Community Forums

TBPLS no more  

Page 1 / 2 Next
  RSS

ANOTHER_TEXAS_SURVEYOR
(@another_texas_surveyor)
100+ posts Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 120
January 11, 2019 9:18 am  

The Sunset Commission has voted to abolish the Texas Board of Professional Surveying and has planned to be absorbed by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.  


ReplyQuote
flyin solo
(@flyin-solo)
1,000+ posts Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1168
January 11, 2019 9:54 am  

yep- this topic caused a rather heated exchange at a seminar i attended last month.

put me in the crowd (for now) who still expects the sky to be blue for as long as i live, and who can't wait to get paid to clean up all the anticipated messes that may result.  i reserve the right to change my mind at any point in the future.

This post was modified 1 week ago by flyin solo

Rankin_File liked
ReplyQuote
Shawn Billings
(@shawn-billings)
2,500+ posts Vendor
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 2505
January 11, 2019 10:01 am  

I've struggled to understand why I should care, honestly. I don't have a great deal of confidence in the TBPLS to police the profession.

 

I'm not sure what messes you expect will need to be cleaned up that don't already exist in the current situation. The Board has (perhaps of necessity) disciplined surveyors for easy to prove, yet generally inert, infractions (such as leaving something off a plat), and neglected to discipline actual cardinal sins of surveying (like not setting corners). We probably all know of two or three surveyors that we cannot believe still have a license. The board is simply not a factor in my daily life until I have to do continuing education and pay my licensing fees for Firm Registration and RPLS.

Shawn Billings, RPLS
Owner of Pendulum Surveying in East Texas


kkw_archer and Jp7191 liked
ReplyQuote
flyin solo
(@flyin-solo)
1,000+ posts Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1168
January 11, 2019 10:09 am  
Posted by: Shawn Billings

I've struggled to understand why I should care, honestly. I don't have a great deal of confidence in the TBPLS to police the profession.

 

I'm not sure what messes you expect will need to be cleaned up that don't already exist in the current situation. The Board has (perhaps of necessity) disciplined surveyors for easy to prove, yet generally inert, infractions (such as leaving something off a plat), and neglected to discipline actual cardinal sins of surveying (like not setting corners). We probably all know of two or three surveyors that we cannot believe still have a license. The board is simply not a factor in my daily life until I have to do continuing education and pay my licensing fees for Firm Registration and RPLS.

i pretty much agree with you- the board has long been a toothless organization, in both a literal and figurative sense.  just paying a visit to their current office would tell the average human that it's been rendered little more than an afterthought.  (getting to their cubby in the middle of that building evokes that last verse of "green green grass of home").

the only messes i'm referring to what i expect will result should the new combined board suddenly find it a good idea to start handing out RPLS stamps to heretofore non-qualifiers (and yes- what i'm trying to say is handing out surveying stamps to engineers just because they're engineers), and possible surveys done by people who have even less grasp of the concepts of boundary law than our current crop of compatriots as a whole. 


ReplyQuote
Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
2,500+ posts Member
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 4092
January 11, 2019 10:11 am  

The Board in each of the 3 states I'm licensed in governs both Engineers and Land Surveyors. Sometimes it's not perfect, but none of these states is actually on en fuego at this time. 

"Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through." Learned Hand


ReplyQuote
Shawn Billings
(@shawn-billings)
2,500+ posts Vendor
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 2505
January 11, 2019 10:20 am  
Posted by: flyin solo
Posted by: Shawn Billings

I've struggled to understand why I should care, honestly. I don't have a great deal of confidence in the TBPLS to police the profession.

 

I'm not sure what messes you expect will need to be cleaned up that don't already exist in the current situation. The Board has (perhaps of necessity) disciplined surveyors for easy to prove, yet generally inert, infractions (such as leaving something off a plat), and neglected to discipline actual cardinal sins of surveying (like not setting corners). We probably all know of two or three surveyors that we cannot believe still have a license. The board is simply not a factor in my daily life until I have to do continuing education and pay my licensing fees for Firm Registration and RPLS.

i pretty much agree with you- the board has long been a toothless organization, in both a literal and figurative sense.  just paying a visit to their current office would tell the average human that it's been rendered little more than an afterthought.  (getting to their cubby in the middle of that building evokes that last verse of "green green grass of home").

the only messes i'm referring to what i expect will result should the new combined board suddenly find it a good idea to start handing out RPLS stamps to heretofore non-qualifiers (and yes- what i'm trying to say is handing out surveying stamps to engineers just because they're engineers), and possible surveys done by people who have even less grasp of the concepts of boundary law than our current crop of compatriots as a whole. 

