A few excerpts from the Chronicle’s report:

An unlicensed civil engineer and notorious San Francisco permit “expediter” [named Jimmy Jen] faces more than 200 felony charges for allegedly creating bogus documentation for about 100 construction projects in the city, prosecutors said Wednesday.

A former plan checker for the city of San Francisco, Jen was well known in construction circles for his ability to push permits through building inspectors and for his close friendship with the agency’s former deputy director, Jim Hutchinson, who left the post in 2005.

Jen [use a forged surveyor’s stamp on] maps of 26 properties from 1990-95, prosecutors said. Then, from 2000-07, he used Wu’s engineering stamp on 60 residential projects.

Jen is also being accused of claiming that licensed engineer Tai-Ming Chen had done work on 10 projects, notably the pending proposed renovation and other work on the landmark 1923 Alexandria movie theater.

So far, “no project mentioned by prosecutors has been found to be problematic” according to Department of Building Inspection spokesman Bill Strawn. Expect those who employed the “expediter” to feign ignorance of any possible wrongdoings.
Permit ‘expediter’ Jen jailed on fraud charges [SFGate]
Alexandria Theater Plans A Few Weeks From First Public Screening [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    Boy am I glad I never sold one of Nancy Jen’s listings!
    M.R.

  2. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    So far “no project mentioned by prosecutors has been found to be problematic”
    How deep are the prosecutors digging for problems ? Complex projects usually require several inspections because the progress of construction covers up and hides away earlier work. You’ve got to test the soil stability before you pour the foundation, after that it becomes really hard to retest. Plumbing and electrical systems are inspected before the sheetrock goes up.
    It really comes down to the competence and integrity of the builders involved. There’s plenty of unpermitted work that is just fine. But a shady builder may have used this cloak of “expediency” to cut corners and boost their profit margin.
    I’m afraid that it is really too late to find out.

  3. Posted by sparky-b

    MoD,
    I don’t think that is what would be checked. A soil report relies on all other data for the area and they all share. A few tests are done at the site. The owner is to do that and get the paper work. The foundation is inspected by the city inspector as well as the engineer, the concrete is tested separately, the hold downs tested by a different company, and so on.
    The real issue, and I’m talking about Single Family here, is the engineered drawings. These are on file and the city can go back and see if the engineering is correct on the plans for the house. If they are good then the work would be done to those plans.
    This is not to say anything about places he owned and what happened there with his builders. But, a typical homeowner who hired him would have not used his [contacts] for construction.

  4. Posted by jim

    I’m going to frame his card he gave me, thank goodness I used Fulcrum Structural Eng….Nancy Jen’s listings LOL!!!

  5. Posted by noearch

    @milkshake:
    “there is plenty of unpermitted work that is just fine..”
    That’s total bullshit and you are just supporting the argument that homeowners should avoid the permit process and do work illegally. You are so wrong.
    I disagree completely with you.

  6. Posted by sparky-b

    ^^^
    Me too!
    jim, I dug out his card and I’m framing it too, great idea.

  7. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    It’s not “too late to find out”, just like it wasn’t too late to find out about the safety measures that BP and Transocean skipped in the name of “saving time and/or money” in the weeks before the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We choose not to do so until people are dead.
    In that case, we found out that the measures BP and Transocean didn’t take were crucial after the explosion brought it to our attention, and in this case, if major structural work was skipped or given short shrift in the name of “expediting” plan approvals, we’ll find out during the next major earthquake and/or fire. You’d think that of all people, professionals in the building trades in this city would know and acknowledge that there are no short cuts, but greed has a way of making people overlook things that are right in front of them.

  8. Posted by eddy

    Between this and the schadenfreude thread ;) there seems to an interest in discussing the merits of permitted / un-permitted work.
    As I said somewhere recently, I think that permits for work within envelope to pre-existing features are largely red tape if the work is done by a qualified and licensed contractor. Buyers value ‘finish’, not permits. That said, adding something like a bathroom, moving walls or interior structural changes should always be permitted for safety reasons.
    These permit expediters with friends on the inside are a scam and the fact that they exist undermines the integrity of the whole process.

  9. Posted by sparky-b

    They don’t exist anymore, at least not in the same way. Even when they did exist they worked on various scales.
    For example; Submitting 8 sets of plans instead of 2 so that your work can be reviewed by different people simultaneously but still get a full review is not the same as glossing over the structural plans.

