Executive Summary: The Texas Board of Professional Engineers has been asked to determine the engineering content of Water Tank Rehabilitation (WTR) projects, both public and private. The Board has determined pursuant to the Texas Administrative Code, Title 22, Part 6, Chapter 131, Subchapter G, that all aspects of WTR are engineering and require the services of a Texas licensed professional engineer unless specifically exempted under the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1001, also known as the Texas Engineering Practice Act (Act).
Discussion: New building construction is addressed in the Act under section 1001.407 "Construction of Public Works." Engineering aspects of a public works project must be designed and constructed under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer, unless exempted under the Act. Some typical WTR activities include, but are not limited to:
1) Removing interior or exterior coating.
2) Structural changes to the water tank, including replacement of appurtenances, such as ladders, vents, and overflows.
3) Making repairs that require welding or other mechanical procedures.
4) Modifying the existing foundation, tank shell, floor, roof, or supporting structure.
5) Coating specification. Note that the coating specified by the engineer for surface protection may subsequently receive an additional coating that will be applied for aesthetics (logos, town names, artwork, etc.) without the involvement of a licensed professional engineer.
Exemptions are identified in section 1001.053 "Public Works"
which reads, in part:
§ 1001.053. Public Works
The following work is exempt from this chapter:
(1) a public work that involves electrical or mechanical engineering, if the contemplated expense for the completed project is $8000 or less; or
(2) a public work that does not involve electrical or mechanical engineering , if the contemplated expense for the completed project is $20,000 or less;
Water tank rehabilitation (WTR) or construction projects that take place at facilities that are privately owned are required to be designed by licensed professional engineers. However, there are exemptions found in the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1001:Engineers, Subchapter B - Exemptions. The exemptions from the licensing requirements of the Act that could apply to individuals working on a WTR project include, but are not limited to the following:
1) An exemption under this subchapter applies only to a person who does not offer to the public to perform engineering services. (1001.051)
2) An officer or employee of the United States is exempt from the licensing requirements of this chapter during the time the officer or employee is engaged in the practice of engineering for the United States in this state. (1001.054)
3) A person, sole proprietorship, firm, partnership, joint stock association, or private corporation is exempt from the licensing requirements of this chapter if the person or entity is erecting, constructing, enlarging, altering, or repairing or is drawing plans or specifications for a private building to be used exclusively for farm, ranch, or agricultural purposes. (1001.056 (a)(2)(E)(i))
4) This chapter shall not be construed to apply to the activities of a private corporation or other business entity, or the activities of the full-time employees or other personnel under the direct supervision and control of the business entity, on or in connection with reasonable modifications to existing buildings, facilities, or other fixtures to real property not accessible to the general public and which are owned, leased, or otherwise occupied by the entity. (1001.057 (a) (1))
5) A regular full-time employee of a privately owned public utility or cooperative utility or of the utility's affiliate is exempt from the licensing requirements of this chapter if the employee performs services exclusively for the utility or affiliate and does not have the final authority to approve, or the ultimate responsibility for, engineering designs, plans, or specifications that are to be incorporated into fixed works, systems, or facilities on the property of others; or made available to the public. (1001.058)
6) A regular full-time employee of a private business entity
who is engaged in erecting, constructing, enlarging, altering, repairing, rehabilitating,
or maintaining an improvement to real property in accordance with plans or specifications
that have an engineer's seal is exempt from this chapter. This exemption includes
the use of a job title or personnel classification by the employee if the employee
does not use the title or classification in connection with an offer to the
public to perform engineering services. (1001.062)