Widely Used Engineering Documents Get a Facelift: EJCDC Releases New Owner-Engineer Agreement Documents

Release Status: 
Contact Name: 
Stacey A. Ober
Contact Number: 
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

For the first time since 2002, the Engineers Joint Contract Document Committee has updated its standard professional services contract for owner and engineer, EJCDC E-500, and the National Society of Professional Engineers made it available for purchase on February 2, 2009. EJCDC has been producing standard contract documents for over 32 years, and they are widely recognized as the most fair and objective documents in the engineering, construction, and design-build industries.

"These revisions to the 2002 version of the document follow in EJCDC's tradition of setting the industry standard for customizable engineering design and construction contract documents," said NSPE Director of Professional Practice Kim Granados. "The E-500 is a must-have base contract document for an engineer."
The 2008 edition of EJCDC E-500 maintains the solid base of terms and conditions found in prior editions, while making changes that enhance clarity and reflect current design and contruction-phase engineering practices. A full list of the changes and updates may be found on
www.nspe.org/ejcdc. Key highlights of the changes include the following:

  • Safety—EJCDC has revised the agreement to provide that the owner must inform the engineer of specific safety requirements that must be followed at the project site. In most cases, the compliance with safety rules will be a basic included service, however if a requirement is added after the effective date of the agreement, compliance will be treated as an additional service.
  • Insurance—Because most design engineers don't provide insurance advice as part of professional practice, the EJCDC documents provide that the owner must take responsibility for making insurance decisions like setting policy limits. A provision was added to the E-500 documents emphasizing that the engineer's services do not include providing insurance or bonding advice to the owner. The new edition also lists the insurance coverages that the owner must require from the construction contractor, rather than simply cross-referencing them from another document.
  • Additional Services—A reorganization of the scope of services sections was completed to clarify which services are basic included responsibilities and which are additional services and therefore entitled to compensation under specific provisions. These modification should allow for better pricing and budgeting for all parties.

EJCDC will soon issue revised editions of its other professional services documents, including the owner/engineer task order edition (EJCDC E-505), the short form (EJCDC E520), and its series of  professional services subagreements. In addition, a narrative guide to using the EJCDC Engineering Series documents will be released.

Each EJCDC contract document is prepared by experienced engineering design and construction professionals, owners, contractors, professional liability and risk management experts, and legal counsel. EJCDC includes NSPE's Professional Engineers in Private Practice and the participation of more than 18 other professional engineering design, construction, owner, legal, and risk management organizations.

EJCDC documents are immediately downloadable in MS Word format, are user-friendly, and are a cost-saving alternative to other documents on the market due to their usability for multiple projects. They are peer-created and consistently reviewed, meaning users get the most balanced, fair, and updated documents available on a continual basis.

EJCDC offers contract documents in the following categories: construction, owner/engineer, engineer/subconsultant, funding agency editions, procurement, and design-build. NSPE members enjoy a significant discount on the cost for the documents, which can be immediately purchased and downloaded at www.nspe.org/ejcdc/index.html.

Additional Notes: 

The National Society of Professional Engineers is the national society of licensed professional engineers from all disciplines that promotes the ethical and competent practice of engineering, advocates licensure, and enhances the image and well-being of its members. Founded in 1934, NSPE serves more than 45,000 members and the public through 53 state and territorial societies and more than 500 chapters. For more information, please visit www.nspe.org.