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Re: Residential Architectural Requirements

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The text below are the exemptions from being a licensced architect (except for the Civil and Structural exemptions that you already said you aren't interested in :<)  ))from the CA Arcitects Practice Act (you can see the whole thing, if you suffer from insomnia, on the website for the Architects Board at
§ 5537 Exemptions; Dwellings, Garages, Agricultural and Ranch Buildings; Supervision of Licensed Architect or
Registered Engineer Required
(a) This chapter does not prohibit any person from preparing plans, drawings, or specifications for any of the following:
(1) Single-family dwellings of woodframe construction not more than two stories and basement in height.
(2) Multiple dwellings containing no more than four dwelling units of woodframe construction not more than two stories
and basement in height. However, this paragraph shall not be construed as allowing an unlicensed person to design
multiple clusters of up to four dwelling units each to form apartment or condominium complexes where the total
exceeds four units on any lawfully divided lot.
(3) Garages or other structures appurtenant to buildings described under subdivision (a), of woodframe construction not
more than two stories and basement in height.
(4) Agricultural and ranch buildings of woodframe construction, unless the building official having jurisdiction deems that
an undue risk to the public health, safety, or welfare is involved.
(b) If any portion of any structure exempted by this section deviates from substantial compliance with conventional framing
requirements for woodframe construction found in the most recent edition of Title 24 of the California Code of
Regulations or tables of limitation for woodframe construction, as defined by the applicable building code duly adopted
by the local jurisdiction or the state, the building official having jurisdiction shall require the preparation of plans,
drawings, specifications, or calculations for that portion by, or under the responsible control of, a licensed architect or
registered engineer. The documents for that portion shall bear the stamp and signature of the licensee who is responsible
for their preparation. Substantial compliance for purposes of this section is not intended to restrict the ability of the
building officials to approve plans pursuant to existing law and is only intended to clarify the intent of Chapter 405 of
the Statutes of 1985.
Bill Cain, S.E.
Berkeley CA
-----Original Message-----
From: Gerard Madden, SE <gmadden(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Sent: 23 Mar 2006 11:02:53 -0800
Subject: Residential Architectural Requirements

Can a non-licensed drafter, do/prepare the architectural plans for a 3 story home in California, that is not of wood frame construction (and thus not conventional construction) if they have a separate set of structural plans designed and signed by yours truly? I did all the STRUCTURAL drawings and calcs, it's not a plan stamping issue for me.
My understanding is NO. The architectural drawings in the package must be stamped by an architect. A separate set of structural drawings doesn't let you get around this requirement, even if it's wood framed and non-conventional construction.
I have no intention of stamping a drafter's architectural plans, so don't let me confuse anyone, because I know I "could" prepare those plans and stamp them since I have an SE license, but these plans were not prepared under my direct supervision nor do I claim to have the experience/training necessary to perform architecture on this type of structure.