By the Division of Professional Licensure

The Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors (Board) voted at its meeting on Thursday, August 28, 2008, to adopt the following policy relating to the stamping of engineering and/or land surveying plans filed with public authorities. The Board utilizes this and other guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions that relate to the practice of engineering and land surveying.

Policy:

Licensed engineers and land surveyors shall stamp and sign their seal on each individual page of a set of engineering or surveying plans when filing those plans with a public authority, unless otherwise authorized by statute.

Discussion:

Pursuant to Massachusetts General Law, Chapter ("M.G.L. c.") 112, Section 81M, licensed engineers and land surveyors are required to place their stamp (seal) on plans, specifications, plats and reports prepared by them when those documents are filed with public authorities and to sign their stamp. Similarly, M.G.L. c. 143, § 54A prohibits certain state and municipal authorities from accepting any engineering plans or specifications that do not bear the seal of registration of a professional engineer. The purpose of requiring a stamp on these documents is to indicate that, based on either direct preparation or supervision, the licensee whose seal is on those documents considers the information contained in them to be safe for public health, property and welfare in conformity with accepted engineering or land surveying standards in an area in which the licensee is competent.

If a licensee stamps and signs only the first page of a set of plans, it is possible for work to be added, subtracted, or amended on the plans without approval, knowledge or review of the licensee. By contrast, when a licensee places his or her stamp and signature on each page of a set of plans, it is clear that he or she is taking responsibility for the plans and related specifications, if any, or drawings contained on that page. By requiring licensees to stamp and sign each page of a set of design or survey documents, the Board seeks to eliminate any confusion as to which engineering and/or survey work the licensee intended to certify and thus further the public protection goal of the stamping requirement.