Georgia Board of Professional Engineers
and Land Surveyors
The Board is charged with the duty of issuing certificates of registration to those professional engineers and land surveyors it has determined to be qualified. It has the authority and responsibility to revoke these certificates when charges such as gross incompetence are proven in a hearing against a registrant. It has the authority to initiate civil action against unlicensed persons who practice or offer to practice engineering or land surveying for the public. The board is not authorized to settle boundary line disputes, establish cost for services, correct miscalculations or errors in a survey of real property, or settle contractual disputes. These types of problems are civil matters and should be settled between the parties involved either in or out of the courts. If wrongdoing by a registrant is proven in court, the board would like to have certified copies of any orders issued to prevent the wrongdoing from happening again and to take other action as considered appropriate. Likewise, the board has no powers of restitution; these are reserved for the courts.
The board must depend in large measure on reports from the public and engineering and land surveying professionals to provide factual evidence to help regulate the practice of engineering and land surveying in the state.
Violations and complaints must be reported to the board in writing, and the complaint with other supporting evidence must be notarized in accordance with O.C.G.A. 43-15-25. Documents received will not be returned. The complaint must contain sufficient factual evidence to indicate a clear violation of the registration law. Accusing another person of a violation of the law is a serious matter; therefore, you should be certain that there is wrongdoing and not file a complaint just because you feel there may be a violation. The board is anxious to act on any complaint that is in fact one of its responsibilities; however, experience has shown that the public is not always aware of what is and what is not a legitimate responsibility of the board. Consequently, a majority of the complaints received simply do not lie within the jurisdiction of the board to settle because the board's powers are necessarily limited by law. Copies of the law governing the practice of professional engineering and land surveying and the rules of the board, as well as a board approved complaint form, are available upon request from the board office at (478) 207-1450 or may be downloaded here.
Your complaint will be given serious consideration by the board and further investigative action may be taken, if appropriate. You may be contacted by a board investigator. A referral of a complaint for further investigation does not necessarily mean that a licensing violation has occurred. Investigations are completed as soon as possible, depending upon the nature and circumstances of the complaint.
Investigative files are considered confidential for any purpose other than a hearing before the board; however, the board is authorized to release such records to another enforcement agency or lawful licensing authority.
After reviewing the results of the investigation, the board may determine that an apparent violation of the licensing law exists. If so, the board will refer the case to the State Attorney General's office to initiate formal proceedings. However, not all cases referred to the Attorney General result in formal hearings before the board. In some instances, both the board and the registrant agree to certain disciplinary sanctions by signing a consent agreement.
Those cases which proceed to formal hearings are conducted by an Administrative Law Judge in accordance with the Georgia Administrative Procedures Act. If a hearing is conducted, you as the complainant may be called upon to testify, and your identity as a complainant may become known.
After the formal hearing is conducted, the Administrative Law Judge issues an initial decision which contains the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommended disciplinary actions. The registrant may request or the board may on its own seek a review of the Administrative Law Judge's decision. After the final decision is issued, the registrant may appeal that decision to the Superior Court of Fulton County.
The procedure is sometimes lengthy and may take many months to complete. However, it is designed to ensure due process and to protect the rights of all individuals involved.
Fee and Contract Disputes
Most fee and contract disputes result from a lack of communication or misunderstanding between the parties. Such disputes generally do not come within the jurisdiction of the boards and must be resolved by the parties involved. The boards have no authority to set fees or settle monetary disputes.
What You May Expect
You may expect the state board to be genuinely concerned with your complaint. It will receive full and prompt attention. Where appropriate, the board will seek to investigate and resolve the complaint, either through informal or formal means. Once the investigation process is completed, you will be notified of the final outcome of your complaint.
The board sincerely trusts that the matter giving rise to your complaint will be handled in a manner which will give you confidence in our earnest desire to protect the public and to improve the professions of engineering and land surveying.