  10. Posted by R

    “‘there is plenty of unpermitted work that is just fine..’
    That’s total bullshit”
    Really Noearch? It’s impossible for unpermitted work to be done properly? Where do you come up with this stuff?

  11. Posted by noearch

    Yes, really R: I have seen work done by even licensed and qualified contractors that is not code compliant, and without a valid permit. That is a major disservice to the homeowner, who often does not have the qualifications to determine if the work is safe and correct. And I did not say that it was “impossible” to have unpermitted work done properly, but there is a greater chance that unpermitted work has some safety or assembly flaws in it.
    The primary purpose of obtaining a permit for ALL work required to have a permit is SAFETY. The building code and the building inspectors are charged with being a “higher authority” over the contractor to make sure the work is done right. It’s a safety check done for the safety of the public.
    You, and others, may agree that permits are a hassle and can be expensive. Yes, they can be for some people. But that doesn’t mean “some people” are allowed to circumvent the process for their personal gain, and to make their project a “little easier” for them.
    Those who choose to allow or request unpermitted work are simply cheating the system, and yes, undermining the integrity of the whole process.

  12. Posted by Average Joe

    “The laws of God and men are therefore of no effect when the magistracy is left at liberty to break them” – John Adams
    Laws that consistently go unenforced, or are enforced according to the whims of the State, do not advance any beneficial purpose, and may even encourage contempt for the very rule of law (especially when the laws themselves seem without merit to the general populace).
    How many times have people here on Socketsite seen blatantly illegal in-laws and reported them? How many have remodeled with the required florescent kitchen fixture only until the inspector leaves, to be immediately replaced by a more decorative unit? How many have lied on their permit about what type of exterior window was already present so they’d be allowed to replace it without further review?
    Sorry, noearch, but your self-righteousness just took a turn into the bizarre. I agree that in theory the permitting process ought to be designed to encourage obedience to safe construction standards. However, the SF gov’t has created a foul situation where various elements of public policy have intermingled with basic building integrity, to the point where respect for the process is almost universally negligible. There is no integrity to be undermined.

  13. Posted by R

    Noearch: But that’s not what you said.. Milkshake said plenty of work done without a permit is ‘fine’, you said that was ‘bullshit’.
    I’m not arguing that there’s a lot of unpermitted work out there that is crap. But you said it was ‘bullshit’ that any unpermitted was fine.
    Now you’re arguing a different point.

  14. Posted by BobN

    These permit expediters with friends on the inside are a scam and the fact that they exist undermines the integrity of the whole process.
    No kidding. And it takes pressure off the City to reform the process, as the people with the most money and clout just play the system.

  15. Posted by noearch

    sorry R, but you’re not making sense. I am. read my comments again. Are you arguing semantics or reality? I’m not following your train of thought.
    sorry Average Joe: I’m not being self-righteous at all. As a licensed architect, I am not about to overlook unsafe or poorly constructed work, just to make the contractor, or homeowner, or you happy.
    The people who despise the permit process, apparently like you do, should work to change that process, not cheat it.

  16. Posted by katdip

    An anecdote to support what Average Joe said – I had a new bathroom installed by a great contractor, but after the fact found that the contractor made some code mistakes and the inspector TOTALLY missed them, even though it was a very small project. We’re talking electrical – using 14 gauge NM cable on a 20 amp circuit, overstuffing a (very obvious) junction box, etc. I lost complete confidence in the inspection process when what I consider “basic” electrical code issues are missed by an inspector. My disillusionment only increases when you remember that SF (unlike most jurisdictions) requires SEPARATE inspections for plumbing, electrical and building for SFR remodels (which ups the cost considerably) – they are supposed to be experts, how could they miss this stuff? My contractor came back and fixed these things when I pointed them out, but it definitely made me feel that the inspection process was more for revenue generation vs. safety. I’m sure others have had the same experience, which undermines the respect for/compliance with permitted work. For future work I just made sure that I was well-versed in the major code requirements, because I can’t count on DBI to keep me safe.