If that becomes the case then that will be a fight that will need to be had. I don't really see passing out stamps to engineers. That happened in the late seventies to early eighties because there was no set requirement for RPS at the time and when the requirements for becoming an RPS (Registered Public Surveyor) were being established, the State had to grandfather those who were already operating as surveyors. 

 

Personally I don't see too many engineers wanting to do what we do. As Norman points out, many States already have combined PE/RPLS boards. It is a far better outcome than being put under the general board of licensure. 

Shawn Billings, RPLS
Owner of Pendulum Surveying in East Texas


ReplyQuote

Resolve to Get Licensed - Save 15% on Almost Everything

RADAR
(@dougie)
2,500+ posts Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 4394
January 11, 2019 10:22 am  

It's always baffled me; that surveyors are lumped in with engineers. Boundary surveying has nothing to do with engineering. It seems to me that engineers want to keep a tight rein on who can and cannot do topo surveys, construction staking and monitoring. 

In Europe, land surveying is governed by RICS, surveyors watching out for surveyors...

I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun.--Thomas A. Edison

Citius, altius, fortius


ReplyQuote
flyin solo
(@flyin-solo)
1,000+ posts Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1168
January 11, 2019 10:42 am  

again Shawn, i'm in total agreement.  only thing that might vary due to our different circumstances: as somebody who's spent more than my share of time inside the hallways, offices, and payrolls of engineering/development firms in austin is that i can't count the number of times i've heard "it's just shooting a few points, how come we can't get it tomorrow/after lunch/for free/just tell me where you keep the gear and i'll go do it myself."

that attitude- which is very real and very pervasive among the "i had to take a surveying class at UT/A&M/Tech when i got my engineering degree" crowd- coupled with the fact that, as licensed surveyors, those of us who theoretically will be at it for a couple more decades stand to see a fairly substantial uptick in the demand for our services.  the resultant fee schedules are going to be pretty enticing for those guys who got a few required credit hours back in their younger days...

 

This post was modified 1 week ago 2 times by flyin solo

ReplyQuote
Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
2,500+ posts Member
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 4092
January 11, 2019 10:45 am  

Posted by: Shawn Billings 

Personally I don't see too many engineers wanting to do what we do. As Norman points out, many States already have combined PE/RPLS boards. It is a far better outcome than being put under the general board of licensure. 

None of the 3 states I am licensed in allows engineers to survey boundaries on the basis of their Engineering licenses.  In Oregon they once could, but it was sunsetted beginning in the mid '70s, and so far as I know nobody has proposed bringing it back. Engineers can test for a survey license, and often do. Enough fail that testing to make a great case for why Engineers should not just be awarded a survey license. 

"Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through." Learned Hand


ReplyQuote
thebionicman
(@thebionicman)
2,500+ posts Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 2927
January 11, 2019 11:52 am  

The general mood in government these days is less regulation and less spending to regulate. I will keep my opinions on that to myself. It's just a statement about the way it is.

I seriously doubt Texas has some nefarious group of engineers plotting the takeover of surveying. I've worked in over a dozen states, most of which have a combined board. The engineers have shed survey functions in nearly all of them. None have had a serious move to license PEs as LSs for several decades.

CFedS, PLS ID-OR-WA-UT-NV


JKinAK liked
ReplyQuote
Andy Nold
(@andy-nold)
1,000+ posts Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 1896
January 11, 2019 12:42 pm  

They will keep charging the same fees and provide less service. I have a complaint that has been under investigation since 2015 and still no resolution. The guy is still surveying. I doubt a merged board is going to be more effective. The State should have let the TBPLS to keep more of its money to hire a full-time investigator instead of milking it for revenue for the general fund. 

“A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man!” - Jebediah Springfield


Rankin_File liked
ReplyQuote
Shawn Billings
(@shawn-billings)
2,500+ posts Vendor
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 2505
January 11, 2019 12:54 pm  
Posted by: Andy Nold

They will keep charging the same fees and provide less service. I have a complaint that has been under investigation since 2015 and still no resolution. The guy is still surveying. I doubt a merged board is going to be more effective. The State should have let the TBPLS to keep more of its money to hire a full-time investigator instead of milking it for revenue for the general fund. 

I'm pretty sure that's exactly why the Sunset Commission is bringing the hammer down, Andy. It seems like a lateral move to me. By the way, maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention, but I recall when Firm Registration was $25. I was surprised to see that it is now $125. Maybe it's been that much for a while now, but it seems high for what it is.

