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This is a very interesting article. I hold the Qualifing Party status on my company's licenses.

The missing factor in the article is that truely the company owns the license and the Qualifing Party only owns the exam.

And while you are correct that I am the only one to have sat for the exam, the application for the license is much more stingent, as far as qualifications go, than the qualification I have to have to take the license exam.

The holder of the license (the company) holds the insurance, bonds and financials to hold the license.

Several items of responsibility are left out. Where is the architect - were they not inspecting the project monthly at a minimum? Does the owner not have a responsibility to check the work as well - or hire someone that can do it for him (in addition to the architect)? And the building inspectors - where does their responsibility stop (lots of authority - no responsibility?)
The owner contracted with the general contractor - not the qualifying party. If this is where the buck stops - then can an owner or a GC legitimately sue the individual journeymen on the project and not the (MEP) subcontractor for faulty installations of wiring, plumbing, etc? As for the similarity and comparison with the architect / designer, the person stamping the design drawings is not always the person doing the drawings.
The corporate entity (GC/Design/Subcontractor) is typically the first to be sued, because as "Qualifying Party" points out, they are the entity with the deep (or deeper) pockets, hold all the insurance, bonds and financials, and ultimately are (or should be) responsible for the actions of their employees.

Of course, individuals run corporations. The whole purpose of the corporate veil Is to provide a level of protection to individuals that encourages business enterprise. If you allow penetration of that veil to attach a claim against any individual, you would have to allow access to all individuals, which, of course, eliminates one of the most critical advantages of corporate status.

As Another Op and Qualifying Party both point out, there is much more to licensing qualification than taking a test.

Hi, I'm a private contractor looking for some ideas to brand my firm for free...Can anyone on this page recommend a good Facebook branding app for this? I've used http://mindflashad.com/branding-concept-quiz-design/, but need more concepts-- Only serious answers please!!

When an individual holding a contractor's license becomes an RMO or RME for a construction firm, there is a presumption that he/she will be directly involved in the management of the work being performed. The entire premise of the RMO/RME structure is to ensure someone with a proven expertise in building is actually acting in a management and/or supervisory role. The objective is that projects be completed in workmanlike fashion, in accordance with the contract documents, consistent with applicable codes/laws and prevailing industry standards (best practices).

Far too often the licensed individual does not play that active role - and is in essence 'loaning' the license for a fee, while leaving all of the actual management, supervision of work, training, etc. to others. In those instances, the relationship between the RMO/RME and the company as a whole is really a sham - and Owners are not provided with the promised/implied expertise that attaches to the license number on the letterhead. The RMO/RME does not have to wear bags in the field to fulfill his/her role, but also cannot knowingly abdicate all of his/her obligations.

A prior poster mentioned Architects and Engineers. The same principal applies. The license holder that signs/seals construction documents must by statute be in responsible control of their preparation during the course of their preparation. When a firm principal that really has no understanding of, or involvement in the preparation of designs and technical drawings issued to contractors for implementation, he/she can not (legally) sign/seal those documents 'after the fact'.

When licensed contractors, architects, engineers or others improperly utilize the license by not performing adequate oversight as required by the licensing statutes, they can be sued individually (in addition to the firm being sued). In most firms, the company, through it's insurance, defends and indemnifies the licensee for work performed on behalf of the firm. However, depending on the specific allegations (causes of action in the suit) the individual's exposure is not necessarily limited to that of the corporation, and also may not be covered under the available policy limits and scopes of coverage. When a licensed individual knowingly violates the licensing statutes, and this leads to a damage claim, there may be grounds for the insurer to deny coverage.

When an Owner hires professional designers and constructors, there is a fundamental reliance that they will receive the promised expertise. When that expertise is missing because the licensee 'was nowhere to be seen' in connection with the project, the Owner has not gotten the benefit of his/her bargain. The Owner can (and should be able to) recover resultant damages from whatever party was involved (or not involved), in reasonable proportion to that party's role/responsibility.

In California, where we have a joint and several liability system, everyone's exposure is potentially magnified dependent on what parties are still in business and have insurance. Again, depending on circumstances, licensed individuals acting improperly can be at risk, even when they were part of, or an employee of a corporate entity.

Posted by: Howard I. Littman, AIA, Forensic Architect |

howard i littman, aia hil
forensic architect, consultant, expert witness
resolution of design and construction disputes

5933 kanan road
agoura hills ca 91301
818-991-1361 www.howardlittman.com

I think these were designed to protect those who employ these companies, just to have a set of standards for what qualifies as good service.

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