  17. Posted by Little Faith

    Where was the Building Inspection Department?
    I bought a 2 year old 2-flat in the late 70’s in the Buena Vista Park area Houses on both sides were on the back of their lots making this a free standing building on the side of a hill. Lots of water problems as no side drainage or even outside water proofing of the foundation. I went to get condo approval in the early 90’s and the land survey showed one neighbor’s house two feet on my land and my building almost two feet on the other neighbors’ giving that lot 23 feet versus the normal 25. But my new building had it’s 25 feet. How could one build a new building in the city without a land survey? I went to city planning to get what ever they had in their files. The building plans were not my building’s plans but the ones, I found out, for the original building which fire gutted in the building process. (In re tiling a bathroom found evidence of a fire in the studs) No plans, nothing for my building but I did have a city certificate of occupancy. So little faith in S.F’s Building and Inspection Department.

  18. Posted by archlee

    What can an expediter possibly bring to the table within the context of a remodel or small addition? I constantly meet homeowners under the impression that they “need” an expediter to get simple projects through the city. It strikes me as borderline fraud, for an “expediter” to take money from homeowners, claiming to speed up the permitting process, unless the project is new construction or is otherwise controversial.

  19. Posted by BobTheBuilder

    noearch: yes, I don’t know what planet you design houses for but it’s surely not SF. Ever since Code sections 1701/1702 (special inspections) were put into place, SF building officials (both office plancheckers and field inspectors) have been off the hook for liability for checking anything of any importance in fundamental building structures. All responsibility has been pawned off to privately-hired “Special Inspectors” who buy hefty liability insurance but who, in my experience, know far less than the contractors themselves.
    There’s plenty of good quality non-permitted work out there – what needs to be fixed are the disincentives to obtain accurate permits – such as upwards of 10% of job cost in permit fees, such as automatic reassessment of new work at “book” cost.

  20. Posted by Skirunman

    In theory permits/inspections are about safety and code compliance. In reality, they are municipal revenue generating vehicles. Much of the USA does not require building permits or inspections for most work let alone require contractors to be licensed. Neither codes nor inspections guarantee quality construction or a good builder. In fact, most codes are just minimums IMO.
    On my latest project in SF I have spent > $10k on permit fees to SF DBI, $22k to City for 5″ water line for sprinkler system (don’t even get me started on this one), $10k in special inspections (tiebacks, shotcrete, etc.). I just had our 7th electrical inspection this morning (green tag, yes!) and have 1 more before final. The quality of the inspectors very greatly and most of them are rubber stamps unless you do something ridiculous.

  21. Posted by eddy

    Much of the USA does not require building permits or inspections for most work let alone require contractors to be licensed.
    Excellent point.

  22. Posted by sfrenegade

    “Much of the USA does not require building permits or inspections for most work let alone require contractors to be licensed.”
    Is this a mystery to most people? It would seem like it based on noearch’s account. The whole process in this city is nonsensical compared to other places I’ve lived.

  23. Posted by luc

    When you have a govt. entity which makes things unnecessarily complicated….you end up with solutions offered by people like Jen.
    If I needed a building permit, I would’ve gone to him too.

  24. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    noearch – I don’t mean to discourage people from pulling permits for work, but do know that permits don’t ensure safety. Like katdip, I’ve also experienced inspectors missing violations. Inspections can keep shady builders somewhat honest though they are no guarantee that the work is done right.
    Here’s a scenario that anyone who’s built a few big projects has experienced : An inspector tags a code violation. You fix the violation and schedule a follow-up inspection. This time a different inspector arrives and confirms that you correctly fixed the violation. But now he flags another violation that the first inspector missed.
    Good honest builders will create solid and safe work whether or not permits are involved. Since many homeowners have no way to tell the difference between a shady or honest builder, permits are one way to weed out the hacks.
    The feedback I get from knowledgeable friends (some of whom are licensed contractors) is generally more valuable than what a lackluster inspector reports. The good inspectors on the other hand are rock stars.
    Maybe we need inspector inspectors to increase the value of inspections ? In any case it is unrealistic to expect a large project to be 100% code compliant even if all proper permits are pulled and signed off.

  25. Posted by jon

    I have never lived in any city that didn’t require a building permit. They were always easy to get. Permits are required because they know your property will be worth more when it’s improved. Therefore, the taxes will be increased. It’s not so much about safety, rather it’s all about revenue enhancement.
    SF has managed to turn this process into a circle of hell. It always seemed geared to create corruption by making people offer bribes to the Jens of the system.

