What is an architect responsible for when he stamps construction documents?


Okay, sorry. First off, I wasn't sure how to word that and secondly, I have no idea which category this belongs in so I figured I can't go wrong with general discussion. Architecture student here. I thought about this today but didn't ask any of my professors because I felt like I should know the answer. I know that stamped construction documents are considered legal documents and the architect takes liability for the building when he/she stamps the drawings. But my question is, where do the structural engineers come in? I know they also stamp drawings. So if a licensed structural engineer stamps a set of construction drawings, would the architect also stamp the drawings? Is it an either-or scenario where either the engineer or the architect stamps the drawings depending on the situation or are both stamps required always? 

And as far as the structural integrity of the building, is the architect responsible for any of it or does that responsibility fall entirely on the engineer?


Nov 20, 14 11:10 am
x intern

Are you talking about liability or design responsibility?   Typically arch has the contract with the owner and the engineer has a contract with the architect.  When lawsuits go down the lawyers sue everybody.  

Design wise the engineer is responsible for the design of the structure and foundation based on the design of the building, cost and the soils report.  The arch is responsible for coordination of the structure with everything else (MEP), protecting the structure from the elements and fire if required by code and the overall design (structural engineers like to put columns and cross bracing in the way of our beautiful designs). 

Also you have to make sure the engineer is informed of any loads you put on the building outside of the expected. Heavy equipment, storage of items that create large point loads ect.

As you can see its not really a cut and dry question, if you do something, let water get at something important or don't protect the structure from fire and it falls for these reasons its your responsibility

Nov 20, 14 11:46 am
x intern

Oh The arch and each engineer stamp their portion of the construction documents.  Typically Civil, Structural, Arch, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing.  Maybe a few others depending on scope, Landscape, technology, fire and safety (if not done by electrical engineer)  

Nov 20, 14 11:49 am

I would add that work done by others should not be on your sheets.  If there is structural detailing, put it on it's own sheet with the structural engineer's seal by itself.  That way, there is no confusion over who is responsible for the design.  Never seal anything that you did not design would be my recommendation.

The other thing to consider is that if the architect is doing CA work, they will need to be generally familiar with the structural requirements and make observations during construction.  On my jobs, the structural engineer will come out once or twice max, and generally that is after the roof deck is on.  In the mean time, we monitor concrete pours and setup, steel or other structural erection, and ask lots of questions/take lots of pictures. 

Nov 20, 14 1:09 pm

on top of that, if something were to happen where liability comes into play, it's usually hard to tell if the structural design was wrong, or the building design in general, or the construction, or something else entirely.

in the end, the architect is responsible for everything, including the weather and the bad day some random laborer might be having.

Nov 20, 14 1:14 pm

Horror Story with a lucky ending (for the architect) - Overseeing a project, building a gymnasium with steel columns and trusses.  We noted in the field reports that the trusses had a bow in them, and it turns out the x-bracing was too long, pushing the trusses out of alignment.  Emails flying back and forth.  Well, random structural workeer gets up in a lift, and starts taking the bracing loose (everyone else on site was in the weekly safety meeting).  Well, long story short, he shouldn't have done that, trusses start laying over, and the whole structure fails.  Worker jumps 40 feet out of the bucket and breaks his back and leg.  By the time we got there, we discovered that the anchor bolts for the columns had been misaligned, and the contractor had taken it upon themselves to fix it with no notification to anyone (their fix was to cut the baseplates off the column and tack weld them back).  So, naturally, when the other problem kicked in, the column had only tack welds to hold it up.  Thus, full structural failure. 

From what I hear, our structural engineer was deposed, but we never heard a word.  It was the wierdest thing ever.  Erection company and Contractor settled with the worker.

tldr: no matter how closely you watch, never underestimate the power of stupid.  And I still don't know how we didn't get lumped into that one at least at the start.

Nov 20, 14 1:36 pm

The architect is not responsible for the strucutural engineer's specification that is stamped by the structural engineer because the engineer doesn't walk from any liability for their work. The architect is responsible for coordination of engineering disciplines such as a structural beam going through the mechanical duct or something like that where there is conflict between the design and specifications of engineering disciplines. So the architect should detect such conflicts and point it out and work with the engineering disciplines to resolve.

