Q: I’m a building official and want to know is it required for an Engineer to submit an original signature on their plans when submitting for a building permit?
A: Idaho Code states: “The seal and signature of the licensee and date shall be placed on all original documents in such a manner that such seal, signature and date are reproduced when the original document is copied.”
Generally speaking, the engineer possesses the original document and stores it in his or her office. When copies or prints of that document are made, the seal and signature and date are reproduced, so an “original” or “wet” signature is not produced on copies which are typically submitted to the regulatory bodies for review and permitting. Engineers are not required to have an original signature on plan sets submitted for issuance of building permits.
Q: I’m past my birth month and don’t recall getting a renewal notice. Can I renew on the web? What is the late fee?
A: The late fee is 50% of the renewal amount per month or any portion thereof. There is no late fee for EI/LSI/Retired licensees. You can you can renew online and change your address online at: https://www.accessidaho.org/ipels/. The notice was emailed to the email address on file, which may not have been updated by the licensee (as required) when the licensee moved, changed jobs, or otherwise changed addresses. Check http://ipels.idaho.gov/rostersearch.cfm to verify the mailing address information on file.
Renewal notices are a complimentary reminder the Board provides and in no way affect the certificate holder’s responsibility to pay renewal fees on time. Renewal reminders are sent to the email address online. Hardcopy reminders are mailed to the last known address for those license holders without an email address on file. It is the license holder’s responsibility to update and maintain a current mailing address.
Q: What are the requirements for land surveying licensure?
A: The law requires a 4-year degree in order to be licensed. There are two pathways to initial land surveyor licensure. One is to obtain a 4-year degree in surveying or geomatics such as the Idaho State University B.S. in Surveying and Geomatics (see their website at https://www.isu.edu/geomatics/). The other pathway is to obtain a 4-year degree in a related profession and obtain an additional 30 semester credits of surveying courses. ISU offers an Academic Certificate in Land Surveying that will meet the Board’s requirements for the required surveying courses using this pathway. Effective July 1, 2018, Idaho no longer ‘assigns’ applicants to the exams – rather applicants after this date simply signup at NCEES for the exams and once passed and having the requisite experience, apply to the Board for licensure. If you already have a license in another jurisdiction, you may apply for a license by comity.. If you are licensed in another jurisdiction prior to July 1, 2010, the The law requires the Board to measure your credentials against the law that was in effect in Idaho at the time you were licensed in the other jurisdiction. This means that if you were licensed prior to 2010, a 4-year degree may not be required. Also, the Board may waive prescriptive education requirements if you were licensed in another jurisdiction for 8 or more years without discipline.
Q: I am licensed in Canada as a P. Eng. or in the UK as a C. Eng. What do I need to do to get licensed as a P. E. in the State of Idaho?
A: If you’re licensed as a P. E. in any other jurisdiction of the United States, or you have been licensed and practicing in Canada or the UK for over 8 years with no disciplinary actions against you (see Idaho Code 54-1219), you may complete an Application Page and where you’ll find all the necessary documentation required including college transcripts. If you do not have eight (8) years of licensed practice, you will need to take and pass both the NCEES FE and PE examinations. A local law and rules examination may also be required.
Q: I need to renew my license. Can I do that online or over the phone, and pay by credit card?
A: You can renew licenses and intern certificates online at: https://www.accessidaho.org/ipels/. Certificate of Authority renewals must be done online at https://www.accessidaho.org/ipels/coa/.
Q: Fees to reinstate from Retired status – what are they?
A: See IDAPA 24.32.01.020 Discontinued, Retired and Expired Licenses and Certificates – 06. “Fee for Reinstatement a Retired License” The fee for reinstatement of a retired license to active practice is as required for delayed renewals in Section 54-1216, Idaho Code.”
Q: Fees to reinstate from an Expired status – what are they?
A: See IDAPA 24.32.01.020 Discontinued, Retired and Expired Licenses and Certificates – 07. “The fee for reinstatement of an expired license or certificate to active practice shall be as required for delayed renewals in Section 54-1216, Idaho Code.
Q: Can engineers and architects have “site surveyors” on staff without a PLS on staff?
