethebarforengineering.org/). The State of California currently does not require a master’s degree in engineering to obtain your professional engineer license, and Raise the Bar seeks to advocate for this change for future licensure. For more information on the Raise the Bar initiative contact the ASCE Region 9 Raise the Bar Committee Chair, Kwame Agyare, atagyare.kwame@gmail.com.

The third goal of the committee is to endeavor to attend each of the BPELSG Board meetings. It is important to let the BPELSG Board know that ASCE is at their meetings, and is interested in providing input on matters pertinent to civil engineers. The BPELSG Board holds its meetings throughout California, and so the Region 9 Board often has to utilize its statewide resources and ask our ASCE members throughout the state to represent the committee.

The next BPELSG Board meeting is scheduled for April 21-22 at the Judge Joseph Rattigan Building, Conference Room 410, 50 “D” Street in Santa Rosa. The agenda and meeting materials will be available here (http://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/about_us/meetings/index.shtml) along with the full schedule of meetings for 2016. For more information on the ASCE Region 9 BPELSG committee, contact Oscar Serrano at oserrano@colusa-nsn.gov.