Legal liability, design liablility or responsibility.... more or less all the same thing for all that matters as all design responsibilities is a legal liability if things go wrong. That is the risk of being in charge. But remember, shit rolls downhill as long as there is a path. That meaning, unless it is your fault and that you have sole responsibility, you can take the issue and point at the engineers for their fault.

Lawyers will sue everyone and that is what the standard way to suit in cases like what we would face as design professionals. They been doing that for decades and it is taught in law school that if you don't know precisely who to sue, you sue them all and at least one of them will get it. You name all the parties as parties to the lawsuit in order to get the parties responsible through preponderance of fact. A lawyer worth their salt does this because it is 99% guarantee that at last one of the parties is responsible. Guess what, building designers don't necessarily get to escape responsibility, either. Just because you are not licensed, doesn't mean you will escape responsibility. Only if you are an employee of a licensed design professional and that you are not licensed as well, would you escape responsibility. This stems from very long standing laws where an employer is responsible for the acts of their employee. They would be responsible for even their licensed employees although the licensed employee would still also be responsible for their acts.

If you are an independent contractor than you would be liable for your part regardless of architectural/engineering or other state-issued occupational licensing.

This is especially true in Oregon.

Even then, just because you are unlicensed and an employee of a licensed design professional, you are not guaranteed to escape liability. For example:  If you wanton disregard the directions of your employer and ultimately caused problems to occur and a lawsuit occurs, and that this is brought to light in court with substantiated evidence, then you will be liable.

Nov 20, 14 1:41 pm

The architect is not responsible for the strucutural engineer's specification that is stamped by the structural engineer

building designers may not be, but architects are.  the structural engineer also has liability of course, but they are often the consultant of the architect, so their information goes through the architect before it gets to the owner, and through the owner before it gets to the contractor, and through the contractor before it gets to the fabricator. 

which means if the owner is pissed that their building fell down, they go to the architect and say 'you designed it wrong' and to the contractor and say 'you built it wrong.'

the owner doesn't have a relationship with either the structural engineer or the fabricator or whoever installed the thing.  when the architect gets sued because the building fell down, they go to the structural engineer and say 'we were relying on your judgement and you let us down.'  that gives the architect cause to sue the engineer for damages they are going to owe the owner.

this often doesn't go to court at all, so 'sue everyone' really isn't a thing that often.  most everyone is going to prefer arbitration, because that doesn't go to public record.  to keep things simple, everyone will end up going to the lawyer's depositions and it commonly all gets balled into one big thing, but if anyone wants to separate themselves from that they can, since they're all different paths to whoever is actually suing, and therefore they're all technically separate trials.

Nov 20, 14 2:05 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Curtkram some firms like to not have their consulting engineers on their titleblock and often request the owner contract directly with consultant. For all the reasons you explain above.

Nov 20, 14 5:25 pm

The Architect must show up on the job site once the project is under construction and bring at least a case of bud or pbr.  every Friday at 12:00.  Nothing else matters, long as the guys on the site think your one of them. 

Nov 20, 14 7:31 pm

"By others" I use to work for a S.E. and we put "by others" in our annotation for stairs, envelope and skylights. could not find references to these items on the arch sheets. ?

Nov 20, 14 7:39 pm

@OP - as you can see, this isn't a simple question at all. You shouldn't be embarrassed to approach a professor to discuss this. School isn't about already knowing things; it's about talking and finding out.

Actually, if you asked 2-3 different professors you'd get 2-3 different answers. The instructor of your professional practice class should certainly be knowledgeable about this, and any instructors who run a firm. It's a complex topic.

Back to your original question - most projects have a clear division between engineer drawings and architect's drawings. Usually the architect drawings are numbered something like A-001, the engineer's S-001, C-001, E-001, etc. On a big project there can be ten or more series of drawings each by specialty engineers or designers (Interiors, Landscape, Civil, Fire Protection, Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical and others). The architect normally has responsibility for overseeing all of this. On big projects it might be an executive architect or architect of record separate from the design architect who coordinates everything.

