Is CPM Planning & Scheduling a Field of Engineering? The other day I was discussing this question with a member of a state Engineering Board. State laws (see sampling below) regulating professional engineering appear to indicate construction management, planning and supervision of construction as being defined as engineering. Preparation and submittal of a CPM is typically covered in specification 01310 (or 01 32 00) of CSI’s MasterFormat similar to that of any other shop drawing. May the public health, safety, welfare or property be threatened by an improper acceptance or rejection of a contractor’s submittal? 

Does preparing a typical shop drawing require supervision of a licensed engineer? I suggest not. A structural detailer or CPM practitioner (trained in basic theory and software product used) may certainly prepare the shop drawing to be submitted.   

Does review of a typical shop drawing require supervision of a licensed engineer? I suggest yes. The “deadliest structural collapse in U.S. history” was caused by the failure of a licensed engineer to properly review a structural detail, leading to the collapse of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency and 114 deaths.  

Does review of the typical CPM require supervision of a licensed engineer? I suggest yes. An improper acceptance or rejection may certainly have an economic impact on the contractor and owner and general public welfare and property. And what of health and safety? Should a CPM involving aerial rigging over workers below be further examined? If both activities are critical, will the non-licensed consultant to the resident engineer notice this potential danger?  

But should this CPM be rejected if both activities, scheduled to be performed months from now, have sufficient float, and thus leaving the decision as to which activity will go first and which deferred to the sound discretion of the superintendent, inspector and resident engineer based upon current progress and conditions? Review of the CPM cannot be accomplished with a mere checklist. Either the review must be performed by licensed professional engineer, or the work of a non-licensed individual must be reviewed by a resident engineer who is competent (but perhaps too busy) to perform the entire review.   

Why do we require professional engineers to be licensed? Because when we make mistakes, we put lives in danger. Or perhaps we merely put the welfare and property (yes that means profits) of the owner, contractor and general public in danger. Is CPM Planning & Scheduling a Field of Engineering? I think yes. 

Selected Resources: 

Texas Administrative CodeTitle 22 Part 6 §131.81 Definitions (30) Professional engineering - Professional service which may include consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, designing, or direct supervision of construction, in connection with any public or private utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, works, or projects wherein the public welfare, or the safeguarding of life, health, and property is concerned or involved, when such professional service requires the application of engineering principles and the interpretation of engineering data. 

Pennsylvania Act 367  §2(a)(1) “Practice of Engineering” shall mean the application of the mathematical and physical sciences for the design of public or private buildings, structures, machines, equipment, processes, works or engineering systems, and the consultation, investigation, evaluation, engineering surveys, construction management, planning and inspection in connection therewith, the performance of the foregoing acts and services being prohibited to persons who are not licensed under this act as professional engineers unless exempt under other provisions of this act. 

California Business and Professions Code  §6701 “Professional engineer,” within the meaning and intent of this act, refers to a person engaged in the professional practice of rendering service or creative work requiring education, training and experience in engineering sciences and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences in such professional or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning or design of public or private utilities, structures, machines, processes, circuits, buildings, equipment or projects, and supervision of construction for the purpose of securing compliance with specifications and design for any such work.