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Thread: PE Stamps Required

  1. #1
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    PE Stamps Required

    I am interested in getting a better understanding of when a PE stamp is required on a set of drawings.

    Is this requirement enforced by the local authority, the state or some sort of a national electrical enforcement?

    It's my understanding that a dwelling unit (single family) does not need a PE stamp for a permit. Do some special occupancies require a stamp while others don't (schools vs. health care)?

    Is the requirement triggered by the size of the project or the type of project?

    How can I get information on these requirements.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wireit
    How can I get information on these requirements.

    Thanks
    From your local building department.
    Unlimited Electric Contractor/Standard Electric Inspector/Traffic Signal Inspector/Highway Lighting and Level One Traffic Signal Installer.

    I know you believe that you understand what you think I said but I'm sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

  3. #3
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    Not sure where you live but in Indiana you can download a copy of the General Administrative Rules or GAR and it describes in detail when you need a "design professional", i.e. PE or registered architect.

    Look at sections 12-6-3 Design Release Requirement through 12-6-9 Design professionals

    http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/T06750/A00120.PDF

    Summary, most projects involving the public or employees have to be submitted for design release but not necessarily stamped. There are numerous exceptions to this.

    Your job has to be "stamped" if it is greater than 30,000 cubic feet (yes, cubic not square) or involves fire protection or structural changes.

    bbaumer

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wireit
    Is this requirement enforced by the local authority, the state or some sort of a national electrical enforcement?

    PE licenses are issued only by the States, not by local or national agencies. However, the requirements that a project be designed under the supervision of a PE and that the PE sign and seal the design documents can be established at any level of government. Private entities (e.g., the owner of a proposed new apartment or office building) may include such requirements, even if the various governmental agencies would not require them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wireit
    It's my understanding that a dwelling unit (single family) does not need a PE stamp for a permit. Do some special occupancies require a stamp while others don't (schools vs. health care)?

    I suspect that most single family dwelling units can be designed and built without the participation of an engineer (or an architect, for that matter). I believe that my state requires a PE seal, at the Plan Review stage, on designs for schools and hospitals. But this really is a local thing; all areas have their own rules.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wireit
    Is the requirement triggered by the size of the project or the type of project?

    Type, certainly. Size, maybe. Again, it is a local thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wireit
    How can I get information on these requirements.

    What Cavie said.
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2008 NEC unless otherwise noted.

  5. #5
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    Just thought I should add that PE is happy to design and seal (or sometimes review and seal) a set of drawings whether or not somebody was requiring that seal or not. This can be handy for a contractor to help transfer some liability.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdshunk
    Just thought I should add that PE is happy to design and seal . . . a set of drawings whether or not somebody was requiring that seal or not.

    Quite true. We’d be even happier to accept cash or verified checks in payment for the services.
    Quote Originally Posted by mdshunk
    . . . (or sometimes review and seal) . . . .

    No. Not at all. Never. Perish the thought. :mad: (I do hope you were kidding.)

    That would be a clear violation of professional ethics, and often a violation of state law. Such actions could easily cost an engineer the PE license. When an engineer seals a document, it constitutes a certification that the work was performed by, or under the supervision of, that engineer. Reviewing work done by others and sealing the documents prepared by others is not an option. The closest we can come is to review the work done by others, write a report that describes the results of our review, and seal the report. The distinction is that the report was generated through the PE's own work, or though the work of others who were under the PE's supervision.
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2008 NEC unless otherwise noted.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b
    No. Not at all. Never. Perish the thought. :mad: (I do hope you were kidding.)

    That would be a clear violation of professional ethics, and often a violation of state law. Such actions could easily cost an engineer the PE license. When an engineer seals a document, it constitutes a certification that the work was performed by, or under the supervision of, that engineer. Reviewing work done by others and sealing the documents prepared by others is not an option. The closest we can come is to review the work done by others, write a report that describes the results of our review, and seal the report. The distinction is that the report was generated through the PE's own work, or though the work of others who were under the PE's supervision.
    I thought that might get a rise out of someone, but I didn't expect anyone to act like this doesn't happen.

    One recent example... the engineering was done by an out of state firm, and did bear the seal for that out of state PE. This didn't fly in my state, so a local PE reviewed the work with a couple minor changes and applied his mark.

    I don't see this as being any different that cutting and pasting pre-made details from AUTOCAD or whatever into your own drawings.
    Last edited by mdshunk; 04-03-08 at 04:35 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b
    Quite true. We?d be even happier to accept cash or verified checks in payment for the services.

    No. Not at all. Never. Perish the thought. :mad: (I do hope you were kidding.)

    That would be a clear violation of professional ethics, and often a violation of state law. Such actions could easily cost an engineer the PE license. When an engineer seals a document, it constitutes a certification that the work was performed by, or under the supervision of, that engineer. Reviewing work done by others and sealing the documents prepared by others is not an option. The closest we can come is to review the work done by others, write a report that describes the results of our review, and seal the report. The distinction is that the report was generated through the PE's own work, or though the work of others who were under the PE's supervision.

    I recieved a letter from the State of Indiana about 4 years ago or so, as did all "design professionals" (PE's and RA's) clearly, very clearly, stating it is against the law to "sell your stamp", i.e. review another's design and stamp it. The letter even came with details from a court case on this very issue. I believe the Engineer caught doing this lost his license and was fined.

    charlie b is 100% correct.
    Last edited by bbaumer; 04-03-08 at 05:14 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdshunk
    I thought that might get a rise out of someone, but I didn't expect anyone to act like this doesn't happen.

    I have no illusions about this. It does happen. It should not. When it does, it should be reported. Otherwise, the health and safety of the public is put unnecessarily at risk.
    Quote Originally Posted by mdshunk
    One recent example... the engineering was done by an out of state firm, and did bear the seal for that out of state PE. This didn't fly in my state, so a local PE reviewed the work with a couple minor changes and applied his mark.

    If he applied his seal to the drawings, as opposed to applying his seal to a report that describes the results of his review, then he violated the law.

    Here is the real issue: If (Heaven forbid) something goes wrong, and someone gets hurt, who gets sued? The out-of state engineer can say, “Hey, you guys did not accept my design drawings, and the other guy changed them anyway.” The in-state engineer can say, “Hey, it is all their design work; all I did was fix a minor typo (or whatever).” If nobody knows up front that they are the ones who will have to answer for the final product, then nobody protects their own interests by protecting the interests of the public.
    Quote Originally Posted by mdshunk
    I don't see this as being any different that cutting and pasting pre-made details from AUTOCAD or whatever into your own drawings.

    Nah, that is merely plagiarism. :rolleyes:

    If I were to take “building blocks,” and put them together to form a “building,” then the “putting together” part is the “work performed by me, or under my supervision.” That is a legitimate design activity. The role my brain would play is knowing what blocks to use and how to connect them, in order to get the final product I am seeking. I don’t need to design each individual detail, as though nobody had ever created such details before.
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2008 NEC unless otherwise noted.

  10. #10
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    I agree with Charlie in principle, and I know that the laws specifically prohibit engineers stamping anything that isn't their design.

    However, I also think there is a grey area between reviewing and redesigning. An area where it may not be completely clear if the engineer has simply reviewed someone elses design, or if they have created their own design.

    Say Joe brings in a very simple design that requires a PE stamp. A PE reviews it, and sees a few minor changes. He redlines those on the drawing, and passes the drawing to a CAD person. The CAD person puts the drawing onto the firms titleblock, and makes the redline corrections. The PE then stamps the drawing. Is that a design or review?

    Steve

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