In the matter of a hearing under the Professional Engineers Act and in the matter of a complaint regarding the conduct of NIDHAL NAAMI, P.ENG., a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, and ORION PACIFIC ENGINEERING INC., a holder of a Certificate of Authorization.
This matter came to a hearing before a panel of the Discipline Committee on March 17, 2015, and June 16, 2015. The Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario was represented by Leah Price. The member (Naami) and the holder (Orion Pacific Engineering Inc.) were represented by Harpeet Khukh. David Jacobs provided independent legal advice to the panel.
The parties entered into an Agreed Statement of Facts and the member and the holder admitted the allegations of professional misconduct set out in the Agreed Statement of Facts.
The member was the president of Orion Pacific Engineering Inc. (the holder), an engineering firm that held a Certificate of Authorization under the Professional Engineers Act. The member was the responsible professional in the application for the Certificate of Authorization.
The member and the holder entered into an agreement with a client to provide engineering services for modifications to an existing building. The assignment included development of conceptual plans to convert the existing structure into a two-storey office building, preparation of detailed engineering plans bearing a professional engineer’s seal for the approved concept, preparation of short-form specifications for the work, preparation of the required submission to the Town of Caledon for a building permit, making application on behalf of the client for the building permit, expediting the processing of the building permit application, and provision of field review services during construction.
The member and the holder submitted a package of documents to the town on behalf of their client. The town responded, identifying approximately 22 deficiencies that needed to be addressed in order to issue a building permit for the project.
The client subsequently made numerous attempts to communicate with the member and the holder, in order to address the concerns raised by the town and seek updates. The member and the holder either did not respond to inquiries or responded but failed to carry out their promises. The member eventually provided a “full revised set of architectural drawings” to the client as an attachment to an email. The client requested that the revised drawings be submitted to the town, but the member and the holder failed to do so. No revised drawings were ever submitted to the town by the member or the holder. The revised drawings did not bear any revision notations or dates and did not address a number of the deficiencies listed in the town’s original response to the building permit application.
Thereafter, following further unsuccessful attempts to have the member and the holder provide the required materials to the town, the client formally terminated the retainer and requested that the member and holder provide the client with CAD files that had been created by them, so that the client could move forward with the project. These requested materials were not provided.
It was agreed that the drawings and the work carried out by the member and the holder fell below the expected standard of practice for engineering work of this type, and consequently, that the member and the holder were guilty of professional misconduct.
The panel found that the facts supported findings of professional misconduct and, in particular, found that the member and the holder were guilty of professional misconduct as alleged in the Agreed Statement of Facts in that:
(a) They provided deficient professional engineering services in respect of an addition to an office building as detailed above, amounting to negligence and professional misconduct as defined by section 72(2)(a) of Regulation 941;
(b) They failed to make responsible provision for complying with applicable statutes, regulations, standards, codes, bylaws and rules in connection with professional engineering services in respect of the design of an addition to an office building, as detailed above, amounting to professional misconduct as defined by section 72(2)(d) of Regulation 941;
(c) They engaged in conduct through their work and dealings in providing professional engineering services that, having regard to all of the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional as defined by section 72(2)(j) of Regulation 941, as detailed above and, in particular, as follows:
- by failing to respond to their client’s multiple requests for communications, updates and action in respect of obtaining a building permit,
- by failing to take the necessary steps to rectify the deficiencies in the design drawings they had prepared,
- by failing to submit revised drawings to the town,
- by failing to provide their client with the soft files specified by the retainer, which they had prepared on the client’s behalf and that were required in order to permit the client to retain other service providers to complete the work left incomplete by Naami, and
- by acting in a negligent manner in providing deficient structural engineering design services to their client.
The parties agreed on a Joint Submission as to Penalty and Costs. The panel accepted that the proposed penalty in the joint submission was reasonable and in the public interest, and the panel accordingly ordered:
(a) Pursuant to s. 28(4) (f) of the Professional Engineers Act, the member and the holder shall be reprimanded, and the fact of the reprimand shall be recorded on the register for a period of six months;
(b) The finding and order of the Discipline Committee shall be published in summary form under s. 28(4)(i) of the Professional Engineers Act, with reference to names;
(c) Pursuant to s. 28(4)(d) of the Professional Engineers Act, it shall be a term or condition on the member’s licence that he shall, within eighteen (18) months of the date of pronouncement of the decision of the Discipline Committee, successfully complete the Professional Practice Examination (PPE);
(d) Pursuant to s. 28(4)(b) and (k) of the Professional Engineers Act, in the event that the member does not successfully complete the PPE within the time set out in (c) above, his licence shall be suspended for a period of six (6) months thereafter, or until he successfully completes the PPE, whichever comes first; and
(e) There shall be no order as to costs.
The parties waived appeal rights and a written reprimand was imposed with the release of the Decision and Reasons.
This summary of the Decision and Reasons was signed by William Walker, P.Eng., as chair of this discipline panel and on behalf of the other members of the discipline panel: Bruce Clarida, P.Eng., Charles Kidd, P.Eng., Sharon Reid, C.Tech., and Santosh Gupta, P.Eng.