  26. Posted by realtorhmong

    Nowadays instead of expediters there are DBI mercenaries who will tell any NIMBY with a checkbook how best to gum up the works, for a buck.

  27. Posted by R

    Let me try to clarify Noearch. This is your response:
    “@milkshake:
    “there is plenty of unpermitted work that is just fine..”
    That’s total bullshit and you are just supporting the argument that homeowners should avoid the permit process and do work illegally. You are so wrong.
    I disagree completely with you.”
    A better way to put it might have been:
    “@milkshake:
    “there is plenty of unpermitted work that is just fine..”
    While certainly there is some unpermitted work that is fine, from my experience a lot of it is poorly built and potentially unsafe.
    I disagree with you, as I think that permits and inspectors serve a valuble service.”

  28. Posted by Toady

    The more rules you make, the easier it is for people to get around the system.
    This guy is the natural result of piling on restrictions upon restrictions that a continually understaffed DBI has to manage. Hence the backlog of permit applications.
    Every additional NIMBY rule dictated by the BOS should include a cost analysis of additional resources required to effectively implement the system.

  29. Posted by noearch

    No need to clarify what I said R: cause I still don’t get what YOU said and you didn’t clarify a thing..good try anyway..better stick to clarifying yourself.
    MUCH of the US does not require permits, nor inspections, nor licensed contractors? seriously? where? perhaps, some deep rural areas, but MUCH? again, more hyperbole. more bs.
    Yes, I am aware that much of our permit process here in SF is daunting, challenging, bureaucratic and expensive, but I prefer to work with it, rather than cheat. So do all of the clients I work with.
    If you want to change it, start lobbying our BOS and other city leaders.

  30. Posted by Outsider

    Neoarch: I am just a bystander following an interesting topic but I am sorry to say you are beginning to sound just like realtors defending how they do business…

  31. Posted by sfrenegade

    Just to be clear because I wasn’t before: yes, many jurisdictions require building permits and inspections. That’s a given. But the process is not like here. In some cases, the permits are more rubber stamp or over-the-counter for many things, especially if there aren’t plumbing and electrical issues involved. And certainly planning review in other cities is not as insane as here.
    I’m not sure why noearch feels the need to defend the ridiculous and onerous SF processes as if they are more safe than other places. They’re not.
    “nor licensed contractors?”
    I’m not sure why it’s a mystery that you don’t need licensed contractors everywhere. In some states, there are dollar thresholds (in some states the threshold is a few hundred dollars for residential work, and in others it could be tens of thousands of dollars). And in other states only specialized contractors need to be licensed, e.g. electrical, plumbing, or asbestos.

  32. Posted by SoAwesome

    Haha – I remember hiring him to handle our foundation project – he promised us a fast permit and no problems. I wrote a large check then never heard back from him for a month despite many phone calls. It finally took a few angry certified letters to get my money back…months later!! Hahahahah…..

  33. Posted by inmycountry

    A primary incentive for pulling a permit in San Francisco is, that if you don’t and you get caught, the penalty is “nine times the original permit plus the original permit fee” or ten times total. So if your permit fee would have been $5,000 it’s now $50,000. Plus you have to remove finishes to show that framing, wiring, plumbing, etc. comply and then reinstall the finishes. $$$$$

  34. Posted by noearch

    @inmycountry: thanks for that! excellent reason for getting a permit..among other reasons.
    To all others who misunderstand me: I’ve been pretty clear that I do not defend all of the practices of the SF permit process. Far from that. I have stated before they can be a major hassle and expense.
    Within the context of any construction or remodeling work in THIS CITY, I would always use a licensed contractor for the work. Why else would you not?
    You get what you pay for.

  35. Posted by kathleen

    Forged stamp should = jail time.

  36. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    When I first heard about the whole “expediter” process I was reminded of my time in Egypt where one would pay Baksheesh if you wanted to get anything done with the government bureaucracy in any reasonable amount of time. You could spend literally all day down at The Mugamma to get a passport stamp or you could “tip” some functionary $10 to get it done for you.
    That was when I realized that San Francisco was more like a Third World Country than I had initially supposed.

