Responsible Charge

NSPE Position Statement No. 1745
Adopted: April 2005
Latest Revision: July 2010

In matters involving engineering services and engineering services providers, it is the position of NSPE that the public health, safety, and welfare is best served by having qualified licensed professional engineers in "responsible charge" of the engineering services.

For purposes of this statement the term "responsible charge" means that degree of control an engineer is required to exercise over engineering decisions made personally or by others over which the engineer provides supervisory direction and control authority. In making and approving engineering decisions, the engineer should be physically present or, if not physically present, be available in a reasonable period of time, either personally or through the use of electronic communication devices. Responsible charge and direct supervision are not satisfied with drawing or other document review after preparation without involvement in the design and development process as described above.


  1. An engineer in "responsible charge" should be capable of answering questions relevant to the engineering decisions made as part of the engineer's professional services with such answers being in sufficient detail to demonstrate reasonable knowledge of and proficiency with those engineering issues related to the services provided.
  2. An engineer in "responsible charge" should be completely in charge of, and satisfied with, the work product of the engineering services rendered. Additionally, an engineer in "responsible charge" should have and exercise the authority to review and to reject or approve both the engineering work in progress and the final work product.
  3. An engineer in "responsible charge" should also have personal knowledge of the technical abilities of personnel doing the work and be satisfied the technical credentials of such personnel are suitable for the performance of the work.
  4. By affixing one's engineering seal to the product of one's professional services, the engineer in "responsible charge" should be deemed to have exercised that degree of control and supervision described above and should accept full responsibility for the work product content.