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

3. When an Architect's Seal and Signature are not Required


Article 147, Section 7307.5 which relates to architecture reads:

"This article shall not apply to: 1. Farm buildings, including barns, sheds, poultry houses and other buildings used directly and solely for agricultural purposes; nor to residence buildings of gross area of fifteen hundred square feet or less, not including garages, carports, porches, cellars, or uninhabitable basements or attics; or 2. Alterations, costing ten thousand dollars or less, to any building or structure within the city of New York and twenty thousand dollars or less, to any building or structure outside the city of New York which do not involve changes affecting the structural safety or public safety thereof". (As amended L.1986, c.591, ยง1.)

As amended, Article 145, Section 7209.7(b) which relates to Professional Engineering reads:

"This article shall not apply "to alterations to any building or structure costing ten thousand dollars or less which do not involve changes affecting the structural safety or public safety thereof, nor to farm buildings, including barns, sheds, poultry houses and other buildings used directly and solely for agricultural purposes; nor to residence buildings of gross floor area of fifteen hundred square feet or less, not including garages, carports, porches, cellars, or uninhabitable basements or attics".

While the intent of the language of these two sections is similar, the 1986 amendment to Section 7307.5 altered the dollar limitations and has resulted in confusion. Until the sections are amended to correct this situation the determination as to whether the seal of a licensee is needed is determined by the authority having jurisdiction.

In addressing the first portion of Section 7307.5.1 concerning farm buildings, the emphasis should be placed on "...used directly and solely for agricultural purposes;". Obviously, the residence of the farmer would not fall within this portion of the exemption, and neither would a pole barn erected for some purpose, such as picnics, rather than for agricultural purposes.

The second portion of Section 7307.5.1, dealing with residence buildings of gross area of 1500 square feet or less, is self explanatory. The critical feature of Section 7307.5.2 addressing alterations is "...which do not involve changes affecting the structural safety or public safety thereof". The dollar limitations alone do not determine whether the seal or signature of a licensee are required.

In addition to the cost, the basis for meeting the provisions of this section should be the scope and nature of the work involved, and its relationship to structural and public safety. With the intent being clear, the decision to require the seal and signature of a licensee rests with the authority having jurisdiction. While the replacement of an existing door, window, or other opening may involve revisions to existing structural members and the installation of a new door, window or other opening would require new structural members, not all such situations would necessarily warrant the services of a licensee. It would be up to the authority having jurisdiction to consider the structural safety and public safety factors of the particular situation before determining the need for a seal and signature.

While additions are not specifically addressed in Section 7307.5 they are affected by it. Should an addition to a residence building be proposed, and the total square footage, exempting those areas identified in the statutory language, of existing building and proposed addition be less than 1500 square feet, then the seal and signature of a licensee would not be required for the work.

Should the community in which the project is to be constructed have more restrictive ordinances, perhaps requiring the seal and signature of a licensee for any type of construction, then local requirements would have to be met.

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Last Updated: June 17, 2009