A: The title of “surveyor” is protected under the statute to those who possess a professional land surveyor license. The statute does not regulate who can be hired or employed, but the titles used and the advertisement of professional credentials must be accurately displayed. Site surveying is undefined, but usually means the creation of site specific control and topography for the purposes of designing or improving infrastructure or conducting analysis that requires topographic data (hydrologic or geotechnical investigations, etc.). This work is now included in the recently revised definition of professional land surveying, and must be performed by a professional land surveyor or those under his or her responsible charge. The statute also allows “professional engineers qualified and duly licensed… to perform non-boundary surveys necessary and incidental to the work customarily performed by them.” However, if the firm is advertising “site surveying” credentials and offering this service to the public, they cannot use the term “surveying” unless a professional land surveyor is signing and sealing this work.
Q: If I change my name (marriage, divorce, civil action), do I need to change my name on my PE (or PLS) seal? Wall Certificate?
A: Short answer – Yes!
Long answer –You must have the same name on your seal as you sign your signature (see letter from Board when you received your license). See also IDAPA 24.32.01.101.03 “Use of Seal on Documents. A Licensee shall affix his signature and seal only to plans or documents prepared under his responsible charge.” IC 54-1215 “(1) … Licenses shall show the full name of the licensee, shall give a license number, and shall be signed by the chairman and the secretary of the board under seal of the board. … (3) Each licensee hereunder shall, upon licensure, obtain a seal, the use and design of which are described below.” As far as Wall Certificates are concerned, it is up to you. See: IC 54-1221. Reissuance of licenses and wall certificates. … A new wall certificate to replace any wall certificate revoked, lost, destroyed or mutilated may be issued upon payment of such reasonable charge therefor as shall be fixed by the board to cover the estimated cost of such reissuance, but not exceeding ten dollars ($10.00) in any case.
Q: I’ve changed jobs since I renewed online and listed my employer’s information – how do I change that in your database?
A: At this point you don’t. We asked the question to be sure that employer’s had COA’s and licensees wouldn’t get in trouble for providing services through an unlicensed firm. That information in our database was your situation when you renewed – e.g., a snapshot in time. So you wouldn’t need to change it nor can you. Our database shows your current employer and current licensee’s in responsible charge for COA’s. You are able to change the information for the current situation for your personal license. Your employer is able to identify the licensees in responsible charge listed for the company for their COA. If you leave employment and are listed as the licensee in responsible charge in your employers COA, you should request your employer remove you from the list. Your new employer may then add you to the list for their COA.
Q: I want to retire my license. How do I do that?
A: Use the online renewal process and select “Retired”. No fees are charged to convert a license to a retired license Expired licenses cannot be converted to a retired licenses.
Q: How does one update the responsible person on an engineering firm license?
A: Log into the online renewal page at https://www.accessidaho.org/coa/, click on the “Responsible Charge” tab under the banner and edit your listing.
Q: I want to change my license to an “inactive” status and I do not qualify for “retired” status. How do I make my license inactive?
A: Idaho does not offer an “inactive” status. Instead, Idaho offers “retired” status. There are no qualifications for retired status. To convert the license, please select “Retired Status” during online renewal.
Structural Engineering FAQs
Q: If I want to practice structural engineering, what qualifications do I need to have?
A: IDAPA 24.32.01.101, Rules of Professional Responsibility, Section 101, states in pertinent part:
“01. Assignments In Field Of Competence. A Licensee shall undertake to perform assignments only when qualified by education or experience in the specific technical field involved, however, a Licensee, as the prime professional, may accept an assignment requiring education or experience outside of his own field of competence, but his services are restricted to those phases of the project in which the Licensee is qualified. All other phases of such project shall be performed by qualified associates, consultants or employees. For projects encompassing one (1) or more disciplines beyond the Licensee’s competence, a Licensee may sign and seal the cover sheet for the total project only when the Licensee has first determined that all elements of the project have been prepared, signed and sealed by others who are competent, licensed and qualified to perform such services.”
So a civil engineer who is competent in structural engineering may practice structural engineering.
If the engineer wants to be especially qualified in structural engineering, like being especially qualified in the other disciplines, an engineer would have to take and pass the NCEES Structural Exam. Then their license would say “especially qualified in Structural Engineering” and they would be so listed in our Roster.
Professional Land Surveyor FAQs
Q: Is it necessary to retain a PLS to conduct a field search for monuments prior to the preparation of construction documents or plans by an engineer?
A: The answer is yes. The requirements are in Chapter 55-1613. These requirements have existed in some form since 1978 and have been amended several times with the current version as it was revised in 2011.
