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RE: Plan stampers

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The fact that the law has gray areas does not mean that it "has nothing
to do with legality".  I would say that "it is strictly a personal
decision" whether you want to obey any law, but you run the risk of
being caught and punished.  States do adopt laws relating the sealing of
plans - the fact that some people get away with ignoring laws does not
change the intent of the law. 

William C. Sherman, PE 
(Bill Sherman) 
CDM, Denver, CO
Phone: 303-298-1311
Fax: 303-293-8236
email: shermanwc(--nospam--at)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kevin Polin [mailto:KevinPolin(--nospam--at)] 
> Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 1:52 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: RE: Plan stampers
> Jim you are absolutely right.
> I have come to the conclusion that it is strictly a personal, 
> decision of the engineer. 
> Slice it however you want it overall has nothing to do with legality. 
> Based on the examples cited here, If you are going to get 
> dragged into a lawsuit, then you are going to get dragged 
> into a lawsuit, whether it's your fault or not. 
> Receive the plans, Review the plans, make some notes, seal 
> the plans, and go to dinner and take your wife shopping. Live life.
> Kevin
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Wilson [mailto:wilsonengineers(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 12:21 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: Plan stampers
> I guess I'm struggling with what the definitive illegal 
> offense is in some cases.  I'm straight with the illegality 
> of plan stamping like the guy from PA that offered to stamp 
> plans for $9 a sheet, or whatever it was.  That's perfectly 
> clear.  I'm also straight with the concept of direct supervision. 
> Whether the intent is to ensure that younger unlicensed 
> engineers are being properly taught, or to ensure that the 
> stamping engineer is fully aware of what is in the design, 
> the assumptions, etc., that aspect is clear.
> But is it clear legally if one firm prepares a design and set 
> of drawings, but needs them stamped by an outside engineer 
> because the firm doesn't have an in-house engineer licensed 
> in a particular state?  Any possibility for direct 
> supervision is out the window. 
> By what I've been reading today and have read here in the 
> past, this is considered an illegal act.  Now, if that 
> outside engineer does full due diligence and provides an 
> independent calculation or full check set, and then stamps 
> the drawings or calcs, has that engineer acted within the 
> law?  I expect so, as many of us have done that at one point 
> or another.  But what about the firm that did the original 
> design and prepared the original drawings?  Have they acted 
> illegally by "practicing" in another state without license or 
> perhaps without proper supervision?  It sounds like maybe they have.
> That's where it doesn't seem black and white.  The concept of 
> "direct supervision" seems to be in contradiction with 
> stamping a drawing prepared by anyone other than an employee 
> under responsible charge, even if the PE provided a proper 
> check set of calcs and validated the design.
> Different states with different laws don't make this any easier. 
> Jim Wilson, PE
> Stroudsburg, PA

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