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State Board of Professional Engineers And Land Surveyors

N.J.A.C. 13:40-1.3 and 3.2
Notice of Receipt of Petition for Rulemaking
Distinguish Between the Practices of Professional Engineering and Land Surveying; Topographic Survey; and Engineering Measurements

Petitioner: The New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers

Take notice that on October 17, 2006, the State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors received a petition for rulemaking from Lawrence P. Powers, Esq., counsel for petitioner, the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers (NJSPE), a professional organization and sub-component of the National Society of Professional Engineers. The petitioner requests that the Board amend its rules at N.J.A.C. 13:40-1.3 to include a definition for the terms "boundary survey," "engineering measurements," and "topographic survey." In addition, the petitioner requests that the definition of "engineering," "professional engineering," or "practice of engineering" and the definition of "land surveying," "surveying," or "practice of land surveying" be amended. Finally, the petitioner requests that the Board amend N.J.A.C. 13:40-3.2 to include new subsection (d), which would allow a professional engineer to include, in a plan prepared by the professional engineer, information taken from a boundary or topographic survey prepared by a land surveyor as long as a signed and sealed copy of the survey is attached to the plan.

The purpose of petitioner's proposed amendments is to establish a clear line of demarcation between the practices of professional engineering and land surveying. The petitioner states that the amendments to the definitions of the practices of engineering and land surveying are proposed to make the definitions consistent with current practices. The inclusion of "boundary survey," "engineering measurements" and "topographic survey" would clearly establish the distinctions between the professional disciplines of engineering and land surveying. The petitioner states that the current regulations create ambiguity with the controlling statute and confusion as to what constitutes a topographical survey and what constitutes engineering measurements needed in an engineering project, where the project may include topography but does not include boundaries or legal identifications of the property. The petitioner states that as currently written, a professional engineer who takes a topographical measurement for an engineering project may be viewed as engaging in the practice of land surveying.

Full text of the petitioner's suggested amendments follows (additions indicated in boldface):


13:40-1.3   Definitions

. . .

"Boundary survey" means the research of deeds, easements, utility records, title reports, fieldwork, including precision survey measurements, and preparation of maps and plans which accurately measure the boundaries of a parcel of land, in accordance with the "Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for American Land Title Association/American Congress on Surveying & Mapping (ALTA/ACSM) Land Title Surveys," 1999, as jointly adopted by the ALTA, 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 705, Washington D.C. 20036, the ACSM, 5410 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814, and the National Society of Professional Surveyors, Inc., 5410 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814, which requirements are incorporated herein by reference, as amended and supplemented.

. . .

"Engineering," "professional engineering" or "practice of engineering" means any service or creative work the adequate performance of which requires engineering education, training and experience and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such services or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning and design of engineering works and systems, planning the use of land and water, engineering studies and the administration of construction for the purpose of determining compliance with drawings and specifications, any of which embraces such services or work, either public or private, in connection with any engineering project including: utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, work systems, projects, telecommunications, or equipment of a mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic or thermal nature, insofar as they involve safeguarding life, health or property, and including such other professional services as may be necessary to the planning, progress and completion of any engineering services, which shall include, without limitation, any services related to performing "engineering measurements" as defined herein. The practice of professional engineering does not include the work ordinarily performed by persons who operate or maintain machinery or equipment.

"Engineering measurements" means any measurement, or utilization of existing data, and depiction of the physical landscape, horizontal and vertical topography, and any readily observable physical features and man-made structures, necessary for the design, construction stake-out, construction and post-construction records of an engineering project, provided that these measurements do not seek to establish property lines, lot lines, easement lines, or right-of-way lines, intended for use as a legal designation or description of the same, which would otherwise be required from a licensed land surveyor, and provided, however, that such measurements and depictions are not intended for use as a "boundary survey" or "topographic survey" as specifically defined herein.

. . .

"Land surveying" "surveying" or "practice of land surveying" means any service or work the adequate performance of which involves the application of special knowledge of the principles of mathematics, the related physical and applied sciences and the relevant requirements of law to the act of measuring and locating distances, directions, elevations, topography including natural and man-made topographical features in the air, on the surface of the earth, within underground workings, and on beds of bodies of water for the purpose of determining areas and volumes, and for the establishing of horizontal and vertical control as it relates to construction stake-out, for the monumentation of property boundaries and for platting and layout of lands and subdivisions thereof and for the preparation and perpetuation of maps, record plats, field notes, records and property descriptions in manual and computer coded form that represents these surveys. The preparation of "boundary surveys" and "topographic surveys" as specifically defined herein are reserved solely to the practice of land surveying. The practice of land surveying includes the establishment and maintenance of the base mapping and related control for land information systems that are developed from the practice of land surveying.

. . .

"Topographic survey" means a survey specifically denominated as a "topographic survey" created for the sole and expressed purpose of establishing and depicting the configuration of the surface of the earth and the location of natural and man-made objects relative to the surface of the earth as related to a particular parcel of land, prepared pursuant to the "Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys" (see definition of "boundary survey" above).


13:40-3.2   Licensure exemptions: acceptable measurements by professional engineers

(a)-(c) (No change.)

(d) Nothing in this subchapter shall preclude a person licensed by the Board as a professional engineer from including in any plan prepared by professional engineer any such information which has been taken from a boundary survey or a topographic survey, as defined herein, prepared by a licensed land surveyor, provided, however, that a signed and sealed copy of the boundary survey or topographic survey utilized by the professional engineer in preparing the plan shall be attached to the plan submittal.

In accordance with N.J.A.C. 1:30-4.2, the Board shall subsequently mail to the petitioner, and file with the Office of Administrative Law, a notice of action on the petition.

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