Professional Practice (NPPE Notes)


See all notes here:


When to seal a document?

It contains technical information; the information is complete for its intended purpose, and others will rely on the technical information. 

Duty to employer/client

Be a faithful agent, avoid conflict of interests, maintain confidentiality, be fair, act in good faith towards clients and colleagues, be aware and make others aware of the consequences of disregarding professional advice. 

When to seal another professional's work

When the work was done directly under your supervision or you have thoroughly reviewed it.  

Developers' responsibilities when using software

Minimize the risk of failure, protect the public interest and ensure the software is fit for use by others, considering reliability, usability, security, and privacy concerns. 

The role of standards

To ensure a professional's product or service is consistent, safe, effective and compatible. 

4 elements of risk assessment

Identify hazards, assess risks, reduce risks and verify effectiveness. 

Due diligence

Satisfying statutory obligations by taking all reasonable steps.

Purpose of Lean Manufacturing

Lean helps a business by focusing on what the customers think is valuable and eliminating things that are not valued.

Liability for the information/data produced by software

In case of faulty software, the user is usually liable as they're responsible for verifying results obtained from the software. Users should carry out validation testing through independent calculations to verify the software is operating properly. 

Two elements that must accompany the engineer's seal

The seal must be signed and dated. 

Main environmental threats

Greenhouse gas emissions, energy conservation, nuclear power, waste disposal, air pollution, acid rain, population growth, and water pollution.

A professional's environmental responsibilities

Meet and exceed environmental standards, work towards sustainability and respond to environmental concerns promptly. 

Electronic seal

An electronic image of the licensed professional's stamp and signature is equivalent to the physical seal. It must be supplied by a digital signature provider approved by the association. 

Governing law in international contracts

When multiple jurisdictions are involved, the contract can clarify which laws will take precedent. When no laws exist, the professional is to follow the rules set out by their Code of Ethics.  

Purpose of Engineer's Seal

The seal signifies that the author assumes professional responsibility and accountability for the document; that he/she has given serious thought to the content, and declares that others can rely on the design, facts and judgments contained within.

Liability insurance

An insurance type that protects the insured from 3rd party claims. For example, a lawsuit against a professional for errors and omissions.

Users' responsibilities when using software

Users are responsible for the accuracy and acceptability of information obtained using software and ensuring software is used within its parameters. 


What is the difference between ISO-9000 versus ISO-14000?

ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 are international standards set by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization).  The ISO sets standards so that each country does not have to duplicate the effort of creating their own.  Most ISO standards pertain to specific products, however, ISO-9000 and ISO-14000 are different in that they are a series of generic management system standards that apply to the management of an organization rather than its actual products.  

The main difference is that:

  • ISO-9000 is a series of standards that pertains to corporation management (such as managing a manufacturing corporation) that aims to maximize the quality of manufactured goods that are produced by that corporation. 
  • ISO-14000 is a series of standards that pertain to environmental management, that aims to minimize a company or corporation’s environmental impact.  This involves examining every aspect of its operations to identify areas and activities that might have significant and negative impacts on the environment.  The company must also measure, monitor, and set procedures/corrective actions that they would undertake in the event of an emergency. Note: This standard does not set acceptable levels of things such as pollutants, but does require the company or organization to follow those standards that are set by their regulatory associations. 

When working on a project outside of Canada, do I follow Canadian laws or other country’s laws?

This is situationally dependent when working in another country, and the contract has been signed beforehand.  Typically when you decide a contract, you’re going to agree which jurisdiction takes precedence in terms of the laws and the rules that apply.  When drafting a contract as a professional, you want to make sure that you work with a lawyer who has international experience and can advise you properly for the project.  You also want to take into consideration that if the country’s standards are particularly low, you might have to go above and beyond those laws to satisfy your association’s code of ethics.

When is it okay not to follow standards and codes? Are there any exceptions?

In most cases, you'll want to follow standards and codes when carrying out your professional duties because it’s part of your standard of care.  It is also part of your due diligence in the event that something goes wrong you can tell the court the accepted standards and codes you abided by. However, there are some instances where you might want to deviate from the code. These include: if there is no code or standard that exists, if the code was established and then improvements have been made but a new standard has yet to be determined, and lastly if the industry standards are really low.

If someone is injured in a building roof collapse due to a design error, does this mean the liability insurance prevents them from being sued and going to court?

There is no liability insurance, and there’s really nothing out there that will prevent you from being sued at any time. Liability insurance just helps compensate the victim up to the maximum amount on the policy, assuming that the error was within that scope.

Does a professional have to return their seal if they resign from their job or the profession?  

The professional must return their seal if they resign from their professional practice, or if they retire.  As long as the engineer is paying their dues they may keep the seal even if they change jobs.

How is electronically sealing a document different from using a physical seal?

Both forms of the seal are valid and serve the same purpose. The physical seal is used on physical documents, where the digital seal is used for electronic documents. Both forms of seal are acquired from your association.

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