The Board of Registration of Architects ("the Board") hereby adopts the following policy. This policy guideline is intended as a recommended protocol for the profession to follow. The guideline set forth below does not have the full force and effect of law, as would Massachusetts General Law or a Board rule or regulation. However, the Board uses policy guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions that relate to issues in the practice of Architecture.

Policy No. 10-001


The purpose of this policy statement is to offer guidance and provide some clarification to Licensees regarding the use of electronic signatures on drawings and/or documents produced by the Licensee personally and/or under the Licensee's direct personal supervision.


At its regularly scheduled Board meeting on February 3, 2010, the Board voted to adopt the following policy effective immediately:

Whenever all parties to a transaction agree to transmit a document bearing an original signature and stamp electronically, the document must be accompanied by a properly encrypted digital signature. A digital signature must have an electronic authentication process attached to it such that it can only be associated with the Licensee, is capable of verification, and is linked uniquely to the underlying documents in a manner that invalidates the signature if any part of the document is changed.

The digital certificate and associated private key used to digitally sign the documents must be under the sole and exclusive control of the Licensee, e.g. kept on a smart card when access to the computer used to apply the digital signature cannot be controlled.

The handwritten signatures of the licensees must be affixed adjacent to and below or through the Licensee's seal.

Pursuant to G.L. c. 112, §60F, "All plans and specifications and reports prepared by a registered architect, or under his supervision shall be stamped with the impression of such seal".

Under 231 CMR 4.02, the architect's official seal of registration is intended for his or her personal use in connection with plans, specifications and other instruments of architectural service prepared under his responsible control for which he will be responsible, and is not transferable.