To be honest, the stamp isn't some kind of magic seal that isolates the architect's liability. If the architect had any connection at all, there is always a potential liability. Our firm's insurance agent loved telling us the following story of an architect being liable for giving free advice:

I can't find the reference now so I'll summarize as I remember it. An architect's neighbor approached him to ask about cracking he had noticed in the lining of his swimming pool. The architect said the pool should be drained so a professional could inspect it. So a little later, and without asking anyone for help, the neighbor got a pump and pumped out the water - onto the edge of his property. It flowed downhill, flooding a nearby property and causing some damage. The court found the architect partially liable for providing unsound advice - despite that he wasn't actually working for the neighbor, and didn't approve anything about the way it was pumped. The court felt that as a licensed professional, the architect should know better than to suggest pumping the water out without proper provision for drainage.

Nov 20, 14 10:16 pm

Can’t read everything but in my experience the guy who ends up being responsible is the guy with the most money. Found that a lot of consultants are really spongy on insurance. 

Nov 21, 14 9:56 am

Not as a response to the liability question, but we've been 'relying' on 3rd party inspectors to cover most of the Structural CA. Mandatory ('Special Inspections') in some jurisdictions, and contracted through the Owner. Make sure any critical observations are written into the SE's specs/contract.

Someone mentioned observing conc. pours, etc- Beyond the most casual observation, that seems a bit out of scope for responsibility - I've never done break tests or the like.

Nov 21, 14 3:31 pm

Can I piggyback a question here? Does the stamp mean you will be performing CA services, or can you stamp a drawing set and then not do CA? 

Nov 21, 14 5:00 pm

In my region hardly anybody hires for CA. You need a seal to get a permit but it’s not a signifier of scope of services. Wanted to add – if something goes terribly wrong no one is escaping anything, but if it’s just something broke, worn out, fails to perform, a leak – those things are just about money and they just go after the guy with the title block….if it’s not your fault you “enjoin” those responsible yourself and make a pleading to exit the law suit. You’ll almost never get an exit….they want a judgment against everybody they can reach, then attack each one until they can find the deep pocket to pay. Hide your money you guys – the boogie man is out there.

Nov 21, 14 5:20 pm

I understand CA isn't always performed, that is exactly the point, thank you. How can you stamp a drawing set and then not see that construction is performed accordingly? So substantial completion and cert of occupancy doesn't require an architect, just permitting? So then you are just liable that the design and the drawings are up to code, not the building itself? How can you be liable for a building you've never contracted to perform construction services for? Drawings are just drawings. Does Health, Safety, and Welfare just go away after permitting (drawing)? 

Nov 21, 14 5:37 pm

Whether the architect is required to do construction administration or not depends on state law and the particular state's licensing board administrative rules.

In Oregon, usually required to be done except on SFRs.

Nov 21, 14 5:38 pm

tint, the architect is designing the building, not building it.  so the plans show the design intent, and are hopefully designed to code.  you're not stamping the drawings saying the building meets code, your stamping the drawings basically saying you've designed it to code, or that you're providing a set of instructions for someone else to build it to code.

the contractor builds it; the architect isn't involved in that part.  even if the architect does CA, it's just to verify design intent (sort of, that's probably not completely accurate).  if the contractor builds it different than what's on the plans, there's nothing the architect can do anyway.  that's between the owner and contractor.  if the contractor builds what's on the plans and that doesn't meet code, it's because the designer designed it wrong, and CA doesn't really help there either.

Nov 21, 14 5:53 pm

Tint, that’s the dilemma…Richard is right – State to State, but mostly no CA. The way I handled it is that I made the drawings iron-clad and let them proceed as they desired – it was actually a way out of liability because mostly what went wrong was stuff they changed and they couldn’t connect me to the change. In a strange way not doing CA is better because most things that broke were changes. Frankly I think CA increases liability – if you do CA there is no way out. Again – hide the money guys!

Nov 21, 14 5:59 pm

what about a design build firm?  

Nov 21, 14 6:38 pm

"in the end, the architect is responsible for everything, including the weather and the bad day some random laborer might be having."  What does this mean? You just agreed that the architect is only liable for the design through the contract documents. There is no rain in drawings. 

