Florida Engineering Society & American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida Announce 2021 Session Priorities

March 4, 2021

Urban Search & Rescue Engineer Liability Protections, and
Long-Term Water, Energy and Transportation Solutions Top Priorities 

The Florida Engineering Society (FES) and American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida (ACEC-FL) has released its 2021 Legislative Session priorities, placing a priority on liability protections for engineers conducting urban search and rescue missions during natural disasters, and on long-term water, energy and transportation planning and solutions.

“Engineers serve as boots on the ground to Florida’s growing resiliency and infrastructure needs, and are frequently the ‘go-to’ resource for engineering-related search and rescue missions during times of natural disasters. While lawmakers will rightly place a leading focus on the health and safety of Floridians and our state’s economic recovery from COVID-19, we encourage elected leaders to also take bold actions on the tremendous infrastructure-related needs facing Florida,” said Allen Douglas, Executive Director of FES and ACEC-FL.

Urban Search and Rescue Engineer Liability Protections
During times of natural disasters, structural engineer volunteers are often called upon by local and state government officials to inspect structures to ensure they are safe for first responders to enter. Since 2017, the number of licensed engineers volunteering their search and rescue services has dropped by 60 percent due to threats of liability lawsuits.

  • Liability Protections for Search and Rescue Engineers: To help increase the number of engineers providing search and rescue mission services, FES and ACEC-FL support legislative efforts to shield engineers who volunteer their professional services for these efforts.

Water, Energy & Transportation Solutions:
With nearly 1,000 new residents moving to Florida each day, preparing Florida’s water, energy and transportation systems to meet this growing demand is of paramount importance. The FES and ACEC-FL support the following:

  • Long-Term Water Resiliency Solutions: Creating a holistic strategy to address state-wide environmental, water supply and flooding issues using a systematic assessment of long-term infrastructure needs, and a fiscally sound approach to implementing engineering projects in a manner similar to the State Transportation Work Plan.
  • Florida’s Transportation Future: With more than 3 million new drivers expected on Florida’s roads by 2030, FES and ACEC-FL believe innovations and investments in Florida’s transportation systems (roads, airports and seaports) should be a priority. They support a transportation plan that puts safety, infrastructure condition, mobility, Florida’s economy and our environment as interrelated goals to create Florida’s transportation future.
  • Diverse and Reliable Energy Resources: Developing a plan to meet Florida’s steadily increasing energy requirements with affordable, efficient, sustainable and resilient energy solutions.

Additional legislative priorities include strengthening structural engineering occupational regulations, and supporting competitive procurement qualifications.

About FES & ACEC-FL: The FES and ACEC-FL are the state’s leading organizations representing Florida’s professional engineers. FES represents more than 2,700 individual engineers working in private industry, government and higher education. ACEC-FL represents more than 350 engineering firms working in the transportation, water resources, energy and structural sectors. www.fleng.org

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