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Stamping of Plans - Responsible Charge

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In Idaho "Plan Stamping" is a violation of the law.  Here is a recent
message from the Idaho Board of Professional Engineers discussing the issue.

------- Forward -------

JUST WHAT IS THIS "RESPONSIBLE CHARGE".

The term "responsible charge" as it pertains to the practice of engineering
and surveying is a frequent subject of discussion to the practicing
professional in Idaho as well as members of the Board and Board staff. A
review of these pertinent sections of our law and rules would be of great
value to help you understand your professional responsibilities and legal
requirements. After such a review, we believe that there could be little
confusion about "stamping" versus "rubber stamping". If you did it, you
stamp it! If you stamp it, you are, and were, in "responsible charge". If
you
were in "responsible charge", you had complete "control and direction" of
the work.

---> Mere review, no matter how detailed, cannot meet the requirement of
the "control and direction" of the work as required by our current
engineering and land surveying law. <---

Perhaps a look at our current state laws and rules and their provisions
would be helpful in resolving some of the questions and issues concerning
the meaning and intent of "responsible charge". The preface to any
discussion concerning the Idaho engineering law starts with our primary
obligation which is found in the Definitions section of the "Rules of
Professional Responsibility" (IDAPA 10, Title 01, Chapter 2). Briefly
stated, this definition says that our "... primary obligation is to protect
the safety, health and welfare of the public...". Title 54, Chapter 12,
Section 54-1202(h) of the Engineers and Surveyors Act contains the
definition of "responsible charge" which basically requires "...control and
direction..." of the work. The meaning of "responsible charge" for
professional engineers is found in Section 54-1202(c) and corporate
responsibilities are stated in Section 54-1235(4). Land surveyor
requirements are found in Section 54-1202(f) and 54-1229. The Sections
called out above deal with the definitions and requirements involving
"responsible charge".

Other Sections of the law deal with the operative requirements of the law,
the "how to comply" Sections.

These rules are 10.01.02006.01, Assignments in field of competence,
10.01.02006.03, Use of seal on documents, and Section 54-1215,
Certificates-Seals. These "how to and who" Sections are emphatic in their
requirement for professional engineers and professional land surveyors to
stamp any work that they do whether it be at the single discipline level,
the multi-discipline level or the project management/principal in charge
level. Further, it requires the multi-discipline and project
management/principal in charge professionals to use only registered or
licensed persons to be in responsible charge of services outside their own
area of competence. Note also the provisions of Section 54-1215(b) which
requires a seal on all final specifications, land surveys, reports, plats,
drawings, design information and calculations.

The Board has adopted a "white paper" on the topic of "responsible charge".
Subsequent to submittal of this white paper, a panel discussion on
"responsible charge" was held during the 1997 Idaho Society of Professional
Engineers meeting and input to the Board was requested of all interested
registrants and other parties.

In view of the findings of the paper, concerns may arise as to whether the
current law is too rigid in it's requirements regarding stamping and
sealing of documents. Should the stamping and sealing requirements be
broadened or narrowed? Does the current wording, or will a revision of the
wording, allow appropriate execution of interstate and international
projects via electronic media while maintaining the responsibility "to
safeguard the life, health, property and welfare of the public". The Board
plans to discuss these issues with engineers, surveyors, and interested
parties in Idaho and comments from our registrants and others are
encouraged.

A copy of the entire "white paper" is available from the Board office.



>Somebody who is not a registered civil engineer has requested me to
>review his work and stamp the drawings and calculations that he has
>prepared.
>
>He gave me copies of his calculations and all the drawings.
>
>I like to know what do I need to do in this case and what are the legal
>and professional implications.
>
>I will appreciate any help.

--
   Scott W. Shepherd, P.E.     (208) 526-1482     sqs(--nospam--at)inel.gov

   Civil & Mechanical Engineering - Supervisor
   Idaho and South Carolina - Corporate Engineering License Holder
   Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company (LMITCO)