Serving as Design Engineer and General Contractor (adapted from NSPE Case No. 98-1)


An engineer is thinking about placing a bid on a contract for a job for which, in his job at another firm, he prepared the plans.


Bernard is a principal in a consulting engineering firm. He is also a principal owner in a construction contracting firm. In his role as consultant, Bernard prepared plans for the design of a roof structure for a wastewater treatment facility. The municipality hired a separate firm to administer the bidding and construction using the plans prepared by Bernard. In his role as owner of the construction contracting firm, Bernard thinks that bidding on the construction is a great opportunity to arrange for new employment.

Should Bernard bid for the project assignment? Why or why not? Does Bernard have an unfair advantage over firms having designed the project on which he wants to bid?

NSPE Code of Ethics An earlier version may have been used in this case.