Nov 21, 14 6:42 pm

Our Owner/Architect Contract (we actually use the more-friendly term Letter of Agreement) will generally spell out how we'd like to deal with CA - which is typically pretty hands on. But I'd hope/think that part of our professional responsibility is to make sure the Owner is getting what they paid for (i.e., what was part of the Contract Documents for the Owner/Contractor) - even some of my go-to guys miss stuff. Whether in the spec. or on the drawings, things get overlooked on the jobsite, and part of the checks-and-balances is for the Architect to be reviewing, frequently, in the field.

Can't really agree with the statement that 'if the contractor builds it different than what's on the plans, there's nothing the architect can do anyway.' You guys don't have rejection clauses in your Docs? Or the support of your Owner?

Nov 21, 14 7:05 pm

The lawsuits are about money and they seek equitable resolution for their clients. They as in the lawyers. The lawyers job is to bring equitable resolution for the client and then bill the client their services so they can get paid. Lawyers are businesses... too. Therefore, they seek to get paid. The #1 loyalty a lawyer has is to himself/herself's financial interest within the scope of law followed by the interests of those close and dear to him/her then everyone else in their order of ranks.

Aren't we all utimately like the lawyers. 

Nov 21, 14 7:10 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Tints question illuminates one of the biggest issues that the Profession attempts to maintain while the market says otherwise. The Profession wants you to do CA as an ethical type of duty but the market knows better than to allow Architects to stick their nose into the CM business. The third party requirements in NYC via an accredited Special Inspection Agency (SIA) is there to require Professionals to ensure the contractors work matches the intent and ultimately code and national standards. Often, as is my personal preference, the SIA is another firm who usually specializes in inspections only. So now you have a possible designer (no license) , an Architect of Record (AOR)and then an SIA to ensure quality is met, ultimately with regard to life safety issues................. I do work on jobs though where the GC and I are on the phone multiple times a day discussing which adhesive or fastener type to use, especially on jobs where there are more consultants than contractors and things change constantly due to a storm of factors. Each consultant representing various parties, the building, management, the client, etc.... This constant interaction is to ensure I can document every move, and each document fullfills some testing or national standard - UL, FM, and various is also common to do this on jobs where practically every detail is custom and usually we are dealing with existing conditions.......................... The older architects I know and work for and with are very involved in CA, this I believe is tradition and I am learning standard in European countries or very high end international firms. What has happened I would suggest - to be that involved in construction requires a lot of knowledge, knowledge obtained through decades of experience. Most architects do not have the experience nor the education to understand what needs to be learned to be a CA architect so they make strictly design intent drawings and take the hands off approach further increasing the cycle of building technology ignorance which then further makes it impossible to have an Architect provide valuable service in CA..................... How many time have you heard a contractor rant about the mickey mouse drawings an architect has made? Because we believe building technology is impossible to learn in school we have decided its not worth learning. There is a lot of fucking design in details more than the mickey mouse diagrams Koolhaas and OMA have been producing for years. Somebody has to figure those schematic designs out..................The avoidance to building technology is three fold -1) its technical, 2) lawyers do not want you to touch it, 3) conceptual design is easy. That is why most of the architectural education is about the conceptual - its easy to learn and easy to teach and avoids the technical and the liable...................listen I know a firm that had to consult on solving a leak in a facade from a detail that was published in Architectural Graphic Standards in a few volumes, so even the conceptual technical experts can get it wrong...........rambling....

Nov 21, 14 7:14 pm

You guys aren’t listening, was at this for 44.5 years as owner of a medium/large firm….just do the best that you can and hide the money. If you kill somebody then God help you, but for all the rest….over your career you will experience mistakes and inevitably get sued…not saying you shouldn’t pay for mistakes, just don’t leave the piggybank open. The biggest problem I experienced were ass-holes and idiots. Did a library during the Jimmy Carter years when he screwed down on energy. Had to use sodium vapor indirect lighting to meet code. A few years after opening I got sued because the lighting failed to perform. Went there to find that the bulbs had reached there maturity and simply needed to be replaced. Went to a board meeting to explain but they still sued me. Piggybank was empty; everything in an off-shore account…..and my problem went away real fast.  Again, not saying you shouldn’t be accountable, but ass holes and idiots are out there, Just do the best you can and hide the money and assets…..if they can’t collect they go away real fast.

