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Florida to require "documentable expertise"...

Discussion in 'Surveying & Geomatics' started by I. Ben Havin, May 18, 2017.

  1. I. Ben Havin

    I. Ben Havin 4-Year Member

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    "...has documentable expertise in the discipline used in producing the work product or service."

    What exactly can the ramifications be of such a mandate?

    The State of Florida seems to be in the process of revising their Standards of Practice. A copy of the new (proposed) Standards of Practice, available on the internet, makes the following demand:

    5J-17.053
    (2) Licensees shall only seal a surveying report or map if they were in responsible charge of the preparation and production of the document and has documentable expertise in the discipline used in producing the work product or service.


    Maybe the above language has always been there, and I just never saw it. But, I would still like to understand precisely what it means, regardless. And, to that end I have questions. I suppose I could just ask my attorney grandson for clarification, but since these are "our" rules I shouldn't have to pay for a legal opinion merely to know how to behave ethically and/or professionally.

    Definition of discipline, found online: "a branch of knowledge (synonyms: field (of study), branch of knowledge, subject, area)".

    To my understanding, "discipline" (ie branch of knowledge, subject, area) should or perhaps could include some or all of the following: CAD, GIS, GNSS, Ordinary High Water Line, Tidal Boundary, traverse, traverse adjustment, contouring, legal description writing, legal description interpretation, boundary law, leveling loops and adjustment, geodetic transformations, least squares adjustments, expert testimony, GNSS post processing...and still others.

    For the dictionary meaning of documentable I found: "having the quality or capability to be documented".

    For document I found: "a writing that contains something".

    After digesting the above found dictionary meanings I have broken down the practical meaning of the law as follows: (paraphrased)

    "Having at the ready the appropriate words that have the quality or capability of being written down in the event someday you may need to be able to document by writing them down that details your expertise in: CAD, GIS, GNSS, Ordinary High Water Line, Tidal Boundary, traverse, traverse adjustment, contouring, legal description writing, legal description interpretation, boundary law, leveling loops and adjustment, geodetic transformations, least squares adjustments, expert testimony, GNSS post processing, or in any other subject or area that you have ever used in producing the surveying report or map showing your work product or service containing your seal."

    Imagine having to document your expertise in CAD for starters?

    Obviously, something I'm not getting. What exactly was the purpose of having to submit required information (education/experience) with the application and then being required to pass the written test in order to be licensed?

    I seem to recall some states had the requirement "shall possess the required knowledge by education or experience" in order to lawfully do whatever you did. But, being required to have "documentable expertise" is a new one. Oh gosh, I fret every time I see our lords assembling.

    I am highly suspicious they (Board) are merely attempting to make it more difficult than it needs to be for surveyors moving into photogrammetry to protect the big boys, but of course I have no way of knowing their motives. That being said, with autonomous drones, improved camera systems and easily operated software like Pix4D Mapper and Agisoft PhotoScan Pro, surveyors would be crazy to not eventually want to move into this area. Anyway, just how would you interpret the above stated rule?

    Thanks for any help offered.
    ibenhavin
     
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  2. Warren Smith

    Warren Smith 2-Year Member

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    That does sound like hyper-management.

    You have a grandson as a member of the bar???!!!!
     
  3. I. Ben Havin

    I. Ben Havin 4-Year Member

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    Hi Warren. Yes, he got his ticket punched last year first crack at the bar. HIs dad and 2 uncles are also PSM's.
    I'm still looking for other states with the same language...no luck yet.
     
  4. A Harris

    A Harris 6-Year Member

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    The wording may or may not be the same, it is the intent of the BOR that matters.

    During the process of making and producing your survey, a certain amount of data is researched, computed and digested to produce your drawing and any description of the property.
    When it is over there is a pile of data and this data is the documentable expertise in the discipline.
    If you have ever been called by your BOR about a client's complaint, they want to see everything you have: raw data, sketches, plots, research, coord lists and anything that you used to produce the survey.

    From experience, I have hired others to use equipment I did not possess to aid in my surveys and hit a wall when they refused to give me their raw data files or logged information from their occupations.
    They mostly do not even understand why my requests ended and why I could not accept their limited and unconfirmed information.

    By law, that is something that is expected to be under our control and in our files at the end of every survey.

    When I sign and seal a document and scan into a pdf or other electronic form and send it to a client, it is expected that I keep that original hard copy in my files to support the fact that I was the one that actually performed the task for my client.

    It is this certain expectation and act of work process and control by the licensed surveyor that we the professional must be aware of and document and keep record of to prove our actions for every product we produce.

    0.02
     
    FL/GA PLS. likes this.
  5. Lee D

    Lee D 3-Year Member

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    If someone goes and buys a UAS system do they have documentable expertise in photogrammetry? If someone buys a boat and a multibeam do they have documentable expertise in hydrography? It sounds to me like a crude attempt to keep people out of certain markets.
     
