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# Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings9

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## Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings

(OP)
I have a client who wants me to send him signed and sealed drawings even though the design of all the members has not been completed.  Is it Ok to send out drawings with only some of the information shown?  The missing information would have to remain blank and use notes such as "reinforcing to be determined" or "dimensions to follow".  If so would these drawings need to be labeled "PRELIMINARY" or would the "NOT FOR CONSTRUCTION" note be adequate?  I have seen in some professional newsletters of individuals who were subject to disciplinary action for sending out incomplete drawings.  Is this the same thing?

I need to know very soon so please respond!

Thanks!

### RE: Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings

I would absolutely have them marked in either a "PRELIMINARY", "UNRELEASED", "NOT FOR CONSTRUCTION" or other designator to clearly show that they are intended for information and comment only.  Even so, I would be very leery about signing and especially stamping (and I am not a PE).  Does the client contract contain any clauses on drawing release and control?  There should be a requirement to return or destroy those drawings (if done) once released ones are made available along with a non-disclosure agreement if applicable.  Think what potential implications could arise from the distribution of those incomplete drawings.  If there are not any controls on them once released, I wouldn't do it.

Regards,

### RE: Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings

(OP)
If I do send them out, the drawings will definetly be stamped "Preliminary - Not for Construction".  They will also be sent electronically as a scanned pdf which will then be locked.  Do you think this would be sufficient?

Thanks for your input and quick response!

### RE: Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings

There is no reason for you to sign and seal preliminary drawings. In my 35 years I've NEVER seen it done and would advise you to say no.  There is no reason for the Owner ask for it either.  The whole idea behind signing and sealing the drawings is to say that you approve the design, that it is complete and meets the code requirements.  DON'T LET THEM TALK YOU INTO THIS!!

### RE: Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings

jheidt2543 is on track.  The problem is that the owner can and will ask for anything they feel is important to their project.  You goal will be to educate them on the engineering requirements around your seal.  Preliminary drawings should not be sealed or partially sealed.  I have seen a lot of people just put their seal on drawings without signature and date.  I always believed this was a problem because many rules want engineers to provide a full seal including signature and date.

I have sealed "Permit" drawings where the permit requirements demanded a seal, but did not demand contract or final drawings in support of the application.  Noting them not for construction or for permit use only is valid, but the overall purpose of the drawings was for a pre determined purpose beyond the owners control.

Educate your client rather than just telling them no and I would think this would all go away and your relationship with the client will be improved through the communication process.

Let us know how you make out....

BobPE

### RE: Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings

2
I would not do this. there is no reason to seal the preliminary drawings unless it for a permit. In that case I would add anote that final structural design is not complete and you do not endorse these drawings for construction, and that the SOLE purpose of the drawings is to provide sufficent information to obtain a permit.
By stamping the drawings, you are certifing the strucutre is sufficently designed in accordance with standard practice and is safe and code compliant. If the owner decides to save some money and have a fabricator's unlicensed detailer finsh the design as part of a shop drawing. If there is a problem you will dragged in quick. Also if he specifies smaller members than what you would, and then goes after the owner for a change when you requset larger members, you will be pressured to relax your design. It is one of those situations where nothing good will come of it, and something bad might.
You might put a statement on the drawings that these drawings have been prepared by you . a licensed engineer. that the drawins are incomplete and have been prepared to present the current design concept. Construction and fabrication should only proceed from complete stamped drawings. Everything is true and you have clearly not endorsed the drawings. Consult your attorney for exact language.

### RE: Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings

waytsh - Outstanding advice from all of the above. I will just add one thing, their concerns not just hypothetical, in 1977, I was a (potential) bidder on a project that was about 50% designed (lots of missing member sizes, etc.). The Owner had sent the preliminary plans out for bid, without the knowledge or consent of the Engineer.

### RE: Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings

(OP)
I contacted the PA Board of Professional Engineers and they directed me in the same direction as all of you have.  The drawings should not be signed and sealed unless they are complete.  We have informed the client that we can not provide sealed drawings at this time.  I don't know how well it went over since he claims that it is going to delay the project by a month.  Small price to pay in my opinion.  In any case as BobPE mentioned it was a good educational opportunity.

Thanks again to all!  I appreciate the time you spent to respond.

~waytsh

### RE: Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings

nice research JAE, thanks....

BobPE

### RE: Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings

JAE or others,
The pdf for the Texas Engineering Practices Act can be obtained http://www.tbpe.state.tx.us/downloads.htm. ; Can you post links to the boards where we can find the regulations in the other states?

John

### RE: Signing & Sealing Preliminary Drawings

Yes, for USA boards, check NCEES or simply google on the state name and words like ENGINEERING BOARD PROFESSIONAL and you can usually get a quick hit on the state board website.

Not sure how this post relates to other countries laws and regulations.

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