Nov 21, 14 8:55 pm

Want to add that in 44.5 years I never, ever, had professional liability insurance. I did projects that exceeded $750,000,000. I just hid the money & assets and just let them come at me. Again, if I killed somebody I was willing to go to jail, but for all the rest it was just about money and the money was mine and I decided if the claim was worthy. Thank God I never killed anybody….but no ass holes or idiots ever collected….protect your money and assets and just let them come after you…..we are all doing the best we can.

Nov 21, 14 9:29 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Carrera, I don't even let my wife know when I have extra cash, ha...and I spend it right away or pay a debt - no surplus ever.

To Carrera's point  'everyone will sue you anyway and they will sue everyone'. 

After a while of working in your field you start to think everyone is on the same page as you, but this is never the case.  Sample generic story based on real circumstance:

Some team members were angling to get rid of one the professionals who threatened to possibly walk if the team did not do what they designed (engineer).  The professional was technically correct and other team members agreed to this, but felt the walking was a bit dramatic - politically.   Without realizing  I could be offending the client or the team I noted the professional was being professional - concerned about giving the correct design for the situation and was technically correct.  End of conversation!  There was no, he's right because of this technically and you're right about this technically.  All that had to be noted was the Doctor told you not to smoke and the doctor is correct.

What does this mean in the big picture?  Step out from your professional technical knowledge and understand the social perception that often leads to lawsuits.  Don't waste time explaining your technical correctness, understand the social manuevers to ensure the people who may sue understand they would be wasting their time suing.


Nov 21, 14 9:56 pm

What does this mean? You just agreed that the architect is only liable for the design through the contract documents. There is no rain in drawings. 

sorry i forgot to answer you since your post was directed at me

in the event that something happens, the lawyer's and judge's opinion is going to be the one that matters, right?  so i suppose these ponderings are really just a prediction as to what those opinions would be.

you seem to be suggestion that i'm contradicting myself; that if an architect's liability is limited to the contract documents, then they can't be liable for something that occurs during construction by one of the people building the building.

i would say that is not necessarily a contradiction.  when something goes wrong, you sort of have to look at the condition created and the events that led to that condition forensically, right?  sometimes it's an obvious problem that is caught quickly, and people scramble to find a solution.  in that case, it might be fairly obvious if the cause was the architect's contract documents or the contractor's building, then that person is probably going to just take the heat and do what they can to fix it.  from my experience in those cases there aren't any judges or lawyers, so liability isn't really questioned.  it's like, a different set of things happens, other than deciding who is liable.

other times something might go wrong and let's say it gets covered up.  a long time later, the effects of that mistake become more evident.  water infiltration is probably the most common situation like this right?  so a bunch of speculative theories are formed and tested.  maybe the architect provided a detail that would allow water intrusion.  maybe the architect was expected to include some incredibly detailed window spec, but instead they spec'd a window and said 'follow the manufacturer's directions.'  was the architect responsible for including the screw pattern in their contract documents?  maybe.  it could be that the widow system spec'd by the architect was VEd to a difference system, and then it comes into question as to what role the architect has to ensure that system works with the rest of the building (despite their portion of the contract essentially being over).  it could have been that the installer didn't put the mastic under the sill plate right.  it could be that the fabricator measured the opening off by 1/4".  it could be any other of a million things, some of which would be part of the architect's responsibility, and some of which would be the contractor's responsibility.

if the cause was actually rain that caused the mastic to not set right, and that was just one of the 100 speculative possible causes, the architect does end up shouldering part of the liability for a rainy day, right?

Nov 23, 14 5:36 pm

curt, I can't tell if you are proud of that or what? The fact that the architect is not part of the build team nor is a master builder anymore and it has caused problems that there aren't good solutions to yet... it is awkward. Glad we can discuss this, it is something I lack understanding in, and I don't think I'm the only one. 

Nov 24, 14 7:55 am

whether i'm proud of it or not seems an odd way to look at it.  this is just my impression of how things are, without trying to push my opinion on it.  but then i'm only human with same flaws everyone else has, so maybe i'm not doing a good job of being objective.

i like designing buildings, but i like the building part more than the design part.  even if it's a shitty taco bell (which i have not actually been involved with), i enjoy thinking about the systems and parts that go together to make that a successful building.  i like 3d modelling, and i like creating forms and working through what an elevation could look like and all that when i get a chance too, but it's because i like thinking about how it will come together as a building, not because i want to be a graphic designer and make a neat picture.

so, no, i don't like the direction the field is going.

