When does the Texas Board of Professional Surveying (TBPLS) merge with the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE) to become the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors (TBPELS)?
House Bill 1523 (HB 1523) was passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by the Governor. HB1523 says that the agencies will merge on September 1, 2019. This means that both TBPLS and TBPE will stop being independent agencies, and the regulation of surveying and engineering will be handled by TBPELS starting September 1, 2019.
Where will the new agency be located?
Until September 1, 2019, TBPLS and TBPE will continue to operate at their current locations. As of September 1, 2019, the agencies will merge and all operations for engineering and surveying will be handled at the TBPE offices at 1917 South IH-35, Austin, TX, 78741.
Licensing and Registration
I am currently an RPLS and/or an LSLS, or I have a registered surveying firm with the TBPLS. Will my license or registration change when the boards merge?
No. Your license and registration will still be in effect and all provisions and requirements will stay in place. Your RPLS / LSLS numbers will remain the same. Your next renewal period will still end on December 31, 2019. The TBPELS will not issue new registration or license certificates to current registrants or licensees as part of the 2019 renewals.
RPLS / LSLS renewals are normally due on December 31st of each year. How will renewals be handled for 2019?
As it has been in past years, the deadline for renewals for this year will be December 31, 2019. Notifications for surveyor renewals will be sent out in November 1, 2019, as they have been in the past. Both an online and paper renewal process will be available as they have been. NOTE: The agency name and address for the paper / check renewals will be different. These will be noted on the renewal form and instructions.
Will the registration, exam, or renewal fees change?
The current registration, exam, and renewal fees will remain the same through the end of 2019. Once the boards merge on September 1, 2019, TBPELS will review and may modify the fee schedule to take effect in 2020 or later.
Will the continuing education requirements remain the same for my 2019 license or registration renewal?
Yes. The rules concerning continuing education that are currently in place will remain in place until December 31, 2019, including requirements for pre-approved courses. Go to http://txls.texas.gov/continuing-ed/ for more information about continuing education and approved courses.
Will the Texas RPLS exams still be given in October 2019?
Yes. The Texas RPLS exams will be given on October 18, 2019. as per the normal process and schedule. The application window for the October exam closed July 15, 2019. Applications received after July 15, 2019, will be considered for the April 2020 examinations. Go to http://txls.texas.gov/examination-2/ for more information on the application and examination process.
Will I have to re-apply for my license or registration, or will I have to take the surveying exams again when TBPELS takes over?No. You will not have to re-apply for your license or registration and will not need to retake the surveying exams because of the boards’ merger on September 1, 2019.
Will NCEES or other states recognize my professional land surveying registration or state land surveyor license when the boards merge?
Yes. NCEES and other states will continue to recognize your professional land surveying registration or state land surveyor license when the boards merge on September 1, 2019.
Our firm is registered as both an engineering and surveying firm. Before the merger, we would list our firm number on sealed documents as "TBPE Firm No. XXXX" for engineering documents and "TBPLS Firm No. YYYY" for surveying documents. With the newly combined board, how should we designate our firm name and number on documents going forward?
Board Rules 137.33(n) and 137.77(h) for engineers and 663.19(d) for surveyors require that engineering and surveying works must include the firm name and number. However, the rules do not indicate or prescribe a particular format that must be used. The goal of these provisions is to clearly indicate the firm for whom the engineer or surveyor works. Therefore, the name and registration number of the firm should be clearly indicated, and the general public should be able to determine whether the firm is an engineering or surveying firm. Examples of different options that would be acceptable to list firm registration numbers for a firm that is both an engineering and surveying firm might be: Firm Name Texas Registered Engineering Firm XXXX Texas Registered Surveying Firm YYYY Firm Name Texas Engineering Firm XXXX Texas Surveying Firm YYYY Firm Name TxEng Firm XXXX TxSurv Firm YYYY Firm Name TexEngFrm-XXXX TexSurvFrm-YYYY NOTE: This is not a prescriptive nor a complete list of options. Additionally, the land surveying rules require the land surveying firm to include other information besides firm name and firm number.
Associate Degree Changes
Am I eligible to apply for registration as a registered professional land surveyor (RPLS) if I have earned an associate degree? If so, when can I apply?
Yes, HB1523 changed the educational requirements to qualify to apply to become an RPLS. Section 1071.254 of the Professional Land Surveying Practices Act was amended to allow an associate degree to qualify for the educational requirement for registration as an RPLS. The applicant must show at least 32 semester hours in a combination of courses acceptable to the board in:
(A) civil engineering;
(B) land surveying;
(F) land law; or
(G) the physical sciences.
An applicant with an associate degree must also satisfy the additional requirements, as set out in Section 1071.254:
Note that HB1523 did not change the requirements to become a SIT.
Applications from SITs who have an associate degree that meets the 32 hour requirement will be accepted by TBPELS starting September 1, 2019. Please note that the application deadline for the October 2019 RPLS exam was July 15, 2019. Applications received by TBPELS between September 1, 2019, and January 15, 2020, will be reviewed to ensure the applicant meets the required qualifications. If the applicant possesses the required qualifications, the applicant will be approved to take the April 2020 RPLS exam.
Compliance and Enforcement
How will I file a complaint against a surveyor with the new agency?
The complaint process will be similar to the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying’s process. Starting September 1, 2019, complaints will be sent to the TBPELS at its address - check the website for those updates as they are available. Some forms may change, and these will be updated on the website as well.
I have a complaint currently pending (as the complainant or the respondent) with TBPLS. What happens to that complaint?
All currently open complaints will be transferred to the TBPELS and will follow the standard complaint process.
Continuing Education requirements for registered professional land surveyors are found in 1071.305 of the Texas Occupations Code and the Board's Rules, located at 22 Tex. Admin. Code Chapter 664. Although attending a Board meeting is not specifically included in the types of acceptable continuing education, Rule 664.4(9) allows for a maximum of four (4) hours of self-directed study in a topic related to the practice of surveying as acceptable continuing education. Please note that Board rules do not require in-person attendance at Board meetings. Attending a Board meeting - either in-person or by watching the broadcast - could qualify as self-study hours; however, the number of hours you are eligible to receive are based on actual attendance and counted on an hour-for-hour basis. This means that if you attend or watch a Board meeting for two (2) hours, you can count the two (2) hours as self-directed study towards your Continuing Education requirement. If you attend or watch the Board meeting online, please complete the Self-Study Form and maintain this Form as part of your records in accordance with Board Rule 664.6 in the event you are selected for a Continuing Education audit. You can download the form at http://txls.texas.gov/continuing-ed/self-study.php