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Re: Plan check submittals and shop drawings

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>Maybe the average architect's thinking on the subjects of professionalism
>and responsibility are fundamentally different than those of the average

It is not a question of 'professionalism', it is perhaps that the two
professions have different traditions and different expectations of their

Here in BC, I understand that the engineer who actually does the work seals
the drawings, regardless of his position within the firm. As an architect,
I am obliged by my governing organization, the AIBC, to seal every drawing
I issue, regardless of who actually produces the work. Only the principal
of a firm may seal architect's drawings, employees or subconsultants
cannot. If the structural information were contained on my architectural
drawings I would not have a choice, I must seal them, and I cannot
'qualify' that seal with 'architectural only' or any such disclaimer. 

Those being the requirements, I personally think it is wise, and as such
always require (and inform my clients they must pay for)  engineers to do
their own drawings, on their own letterhead, which they can then seal on
their own. This would be the case whether or not I hire the engineer
directly or the client does. This is a choice I make, but it is not
unethical to do otherwise. 

It is a tradition of the architectural profession that the architect take
responsibility for all those working for him/her, not so much to encroach
upon other professionals, as to say 'the buck stops here', as to say, I am,
in the public interest, taking responsibility for doing the work, or hiring
the right people to do that work. Admittedly, this tradition developed when
buildings were far simplier, when the education of architects and engineers
was not too dissimilar, and there weren't too many lawyers around. 

Save your firepower, don't bother flaming retorts about irresponsible
architects who wouldn't know a load path from a dumptruck route doing
incompetent structural engineering, or prima donnas who shouldn't be
trusted to do anything more than pick colours, the point I am trying to
make you cannot judge one profession (architecture) by rules made for
another (engineering). Both architects and engineers are obliged to
practice within their own competencies, and incompetence is incompetence no
matter who seals a drawing. 

Architects are permitted, without any lack of 'professionalism' to hire
competent engineers to work for them, and then seal the work of that
engineer employee or subconsultant, as they would seal the work of any
architect employee or subconsultant producing work issued by the architect. 

Maura Gatensby Architect
Vancouver, Canada