Nov 24, 14 9:04 am
When you say "hide the money" what do you mean specifically? How do you own a home (or two), cars, pay your bills, etc? Where do you hide this money?
Nov 24, 14 9:14 am
el jeffe
speaking of CA liability, the city of albuquerque was, for a time, requesting a letter from the architect of record certifying the project was built in substantial compliance with the permit documents. holy moly what a shit storm of fury that created....
Nov 24, 14 11:39 am

Gruen - If you are an employee no need to hide anything, just buy common insurance. If you own a business no need to hide anything because with an LLC or Corp. you are insulated personally….but here is what is exposed – In business you always are required to sign personally for cash flow loans, leases and mortgages…this exposes you personally. Also, if someone sues the business and gets mad enough they could try to “pierce the shield” of the LLC/Corp. and come at you personally (had that happen) and finally, even though you are behind the shield if someone sues your company your company has things like real estate, furniture, equipment etc….so you need to “hide the money” – here is an example on how to do that:

Personal things – put your house in your wife’s name (deed), cars too. If you own anything expensive like art or jewelry give it to your kids under a trust.  Don’t hold a bank account with your wife; make your wife’s account a trust account. Keep a small separate account for yourself for spending money but don’t keep too much in it.

Business things – if you own real estate own it under different/separate corporations. If it’s your office have your firm rent it from your other corporation. Same thing for furniture & equipment, buy it/lease it all under a separate corporation and lease it back to the firm.

Cash – even if you do all this, large amounts of cash is like red-meat to people and because it isn’t kept in your house people have ways to get at it. Tie it up in real estate owned by a separate corporation. Park it in separate corporate accounts.

Now realize that these other corporations are owned and controlled by you and if someone is able to pierce the shield they can get at it. Having the shield pierced is like a stab in the heart….if you think that is a risk or if bankruptcy is a possibility in your life, then go off-shore. Have all these things under a foreign corporation, it’s easy to do. It’s virtually impossible to trace a foreign corporation. Another place to hide cash is in insurance annuities or other insurance vehicles, nobody ever looks there…no way to trace if a person has insurance. Remember that banks will fuck you and cooperate with creditors because they are creditors.

Remember this isn’t about accountability – it’s about ass-holes, idiots and financial disaster.

Nov 24, 14 6:14 pm

carrera, thx for your candidness...that is something i would never have thought to investigate or ask partner and i have been discussing building an office structure for ourselves...and meanwhile we are getting dragged into an owner/gc dispute that amounts to a who-will-flinch-first contest...and wondering if one will get no satisfaction and then turn on us...owning a business sure is fun!

Nov 24, 14 6:56 pm

Proto, just hide-the-money and let them come after you and go back to your work. Once they discover they can’t get your money they go away real fast.  Unfortunately you have to respond to the disputes otherwise they will get a judgment against you and then the fun begins. If you are an LLC or Corp. you just need to let the court know that there is a shield and stand behind the shield. The advice I left is valid, no matter what, you need to hide-the-money.

Had a guy penetrate my shield and they hired an expert prick to collect. They made me go to a hearing to explore what I had….everything was off-shore but this prick looked at my LinkedIn page and noted that I loved golf. He asked me what kind of golf clubs I had and where I kept them. These guys will take the skin off your dick (sorry)…evaporate everything, including the golf clubs….they never got the golf clubs…sent them to the country club.  

I know you guys will be scared to go off-shore, I was too, but its simple and it works.

Don't hide from accountability, just pricks, ass-holes, idiots and financial disaster.

Nov 24, 14 9:39 pm

My father won a judgement against Marvin Isley of the Isley Brothers. Marvin had bought one of my father's houses in Westbury and was doing a total blowout - every exterior wall open for expansion - when the IRS shut him down for nonpayment. Norman never saw a dime, and we used to joke about the fabulous wardrobe and pimped out car he could have had if the sheriff had ever been able to collect.

Nov 24, 14 11:34 pm

I think it would cost more to ship my piggy bank of nickels overseas than it is worth right now. 

