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California: Legal and liability - using my stamp

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O.K., maybe I'm missing something ...

Section 411(g)1 of the Board Rules:  "All professional engineering plans, specifications, ... , shall be signed and sealed in accordance with the requirements of the Professional Engineers Act ... and shall be signed and sealed in a manner such that all work can be clearly attributed to the licensee(s) in responsible charge of the work."

Section 404.1 of the Board Rules defines "responsible charge" as follows (I've included excerpts for the sake of brevity):   The term "responsible charge" directly relates to the span or degree of control a professional engineer is required to maintain while exercising independent control and direction of professional engineering work and to the engineering decisions which can be made only by a professional engineer.  The professional engineer who signs engineering documents must be capable of answering questions asked by equally qualified engineers.  These questions would be relevant to the engineering decisions made during the individual's participation in the project and in sufficient detail to leave little question as to the engineer's technical knowledge of the work performed.  Additionally, the term "responsible charge" relates to engineering decisions and does not refer to management control in a heirarchy of professional engineers except as each of the individuals in the heirarchy exercises independent engineering judgement and thus responsible charge.

Now, it seems to me that if BOB did the design and made the engineering decisions for a building, then BOB MUST stamp/seal the engineering documents and CANNOT make his boss TOM sign them since TOM DID NOT have responsible charge of the project.  For those of you working in California, does that appear to be an obvious interpretation of the Board rules or am I missing something (which is entirely possible)??

Dave K. Adams, S.E.
Lane Engineers, Inc.
Tulare, CA
E-mail:  davea(--nospam--at)

-----Original Message-----
From: Jordan Truesdell, PE [
Sent: Monday, June 07, 2004 12:17 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Legal and liability - using my stamp

I assume that you have ascended to "partner" status: have received partial
ownership and direct say in the running of the company, have been extended
a handsome salary increase as well as defined bonus package, and have
access to the use of the companies lawyers.  If not, you've just been
offered an uncompensated opportunity for  significant personal liability.

Are you willing to lose you license and all you possessions for the good of
the company?  That's what they are asking you to risk.  I would ask about
E&O as well as covereage for prior acts after you leave the company (your
liabilities will follow you).

Personally, I would never seal documents from a company in which I was not
an owner - it's just not worth the risk.

At 12:55 PM 6/7/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>I may be asked to start using my stamp on calcs and drawings that I and
>others have produced where I work.  All the legal and liability issues
>are new territory for me and for the firm.  In addition to obtaining E.
>& O. insurance,
>what other ducks need to be lined up?  Any advice/stories would be
>Mark Johnson PE

Jordan Truesdell, PE, Principal

Truesdell Engineering, Inc.
Structural Consulting and Design
434 Bluegrass Trail Studio #23
Newport, VA 24128-0342

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