Q: What if I find a discrepancy in another Surveyor’s work?
A: Another question that is frequently addressed by the Board and staff deals with the discovery of a problem in the work of another professional. This is addressed in IDAPA 24.31.01.100.04 Obligation to Communicate Discovery of Discrepancy and IDAPA 24.32.01.100.06 Obligation to Affected Landowners. The rules, as revised in 2019, read as follows: IDAPA 24.32.01.100.04 Obligation to Communicate Discovery of Discrepancy
“Except as provided in the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure 26(b)(4)(B), if a Licensee or Certificate Holder, during the course of his work, discovers a material discrepancy, error, or omission in the work of another Licensee or Certificate Holder, which may impact the health, property and welfare of the public, the discoverer shall make a reasonable effort to inform the Licensee or Certificate Holder whose work is believed to contain the discrepancy, error or omission. Such communication shall reference specific codes, standards or physical laws which are believed to be violated and identification of documents which are believed to contain the discrepancies. The Licensee or Certificate Holder whose work is believed to contain the discrepancy shall respond within twenty (20) calendar days to any question about his work raised by another Licensee or Certificate Holder. In the event a response is not received within twenty (20) days, the discoverer shall notify the License or Certificate Holder in writing, who shall have another twenty (20) days to respond. Failure to respond (with supportable evidence) on the part of the Licensee or Certificate Holder whose work is believed to contain the discrepancy shall be considered a violation of these rules and may subject the Licensee or Certificate Holder to disciplinary action by the Board. The discoverer must notify the Board in the event a response that does not answer the concerns of the discoverer is not obtained within the second twenty (20) days. A Licensee or Certificate Holder is exempt from this requirement if their client is an attorney and they are being treated as an expert witness. In this case the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure apply”
And IDAPA 24.32.01.100.06 Obligation to Affected Landowners “Land Surveyors have a duty to set monuments at the corners of their client’s property boundaries in compliance with 54-1227, Idaho Code. Per Subsection 100.04 above, land surveyors also have a duty to notify other licensees of a material discrepancy prior to setting monuments that represent a material discrepancy with a prior survey. If a monument is to be set at a location that represents a material discrepancy with an existing monument at any corner of record, land surveyors must also notify in writing all affected adjoining land owners and the Board prior to setting the new monument.”
The provisions are intended to outline a process that encourages resolution of discrepancies where possible. The most notable changes in 2019 is the addition of landowner notification and the return of the affirmative requirement to notify the board of unresolved discrepancies. Some have suggested the rule does not apply if you simply avoid setting a monument at the corner in dispute. This tactic creates potential violations of 54-1227 and IDAPA 24.32.1.B100.06.
Q: Elevation Certificates- can engineers and surveyors sign and seal?
A: See 54-1202 (11) & (12). Engineering work involves designing and certifying plans for roads, sewers, water, grading and drainage, hydrologic studies and the determination of the base flood elevation (where FEMA did not have a published BFE and an engineer probably did the BFE for the mapping). All of these plans and studies required the engineer to certify elevations.
Surveyors performed and certified topographic surveys, bench mark networks, elevations of buildings & radio towers, surveys for engineering design and FEMA elevation certificates. When surveyors stamped these drawings or reports, they were certifying elevations.
The code was amended in 2012 to allow both engineers and land surveyors to certify elevations.
The amendment codified what was already being practiced. It does not encourage working beyond a licensee’s area of expertise or allow anything that was not already being done. It does not direct an engineer to perform surveys for FEMA elevation certificates, nor does it direct a surveyor to do hydrologic studies or road, drainage and sewer plans.
Q: Do you need a PLS (or COA for company) to do aerial surveys with drones?
A: See the attached letter clarifying drone use Drone Use Letter.
Q: What if a licensee prepares an ALTA survey that does not meet the ALTA minimum standards?
A: While the board does not enforce rules and standards set by private entities, the Rules of Professional Responsibility place several requirements on licensees. The pertinent rules read as follows: IDAPA 24.32.01.102.007 PUBLIC STATEMENTS.
01. Reports, Statements or Testimony. A Licensee or certificate holder must not commit fraud, violate the standard of care, or engage in deceit or misconduct in professional reports, statements or testimony. Each licensee or certificate holder must include all relevant and pertinent information in such reports, statements or testimony and will express opinions in such reports, statements or testimony in accordance with the standard of care.
