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.

B. Practice

7. Design Delegation


  1. Effective in June, 1996, it was clarified that a design professional may delegate certain responsibilities to others, such as fabricators, manufacturers of system components, product manufacturers, etc. This change allows the principal design professionals to continue to rely upon fabricator or manufacturer-designed building systems or products without breaching the rules of unprofessional conduct. All parties must adhere to a protocol established by the Board of Regents. It is critical that design professionals:
    • do not abdicate their responsibility for the design of their work by delegating to others,
    • fabricated building systems and/or components, when specified under performance criteria - either in whole or part - must be designed by New York licensed design professionals.

    The Regents require such professionals to sign and certify their design. Even though the fabricators' professional signs and certifies his/her design, the principal design professional is still required to "review and approve" the fabricator's submission.

  2. Throughout the construction process, from the first meeting of client and principal design professional through completion of the project, all parties should know what is involved in the project and where the responsibilities lie in relationship to the work required by the Construction Contract Documents. The Principal Design firm should convey, in a manner they deem most appropriate, to the project owner, the contractor and the subcontractors, the full scope and nature of the project and those elements being delegated for design by another licensee.
    1. Unprofessional Conduct (Section 29.3(b)(2))

      Regents Rule: "Unprofessional conduct shall not be construed to include: "participation as a delegator, or delegatee in delegating or accepting delegation, through an intermediate entity not authorized to provide professional design services, of specifically defined work involving the performance of a design function requiring a professional license,..."

      A design professional may delegate through, or accept delegation from, a contractor or subcontractor for the design of certain ancillary building components or systems under the following circumstance:

      For the items being delegated that involve those design services for which a license is required, it should be stated clearly that those delegated design functions shall be performed by design professionals currently licensed or otherwise authorized by the State Education Department.

    2. Design Parameters (Section 29.3(b)(2)(b))

      Regents Rule: "the delegator shall specify in writing to the delegatee all parameters which the design must satisfy."

      The Architect, Professional Engineer, Land Surveyor or Landscape Architect of Record (the delegator) shall provide performance specifications in writing for the delegated components or systems.

      The delegator must provide sufficient information, in writing, for the delegatee (the licensee to whom the work is delegated) to understand the scope and nature of the delegated work and its connection to the general design. The information that is required to perform the delegated design functions shall be commensurate with the nature of the project, and may include, but not be limited to, technical data, loads, references to the American Society for Testing and Materials and other performance standards, and other relevant and related conditions as appropriate and contained in the construction contract documents.

    3. Performance Specifications (Section 29.3(b)(2)(c))

      Regents Rule: "the design function shall be required to be performed in accordance with performance specifications established by the delegator;"

      The design professional to whom the design function has been delegated (the delegatee) shall design the component or system in accordance with the performance specifications. The delegatee should request any needed clarification in writing from the design professional of record through the Contractor/Subcontractor.

    4. Delegatee Responsibility and Requirements (Section 29.3(b)(2)(d) and 29.3(b)(3)(iv))

      Regents Rule: "the delegatee shall be required to be licensed or otherwise legally authorized to perform the design work involved and shall be required to sign and certify any design prepared."

      "Certify means a written statement by a licensee confirming responsibility for the work and attesting that the work prepared meets the specifications (as well as conforming to governing codes applicable at the time the work was prepared) and conforms to the prevailing standards of practice."

      The person responsible for the design of the component or system shall be a New York licensee, or otherwise authorized, and shall sign and certify his/her design work.

      The Construction Contract documents must specify how the designs will be certified as meeting the specifications and standards of practice expected of licensees in New York State for projects of similar size and complexity. The delegatee will be professionally responsible for the delegated design work; therefore, before signing and certifying the work, a professional judgment should be made about the reliability and quality of the work.

    5. Delegator Responsibility and Requirements (Section 29.3(b)(2)(e) and (f))

      Regents Rule: "the delegator shall be required to review and approve the design submitted by the delegatee for conformance with the established specifications and parameters and such determination shall be in writing;"

      "the delegator shall be required to determine that the design prepared by the delegatee conforms to the overall project design and can be integrated into such design and such determination shall be in writing."

      The Architect, Professional Engineer, Land Surveyor or Landscape Architect of Record must review and determine that the delegated component or system design conforms to the performance specifications and any subsequent amendments; to the overall project design; and that it can be integrated into the building system. The Design Professional of Record is required to provide written notification of the decision or the submittal may be so marked (e.g. Approved; Disapproved; Revise/Resubmit.) If not approved, a clear explanation should be provided.

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Last Updated: June 17, 2009