  6. Lee D

    Lee D 3-Year Member

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    Reminds me of the old GPS joke in the '90s... "Yesterday I couldn't even spell geodetic surveyor and now I are one!!"
     
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  7. I. Ben Havin

    I. Ben Havin 4-Year Member

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    Th
    Thanks. I guess I wasn't seeing that possessing specific expertise had anything to do with maintenance of records.
     
  8. FL/GA PLS.

    FL/GA PLS. 6-Year Member

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  9. I. Ben Havin

    I. Ben Havin 4-Year Member

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    Lee,

    That's exactly what I am suspicious of.

    I normally associate discipline with terms such as "surveying", "mapping", "land planning", "photogrammetry", etc. Or, from the engineering world, terms such as "civil engineering", "electrical engineering", "chemical engineering", "mechanical engineering", would typically be referred to as a "discipline".

    However, if this the case, then any "discipline" you are subject to be working in, for example, say "surveying" or "mapping", how many of us would be able to document our expertise? Yet, if my understanding of the requirement is correct that is exactly the dilemma our Board is creating. And, if that is the case, what then was the purpose of the examination required by the state in order to become licensed in the first place?
     
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  10. Tommy Young

    Tommy Young 6-Year Member

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    My response would be:

    "You gave me a f%$&^ng license, that's my documentation!"
     
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  11. I. Ben Havin

    I. Ben Havin 4-Year Member

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  12. A Harris

    A Harris 6-Year Member

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    The many cases that every BOR has spent years of dealing with the process of examination and investigation has being done mostly thru self enforcement.

    One thing that we are ask to do is to be competent in the services we provide.

    In the same expectation that a surveyor should do their full duties, the BOR are attempting to spell out what information the surveyor must provide in order to show that they have done their due diligence on each and every project that has passed thru their office.

    We all find ourselves crossing paths with that guy that no matter to what extent of explanation and details provided, they simply do not understand the why in where the monument fell.

    It is important that we document our way and leave more evidence than some object left in place on the ground. So, don't throw all those scratch pads away just yet, throw em in the job folder.
     
  13. Tom Adams

    Tom Adams 4-Year Member

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    I think they are just saying that you can't just verbally claim to have expertise, but you need to be able to show work products (for instance) that show your expertise.
     
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  14. thebionicman

    thebionicman 3-Year Member

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    This clearly relates to a common mandate wirh most Boards. All of my licenses demand that i only perform services where my education and experience are adequate. Florida is simply taking it a step further and putting folks on notice that they need to back up claims of expertise. This isnt closing markets, it's telling people not to certify crap they dont understand. In my opinion thats a good thing.
     
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  15. I. Ben Havin

    I. Ben Havin 4-Year Member

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    Thanks Tom,
    Indeed I would be relieved to know your take is correct. My concern, however, is that our Board is trying to take our profession into something akin to how the engineers are treated. For instance in engineering a "civil engineer" has a diploma that is evidence of his/her expertise in the discipline of civil engineering, etc. So on and so forth with other engineering disciplines. Were this to be the case I don't know where/how I would begin to show expertise in any of the work I am capable of accomplishing merely because I have the necessary "education or experience" to be able to be successful at doing it. In other words...not every discipline I practice in has a "diploma" to prove my expertise..
     
  16. Bill93

    Bill93 6-Year Member

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    They are eventually going to need to define "documentable." Until that is done, I'd consider it risky to depend on work products. They very well could require some sort of educational / continuing ed documentation, in which case independent work products alone could be evidence that you had violated the rule.

    I'd hope they would accept work under someone with the qualifications as also meeting the standard of documentable, but the likelihood of that might be related to whether they have an experience-only route to licensure.
     
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  17. Tom Adams

    Tom Adams 4-Year Member

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    I agree with @thebionicman . It's merely saying that you shouldn't do work that you have no expertise in and that you must be able to show documentation that you do if you're confronted with it. You are licensed in order to protect the public and that law would be geared toward protecting the public from unqualified "professionals". (whether some board member or other surveyor tries to use that law to harm you would be a different subject).​
     
  18. Lee D

    Lee D 3-Year Member

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    I agree with Bill; it's the words "documentable expertise" that give me pause. Our statutes state that "licensees may perform services only in the area of their competence".

    What "documentation" would be deemed acceptable to demonstrate our expertise in photogrammetry or hydrographic surveying? To a layman I would be considered an expert in photogrammetry; to Cliff Mugnier I would be considered a novice at best.
     
  19. Lee D

    Lee D 3-Year Member

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    I would suggest that language is a precursor to requiring specialized license categories.
     
  20. Tom Adams

    Tom Adams 4-Year Member

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    "documentable" has a definition. If you've testified in court as an expert witness that is documentable (you can get court records). If you've done a number of surveys in a particular area of expertise, that's documentable (survey notes, plats, etc.) If they want a college degree or continuing ed in an area they would need to say that, but I highly doubt that is the point of the law. It's just to protect the public from a "surveyor" providing services that is beyond his expertise. The intent of the law is what the law says.
     
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