Shawn Billings, RPLS
Owner of Pendulum Surveying in East Texas


ReplyQuote

Resolve to Get Licensed - Save 15% on Almost Everything

JKinAK
(@jkinak)
250+ posts Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 285
January 11, 2019 1:12 pm  

Our state has a combined board - Architects, Engineers, Land Surveyors, Landscape Architects, and the Public. There are 11 members. Initially I thought this was not a good idea. In fact, it seems to work really well. The regulations that come out of the Board are considered from the perspective of other design professionals.

In the case of Alaska, the combined board works very well - but I'd be leery of bringing too many groups to the Board - Board members have to learn about the issues of other professions with enough depth to contribute meaningfully to the discussion. Too many professions would make this nearly impossible, meetings would last forever, and very little would get accomplished.

Some Combined Board Benefits:

1. Better discussion - You have to make a case that's valid from the perspective of multiple professions: It's one thing for a surveyor to have to convince other surveyors that some reg is good for the public vs. convincing other design professionals. It's impressive what the Engineers, Architects, and Landscape Architects have supported when they've had the chance to listen to and question the Land Surveyors on the Board.

2. More clout - Politicians and building officials generally respect the decisions of a Board more if that board is comprised of multiple professions - the regs aren't just good for the surveyors:  surveyors and engineers and ... think the reg a good idea.

3. Even more clout - the Board represents many more registrants (I'd guess it's at least 5x - someone from Texas probably knows the number). More constituents = stronger voice.

4. Better public notice - all Board constituents are notified of the changes - this improves the chances that registrants are aware of all reg changes will be recognized and followed.

5. More professional acceptance - There are representatives from key design professions that have in-depth knowledge of why reg changes come about - these are the Board members who are typically well connected in the design community - when the engineers here about why a reg doesn't allow them to perform surveys the initial reaction used to be "protectionism". But when an engineer from the Board explains that they don't have education, experience, or testing on the topics required to do some professional activity then other engineers listen a little closer - this is a fellow engineer advocating the surveyors position (I've seen civil engineers tell other engineers that it's just not worth using GPS - get someone who is competent with geodesy, projections, coordinate systems, etc. and avoid the headache and potential liability.) This has also been important in getting the word out to GIS only folks who are practicing land surveying - many of them are working for engineers.

6. Perceived as less biased -The regs and decisions of the Board don't smell protectionist because they are approved by representatives from multiple professions. 

At the end of the day, I believe the combined board puts out better vetted regs which are more readily accepted because of the diversity on the Board.

This should be viewed as a great opportunity - it make take a few generations of Board members to yield real cooperation and benefits, but if everyone has the right attitude - protect the public - then it'll work.

This post was modified 1 week ago by JKinAK

- John


ReplyQuote
TXSurveyor
(@txsurveyor)
250+ posts Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 341
January 11, 2019 4:48 pm  

I’m on the fence as well. Just reading the report by the Sunset Commission it was fairly obvious that the board was mis managed for quite some time. Maybe their hands were tied due to lack of funds. The hand slaps some of the Surveyors have gotten for doing sub par work has been ridiculous and standard op in my short 18 years of surveying.

I hope surveyors have a strong voice on the combined board but I see a lot of changes coming for testing, and investigations. I also hope some of the vague rules that were written in what i assume was an attempt to not be over reaching are modified as well. Too much gray area, we don’t need a textbook or manual to survey by but black and white rules which can’t be swayed by the opinions of the board members would seem to protect the public more.


ReplyQuote
A Harris
(@a-harris)
5,000+ posts Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 7445
January 11, 2019 6:30 pm  

TBPLS was probably one of the only state agencies that used no tax dollars.

Around 1975 the news of a Sunset Agency Review set fire between Surveyors and Engineers because the latter was intent on abolishing surveyor liscensure completely

With one surveyor on the new board, we will always be in the minority.

40 years ago, I would certainly be saying we are certainly headed down a rabbit hole with no future.

Today I see a possible exit from ever collecting snd paying in sales tax again because for around 25+yrs that has been a burden.

Locally, there are more active surveyors than engineers.ost of them are at TxDot and the others have no need for land surveyors and would not pay one minimum  wage. 

I see our worst news coming from Title Companies who would rather sell a survey exemption than wait for a boundary to land on their desk.

What surprises me most is that it costs twice as much to be a member of the TSPLS, society,  as it does to renew our license.

RPLS NE Texas
d[-_-]b


Rankin_File liked
ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 2 Next
iGage Static GPS - GNSS Receivers
  
Working

Please Login or Register