River works, can only engineers design them?

Architects cannot design hydraulic works, unless they are pieces of furniture and conservation. With sentence 6593/2018 , the Council of State explained that identifying the type of interventions in advance and precisely is fundamental for the correct execution of the design tenders.

Hydraulic works: engineers or architects? The case
In the case examined, a Municipality had launched a tender for the execution of forestry hydraulic works, safety and protection of natural resources qualified as river works, defense works, hydraulic and land reclamation works, falling under the OG 8 “category .

The executive project referred to “works envisaged for hydraulic regulation” and the announcement, among the elements to be assessed included the “technical value of the proposed improvement proposals” including the “supplementary and / or improvement measures aimed at improving the hydraulic functionality and risk mitigation with regard to the environmental context in which the work is inserted “.

However, the Municipality had given the highest score to the technical offer signed by an architect. The TAR had deemed the award unlawful and, given that the work had now been completed, had established payment of compensation in favor of the runner-up.

According to the Municipality it would have been interventions focused mainly on “mitigating the impact of the work, preserving the surrounding vegetation, treating and cleaning the banks, decorating the banks, selective cutting and re-using logs, in the installation of automatic detection stations ”, for which the design would not have been closed to an architect.

Hydraulic works, when the competence lies with the engineers
The State Council, availing itself of a verifier for the correct qualification of the design activity, has ascertained that the improvements proposed in the technical offer by the architect did not include only accessory and complementary interventions. It was in fact “improvement solutions aimed at eliminating and / or mitigating the hydraulic phenomena, among other things, formulated as a result of inspection and study activities that directly implied knowledge of problems related to hydraulic works”. Reasons why the judges confirmed the orientation of the TAR.

The CdS explained that the rules that distinguish the professional skills of engineers and architects ( RD 2537/1925 ; DPR 328/2001 and Legislative Decree 129/1992) reserve only the planning of civil construction works to the common competence . The design of works relating to road construction, sanitation and sanitation (purifiers, aqueducts, sewers and similar), electrical systems, hydraulic works, valuation operations, material extraction fall within the specific and general competence of engineers. industrial works. The civil works that have significant artistic and monumental features are the exclusive responsibility of architects. In the latter case the engineers have however a concurrent competence for the technical part of the constructive interventions.

Between the two degree courses, the judges said, there is a different “general methodological approach”. This even if the autonomy of the universities allows significant differences in the same degree course and if in the university attended by the architect there was the teaching of “naturalistic engineering”.

However, the CdS considered the professional who had submitted the technical offer without the required skills even if in possession of the specialist degree of class 4S (Architecture and Construction Engineering). See http://www.kwikstampedconcrete.com/houston/

If, the judges added, the concept of civil engineering can be interpreted extensively, “the works that require specific technical competence and that are outside the civil construction falling within the common competence” remain the prerogative of the engineering profession.

In particular, the CdS concluded, the hydraulic works related to rivers and water courses require professional skills for the analysis of hydrological and hydraulic phenomena and require the application of specific calculation methods (statistical, hydrological and hydraulic). These are notions that are taught in university degree courses of the Civil and Environmental Engineering class, in which study plans are inserted concerning the scientific disciplinary sectors ICAR / 01 “Hydraulics” and ICAR / 02 “Hydraulic and Maritime Constructions and Hydrology”. Therefore, without prejudice to any competences of other professionals, such as geologists or agronomists and forestry doctors, engineers are the professionals qualified to design river water works and water courses,

Reinforced concrete structures: surveyors cannot design them

The building permit granted on a project drawn up by a surveyor, which envisages reinforced concrete structures, is illegitimate.

This was clarified by the Tar of Campania, section of Salerno, in sentence 9772 of June 28, 2010 , canceling the building permit issued by a municipal administration for the construction of an elevation of a building designed by a surveyor. The project included reinforced concrete pillars, in disregard of the art. 16 et seq. of the Royal Decree n. 274 of 11 February 1929, which enables surveyors only to modest civil constructions.

Before issuing a building permit – the judges explain – the municipal authority must always ascertain whether the design has been entrusted to a competent professional in relation to the nature and importance of the construction, in compliance with the rules governing the operation and the limits of application of the professions of surveyor, architect and engineer, dictated to ensure that the compilation of the projects and the direction of the works are assigned to those who have the adequate preparation for the importance of the works, to safeguard both the public and private economy, and of the the safety of people.

It is therefore illegitimate – according to the Tar – the title to build assent on the project, drawn up by a surveyor, which foresees structures in reinforced concrete, unless the reasons for which the characteristics of the work and its construction methods are specified and justified they fall within the sphere of professional competence of the designer.

In this case, the administrative judge would have to assess the quantitative and qualitative nature of the construction, in order to establish whether it, even if provided with a reinforced concrete structure, falls within the concept of “modest civil construction”, to whose design expertise is limited.