Nov 25, 14 7:00 am

for those of us who work for a living and are wondering where all that overtime is going, it's going off shore and into trust funds.  it's not about accountability, it's about getting lots of money and not letting others take any of it.....

Nov 25, 14 7:37 am
Olaf Design Ninja_

Curtkram, Carerra did note if you are an employee it does not really matter.....

Nov 25, 14 7:55 pm

However, if you are licensed, some of what Carrera stated may apply but keep in mind that you would not make much money anyway so it isn't that juicy for the vacuum cleaners.

They will clean you out if they can.

Nov 25, 14 10:48 pm

Richard, you are right, if you don’t have much….but they will come after whatever you have and even if it’s just a little it will put you out of business…no need to let that happen.. 

Nov 25, 14 11:01 pm

A client or third party's lawyers trying to sue an unlicensed employee of an business is kind of like trying to sue a child. An employee is like a child. The employer is responsible for the actions of an employee and employees generally can not be personally liable for the actions of performing work for their employer unless the employee has conducted criminal negligence. 

A party would have to meet the nexus of legal standing. Going after an unlicensed employee is a pain in the butt and often doesn't make enough to warrant a lawsuit. If the employee has stock share of the business, that may change things from which they may seek. But usually, they won't waste time suing the "minor" with no legal responsibility.

Employees are treated similar to a minor under age of legal responsibility because the employer has the default direct responsible charge of employees. Licensed employees are a little different and easier to go after. An unlicensed employee would have to act highly autonomous and disregard the employers direction and supervision and darn near conduct themselves at criminal negligence.

They have to be able to pin LEGAL LIABILITY on the unlicensed employee and have a reasonable ability to substantiate their argument convincingly. 

Usually, it would be the client sues the employer and then the employer sues the employee. That is usually the only recourse because the employee has a duty to the employer not the client. Relates to privity of contract. All employment relationships is technically a contractual relationship. Be it, tradition W-2 form and standard employment contract or a seperate 'custom' contract. All employees are technically contract employees but there is a distinction between conventional employee and those referred to as "Contracted employees" but all employment is a form of contractual relationship. 

Employer-Employee has a privity of contract relationship via either a standard employment or a more custom contract arrangement and they can sue each other. While a client or other third parties do not have a privity of contract with (unlicensed) employee but only with the employer.

So it is next to impossible to successfully sue the unlicensed employee and collect. 

Nov 26, 14 1:25 pm

Loving this  thread, so much informative information for the young and prospective architects like myself. Thanks for the info everyone.

Dec 11, 14 10:54 pm

I am biased for engineering vs architecture. Architects are not comparable to engineers in terms of having a deeper and stronger knowledge of the sciences, physics, chemistry, structural analysis, geotechnical and soils analysis, etc, etc and getting things to actually work and be safe so no one gets killed. In my opinion they don’t even come close.

So as far as the CA building design authority allowing Architects to legally design anything without a PE being involved, it makes no sense, because the scientific know-how isn’t there with architect like it is with the engineer. Moreover, I have personally never seen an architect place their architectural stamp on anything that would otherwise require a PE to take a proper look at it, because they are aware of this themselves lol.

As stated above, any (WISE) architect would know, nothing would really take place until a PE / SE is involved and has their stamp on it. As far as I am concerned that is the actual seal that matters.

As far as saying that the coursework for engineering doesn’t teach an engineer how to do architectural work… a lot of engineers would argue that they don’t need coursework on how to put flowers and pretty things around a building, they can get their kids to choose some colors and trees lol.

Knowing how to engineer things correctly is a matter of life or death. Knowing how to “architect” things correctly, is not, so, the Building Code needs a revision giving WAY more weight to the Engineer, as compared to the architect.

Apr 27, 18 6:51 pm

Mister "star architect" over here wants to draw their "pretty ideas" and send it over to ENGINEERS to make sure it all works without killing anyone, and then prancing around like a delusional super star in front of the owner, hurdy durdy, how cute lol.

You architects should make sure to keep your little spinny hat spinning while you draw some more colors and shapes, in between writing on the forums lol.

Engineering, hands down, all the way. Sowwy not sowwy lol.

Apr 27, 18 6:58 pm

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