02. Opinions Based on Adequate Knowledge. A Licensee or Certificate Holder, when serving as an expert or technical witness before any court, commission or other tribunal, may express an opinion only when it is founded upon adequate knowledge of the facts in issue, upon a background of technical competence in the subject matter, and upon honest conviction of the accuracy and propriety of his testimony.
If the licensee prepares an ALTA Survey (or other professional product) that fails to meet the standard of care or is based on inadequate knowledge they are subject to discipline. That includes falsely or incorrectly certifying adherence to other standards.
Q: Do I need to seal a legal description I prepare for a Client as a Professional Land Surveyor?
A: This was addressed in the Agency Guidance Document AGC-2 for Land Surveyors.
Q: Is it acceptable to place the CFedS seal on state authority surveys and documents?
A: This guidance and related information is posted on our website at: https://idwr.idaho.gov/floods/
The guidance may be of interest to many of your members who work with irrigation entities or floodplain development and permitting issues within local NFIP participating communities. A brief summary of the issue:
In 2019, the State of Idaho, working through the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR), issued guidance on permitting low-to-no impact irrigation and drainage development within special flood hazard areas (SFHAs). The term “development” is defined broadly and similarly in both the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations and Idaho law. However, Idaho Code § 46-1021(1) states that “the term ‘development’ does not include the operation, cleaning, maintenance or repair of any ditch, canal, lateral, drain, diversion structure or other irrigation or drainage works.” Further, Idaho Code § 46-1022 specifies that local “floodplain zoning ordinances shall not regulate the operation, cleaning, maintenance or repair” of irrigation and drainage ditches and works. Federal law does not similarly exclude the operation, cleaning, maintenance, or repair (“OCMR”) of irrigation and drainage ditches and works from the definition of development activities. FEMA has advised the State of Idaho that its statutory definition of “development” is not consistent with Federal law, and that a blanket exclusion of OCMR related activities could result in some development activity going un-permitted. In response to this concern, Idaho issued NFIP Irrigation Guidance (Guidance) to clarify permitting requirements for irrigation and drainage development activities in SFHAs.
A copy of the IDWR guidance and other pertinent information may be found at: https://idwr.idaho.gov/floods/.
Q: As a Professional Land Surveyor, what do I have to do on a Condominium project at a minimum?
A: This was addressed in the Boards June 2008 Bulletin, page 3, where this appeared:
BOARD EXPRESSES OPINION ON INVOLVEMENT OF SURVEYORS IN CONDOMINIUMS
The Board reviewed an inquiry from Larry J. Hodge, P.E./L.S. in which he asked the Board “I’m wondering if you could enlighten me on how you think the surveying world, including the Board, has come to the conclusion that condo plats must be done by a PLS.” The Board responded that it relies upon Idaho Code Section 55-1527 which states
“55-1527. ZONING LAWS APPLIED WHERE NOT INCONSISTENT. Except where inconsistent with the provisions or purposes of this act, state and local laws relating to plats, recording, subdivisions or zoning shall apply to condominiums and to projects as herein defined.”
The Board also relied on Idaho Code Section 50-1309, which states, in pertinent part, “The professional land surveyor making the survey shall certify the correctness of said plat and he shall place his seal, signature and date on the plat.”
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) FAQs
Q: I just got my license. This is my first renewal. Do I need to submit my CPD hours when I renew?
A: No, the Board voted that you’re exempt during the 1st license period before your 1st renewal (since it is not a full two (2) year period).
Q: Do Idaho licensed engineers now submit their log and records of Continuing Professional Development on renewal?
A: Short answer – No, effective with renewals in Jul 2013, the log is no longer required to be submitted with all PE, PLS, and PE/LS renewals. There will still be random log checks and audits. The audits will be a request for your log submission and your attendance records. The log checks will ask for only your log. If problems are found in your log or you fail to provide one, then you will also be audited.
Long answer – If you look at the Rule, which is available on our website, you will note you are only required to produce your attendance records when audited. You will be notified by the Board office should you be the subject of an audit.
Q: I’ve taken the Certified Federal Surveyor (CFedS) program, can I get PDHs for that?
A: The Board took this question up at their November 16-18, 2009, Meeting in Boise and determined that they would allow 15 PDHs each for completing each of the of the seven modules (105 PDHs) and another 75 PDHs for completing the program by passing the final cumulative examination (105 PDHs + 75 PDHs = 180 PDHs total).