The Voice - Winter 2020 - 19

NEWS & EVENTS

OSPE ENGINEER
UNCOVERS
WIDESPREAD
FORGERY

W

hen Gerald Catt, P. Eng, was talking to a supplier for a
but no follow up action was being taken. Concerned, Catt began
major 500,000 square foot Brantford, Ontario project,
his own investigation.
Catt soon learned how serious and shocking the problem was.
he realized that the design firm on the project was one
This
sub-contractor was misusing Catt's name and qualifications
he had previously done some consulting work for. He was stunned
to discover that the engineer who had apparently signed off on the
by utilizing an electronic copy of his engineer's seal on engineering
drawings for the massive venture was himself.
drawings and other documents and submitting them for building
As Catt explained to OSPE, this was a major problem. " People
permits with the local municipal building officials.
Catt again contacted the provincial regulator, PEO, for advice,
that are non-engineers get Certificate of Authorizations (CofA)
from the PEO. Then an engineer on record reviews and approves
but received no reply. The local building inspectors and private
all their work. " That engineer is responsible for approving the
parties involved were also reluctant to provide assistance. " The
safety features of the drawings. " Some of the things we stamp
city of Brantford has at least 13 building projects that I was able
to find that were based on forged documents. The response to me
are fire alarm systems, emergency exit lighting, sprinkler system
was 'those files are closed.' That's wrong. If we don't look after our
design. If you're in a building and you can't find your way out in an
emergency, you have a problem. "
mandate, to protect our public, we don't really have a job. We might
Catt states that he took the proper measures of notifying the
as well all go home and stay there. "
Concerningly, this was not the first time Catt had faced similar
regulator, the Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), of the issue,
explaining that not only was he not an employee of the design firm,
forgery and fraudulent facsimile of his seal and inaction from PEO.
he was not under contract with them, or currently affiliated in any
Ten years ago, a similar instance occurred, and even then PEO
said they were unable to investigate, citing a lack of resources.
way. He indicated that the " Commitment To General Reviews By
Architect and Engineers " and multiple drawings bearing his name
At that time, Catt then turned to the Ontario Provincial Police to
file a complaint. The ensuing investigation found that the person
and his seal had been forged. It also meant that the buildings being
constructed had not actually
in question had forged his seal
been vetted for safety by a
in several dozen incidents,
" The PEO was less than enthused in getting
and subsequently, Mr. David
professional engineer.
Key pleaded guilty and was
Alarmingly, he received
involved with the previous fraud case. With
no acknowledgment from
fined $10,000 for fraud by the
the KEY Technical Service fraud case, the
PEO. When he followed
Provincial Courts.
principal's lawyer arranged a plea bargain.
up with the regulator by
Catt was worried about
the risk to safety and the
contacting PEO once more,
All the criminal charges were dropped, and
Catt discovered that the
he was fined $10,000 for unlawfully practicing inaction from PEO. " The
PEO was less than enthused
CofA issued to the design
as a Professional Engineer. "
in getting involved with the
company had actually
previous fraud case. In the
expired nine months ago,
- Gerald Catt, P. Eng

Winter 2021 THE VOICE

19



The Voice - Winter 2020

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