Practice Guidelines

Law, rules and regulations, not Guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Guideline may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations.

A. Seal and Signature

2. Sealing and Signing of Work Prepared by Others


Regents Rules Section 29.3(a)(3) states that it is unprofessional conduct for a design professional to certify "by affixing the licensee's signature and seal to documents for which the professional services have not been performed by, or thoroughly reviewed by, the licensee; or failing to prepare and retain a written evaluation of the professional services represented by such documents in accordance with the" requirements specified in Part 29.3(a)(3) - Unprofessional Conduct.

However, nothing in Section 29.3(a)(3)(ii) authorizes the practice of a design profession in this state by anyone who has not been authorized to practice pursuant to the provisions of article 145, 147 or 148 of the Education Law. The circumstances under which a licensee may appropriately sign and seal documents prepared by others might include, but are not limited to:

  • documents prepared by the project owner for his/her own use
  • documents prepared by or procured from an incapacitated or deceased practitioner
  • residential projects, of 1500 gross square feet or less, where the seal and signature of a licensee are required by the jurisdiction having authority
  • house plans purchased through magazines, etc.

The written evaluation required by Section 29.3(a)(3) should, at a minimum, address the following items:

  1. Identity of the project for which the evaluation is prepared:
    1. common name of project
    2. owner of project
    3. the preparer of documents
    4. date of evaluation
    5. listing of documents evaluated, with date of issue
  2. For Drawings:
    1. The applicable New York State code and local zoning requirements and ordinances are met.
    2. Good architectural practice has been provided according to applicable standards.
    3. The drawings contain or address (where applicable):
      • site plan
      • foundation and structural plans, with details
      • floor plans
      • elevations
      • wall sections and construction details
      • schedules as required
      • schematic plumbing plans
      • schematic electrical plans
      • schematic HVAC plans as required
  3. For Specifications:
    1. The code requirements of New York State and Local Jurisdictions are met.
    2. Good architectural practice has been followed according to New York standards.
    3. The quality of material and construction are clearly outlined.
  4. Required Analysis:
    1. Structural, plumbing and energy - including those analyses provided with the documents and those provided by the reviewer.

Depending on the result of the evaluation the licensee may either correct, alter or add to the existing documents or prepare additional documents to address those items found inappropriate or missing. When the documents meet appropriate standards, they may then be signed and sealed by the licensee. In so doing, the licensee might be seen as accepting all responsibility for the work as though the licensee had personally prepared all the documents.

Section 29.3(a)(4) states that it is also unprofessional conduct if a licensee fails "to maintain for at least six years all preliminary and final plans, documents, computations, records and professional evaluations prepared by the licensee, or the licensee's employees, relating to the work to which the licensee has affixed his seal and signature";

Note: Nothing prevents the officials, to whom the documents are being submitted, from requesting a copy of the written evaluation.

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Last Updated: June 17, 2009