  37. Posted by Yanky

    The real issue here is Jimmy Jen and his buddies at the DBI who gave the “okay” on so many of his plans. There is a paper trail. The prosecutors will dig deep and find out exactly who signed off on all of Jimmy Jen’s plans for the last 20 years. If one DBI plan checker’s name keeps coming up over and over again, he’d better contact a good expensive defense attorney.
    As for unpermitted work, would you go to an unlicensed doctor for brain surgery?

  38. Posted by jon

    A couple of adages come to mind here.
    “When crime pays, you tend to get a better class of criminal.” and “The law of unintended consequences” comes into play.
    A few of the minor players might be prosecuted, the higher-ups…..naw.
    If caught on some technicality, offer a bribe. Don’t call it a bribe, simply say in an apologetic manner….”I’m really sorry, I’m new in such matters. There must be some fee that was overlooked.” You then haul out your billfold with the 100’s in view.
    Money solves everything. Trust me, building inspectors everywhere will get your drift.

  39. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    NoeValleyJim – You don’t need backsheesh for something as simple as a passport stamp. I was in and out of the Mogamma in about 30 minutes, including the security check. It was an amazing experience seeing that massive bureaucracy humming along without hardly any computers, just slips of papers and telephones.
    Now if you want to establish a sales presence for your high tech product in Cairo … there’s when the backsheesh will really grease the skids.

  40. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    Yanky wrote:
    > As for unpermitted work, would you go
    > to an unlicensed doctor for brain surgery?
    You do not need to be a brain surgeon to change a light switch or remove and replace a stove (all you need to do both is remove a few screws and/or a few wire nuts) but you do need a permit to do this in SF. Since the permit system’s mail goal is to make money for the city and put people to work (who know far less about building codes than I do) I’m guessing that you would be OK with a new city program that requires that you get a permit to have a Bar-B-Q or boil water on the stove where a chef comes to your home to make sure everything is OK (he can check to make sure the Bar-B-Q is in a safe place and that the stove does not have any gas leaks) and collects an inspection fee and another fee based on the cost of the meal you are cooking. The chef will them come back to re-inspect (and collect another fee) after you cook the meal to make sure that the meat is cooked all the way and to make sure that you pour the water from the pasta down the drain and not out in the street…

  41. Posted by sparky-b

    From DBI’s Frequently Asked Questions:
    28. Do you need to be a licensed plumber/electrician to do repair work?
    For minor plumbing work not requiring cutting into or removal of piping, a permit is not required. You may contact the Department of Building Inspection, Inspection Services – Plumbing Inspection Division at (415) 558-6570 for more information regarding permit requirements.
    You don’t need a permit to change out the stove.

  42. Posted by A.T.

    I’m all for regulation where it adds something, but I have two anecdotes illustrating the alice-in-wonderland SF process.
    We removed an iron gate from the front of our place — don’t need it anymore as the neighborhood is way nicer than when it was installed. Because we had the permits from the installation in our file (1975), my wife went to DBI to make sure whether we needed anything to remove it. She was told, yes, we needed a permit, and before we could get it we needed to submit “plans” and get them approved. My wife asked what sort of “plan” could possibly apply (a blank sheet of paper showing the absent gate?) and was just told “Ma’am, read the code. You need plans.” On a second trip, she talked to someone else, and he laughed at this story and gave her the permit on the spot. Said to call and tell them when the gate was down, and we did, and that was the “inspection.”
    After this, really for kicks, when I needed to replace an outlet that had fritzed out, I called DBI (from work, anonymously) and asked if I needed a permit. They said yes — $160, and I’d need an inspection too. So I’d have to live without a light until the permit issued. Well, it took me about four minutes to shut off the breaker, replace the outlet with a $1.29 replacement from Ace, and flip the breaker on. No way was I getting a permit for that.

  43. Posted by sparky-b

    “Here are some of the types of work not requiring permits
    17. Replacement of doors, except garage doors, in all occupancies, provided they
    are not required to be fire-resistive assemblies by this code.”
    You should have called it a door and not a gate.

  44. Posted by A.T.

    D’oh! It even had a door on the gate! Next time . . .

