Engineer Botches Home Inspection...Suspended by Regulating Agency

Dauphin engineer is first ever suspended

Three complaints lead to disciplinary action

Thu Jan 24 2008

By Aldo Santin

A Dauphin man is the first professional engineer in Manitoba to be suspended by the organization that regulates the profession.

The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (APEGM) suspended Donald Edward Spikula effective Jan. 8.

“This is the first time in the 88-year history of the association that any professional engineer has been suspended,” registrar Grant Koropatnick said. “There have been other members who’ve been disciplined, but they realized the errors of their ways and you move on.”

Koropatnick said Spikula was suspended when he failed to comply with a ruling from the APEGM discipline committee, following a hearing on three complaints about him.

The complaints involve: refusing to provide drawings Spikula had been hired to create for a community project in rural Manitoba; bungling a home inspection; and refusing to co-operate with a discipline committee investigating the public complaints.

Spikula was hired to do a home inspection in Dauphin, Koropatnick said, and gave a passing grade to the home’s heating and air condition system. However, after the house was purchased, the new owners uncovered problems that required several thousand dollars to correct. The owner filed a complaint with the association.

“He’s a mechanical engineer, he should have spotted the problems. It was just poor work,” Koropatnick said.

Koropatnick said an organization had paid Spikula to provide drawings for a community building, but after 18 months he hadn’t provided them.
The discipline committee ordered Spikula to refund the homeowners the $313 fee he charged for the home inspection, to provide his clients with the drawings, and to pay a fine that covered the APEGM’s costs to hold the discipline hearing.

Koropatnick said the hearing was held Nov. 29, with a ruling issued that day, and Spikula was given 30 days to comply. Koropatnick said Spikula did not attend the hearing, but was represented by his own lawyer.
Koropatnick said he waited a few days beyond the deadline and then pulled Spikula’s certificate of registration.

The APEGM published notices in the Free Press and the Dauphin Herald stating that Spikula had been suspended. Koropatnick said if any municipal building inspector or permit department accepts stamped drawings from Spikula while the suspension is in effect, they could be held civilly liable if there are problems with those projects.

Spikula used to live and have an office in Lockport, where he operated under the business name of DLS Engineering Inc., but he has since moved to Dauphin, where he operates under the business name of DLS Construction and Engineering.

Koropatnick said Spikula has been a registered professional engineer since 1993. Until the complaints, the association wasn’t aware of any problems with his work.