NSPE, South Carolina Society Oppose Piping Legislation Infringing on Engineering Expertise

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

NSPE and the South Carolina Society of Professional Engineers are working together to oppose legislation that would undermine the role of the professional engineer in making final decisions about the correct type of piping to use. South Carolina H 3652 states, “an official or an engineer of a government agency shall consider all piping material in determining project requirements when state funds are used for a water supply, wastewater, or storm drainage project.” In a joint letter to the South Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore, NSPE President Kodi Jean Verhalen, P.E., Esq., F.NSPE, and SCSPE President Angela Musselwhite, P.E., opposed the legislation, pointing out that “This section causes major concern because it creates the ability for an “official of a governmental agency” who may not be a professional engineer licensed in South Carolina to have the final decision on piping materials. If this bill is enacted, any advocate of a certain material could persuade an official to choose the material for piping. The professional engineer is already obligated to choose the right piping material, using their own sound judgment based on experience, expertise, qualifications, and the applied knowledge of engineering principles.”

Under the NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers, “Engineers must perform under a standard of professional behavior that requires adherence to the highest principles of ethical conduct.” If this legislation becomes law, professional engineers will not have the final decision on selection of appropriate piping materials for projects. It is the professional engineer who protects our safety and the professional engineer who must make this decision.