  45. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Seems like there are two separate issues under discussion. First, is the building permit process in The City a cynical revenue generator for The City or is it part of a useful regulatory process for ensuring the safety of the built environment where builders (or owners are the case may be) will try to “cut corners” as much as possible in order to save money and thus increase their own profits.
    The second issue is that any given staff person working for DBI may not have the level of training, knowledge, skills and abilities that meets the expectation level of the general public doing residential improvements and desiring an on-the-spot answer to a question about permitting.
    Complainants think it should be “easier” to determine a priori, whether or not one needs a building permit for a particular project. I don’t think anyone is disputing that this second issue is genuine and can at times be frustrating.
    That does not mean that the building permit process is useless, however. Whenever there’s an earthquake in Jamaica, Haiti or Mexico and I read about hundreds of people dying due to buildings not being built to code (because it was cheaper to do so), I sleep well at night knowing that there’s people on the job here at least attempting to keep property owners and contractors honest and adhering to the building code, however imperfectly they may go about doing so.

  46. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    sparky-b wrote:
    > You don’t need a permit to change out the stove.
    If you are in the minority and happen to have a stove that has a 220V plug (like most electric dryers) it is true that you don’t need a permit.
    If you have a gas stove or your electric stove that is “hard wired” (the wires are connected with wire nuts) to the box you need a permit in SF (and most other places in California).

  47. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    FormerAptBroker – I think that sparky-b is right even for gas stoves. The fitting is super simple to deal with. Just close the cock, unscrew the flexible pipe, remove the old stove. Reverse the operations when installing the new stove.
    The exact same operation goes for swapping out gas fired clothes dryers and surely you don’t need a permit for that.
    I didn’t know that there were hardwired electric stoves. Wow, that sounds like a mess. It seems that the right thing to do would be to install a 220V socket : something that would call for a permit. You’d want to do that anyways since new electric stoves come fitted with a 220V plug.

  48. Posted by jon

    @Brahma
    About a year ago, a construction crane collapsed in NYC. It had just been inspected and passed by the inspector who did these things! Feel safer? We need a permitting process and inspections. However, if they can’t be done in a timely fashion, by competent, honest people….forget it.

  49. Posted by sparky-b

    Thanks MoD I was about to say that. Plus FormerApartment Broker you skipped the top of my post when you quoted me, where I copying DBI on what you don’t need a permit for, geez.

  50. Posted by Renta

    Brahma, I like your summary of the issues, but we need to not forget the story at hand.
    Kathleen is right: “Forged stamp should = jail time.”
    MoD: “How deep are the prosecutors digging for problems?” Deep enough, I hope, to address the problem of “permit expediters with friends on the inside”, as eddy put it.
    Sorry, R, it may be better than it was, but swapped sheets and EZ sign-offs are common. Enforcement is the biggie, in both DBI and Planning. Building Code anarchy is not an option.
    The DA should be pressed to follow this and other cases where they lead, and the City pressured to reform accordingly. BobN is right that expediting juiced projects staves off reform– b/c the major players are happy, they could care less about the world of peons trying to get small-time permits.
    I’ve seen intentional delays too, some by the owner or his reps, just to make poltical hay.
    Unfortunately, it’s probably up to those of us disgusted by the non-functioning City to make sure the scandals lead to genuine reforms– which are hard work–and not just PR puff-pieces about how things are all better now, b/c they (obviously) are not.

  51. Posted by jon

    res ipsa loquitur.

  52. Posted by checkinnow

    cas vo chauka

  53. Posted by diemos

    ^ hindi? something about a kitchen? or perhaps paralingua.

  54. Posted by checkinnow

    no, it’s actually Klingon for “nail the crooks”..

  55. Posted by NoeValleyJim
  56. Posted by soccermom

    Jimmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!
    “A San Francisco man accused of forging building documents related to several dozen properties throughout The City over nearly two decades will face trial for 232 felony counts, prosecutors announced Monday.
    Jimmy Jen, 58, was arrested in August 2010 on suspicion of forging the signatures and stamps of two licensed engineers on hundreds of documents related to construction projects beginning in 1990.
    According to prosecutors, Jen, an engineer himself who wasn’t always licensed, was often hired by the owners of single-family homes to expedite The City’s permitting process. Rather than hiring a licensed engineer to review their construction projects, he allegedly impersonated unwitting engineers.”
    http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/engineer-accused-of-forging-building-documents-heads-to-trial/Content?oid=2511910

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