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Stamping Drawings for My Own House Without Insurance

Superfluous Squirrel

I recently bought a house and it needs some work. Is there a good reason not to stamp the plans myself? I don't have insurance and I don't plan on buying it anytime soon. 

I'm having a hard time coming up with a reason why I would need insurance. I'm not going to sue myself, I don't think the next owner would have any standing to sue. 

Anyone have any input?

 
Jan 27, 22 2:20 pm
Non Sequitur

What if your house burns down and injures a fire-fighter?

What if fire spreads from one of your new windows and affects a neighbour?  Ditto for excavation?


Jan 27, 22 2:22 pm  · 
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Superfluous Squirrel

I guess those are some concerns. Can you really be held liable for a fire if you meet the fire code?

Jan 27, 22 2:27 pm  · 
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Superfluous Squirrel

I don't think I understand how my exposure would be any different by stamping the plans. If they are going to sue the architect in that situation they are also going to sue the homeowner.

Jan 27, 22 2:46 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

I'm assuming here that you could make an error which was overlooked by permit department, if the worse were to happen, you could be held accountable for said error (whatever it is) if damages occur.  

Many ifs in here.  In my jurisdiction, a stamp comes with mandatory insurance so it's not a situation I've ever seen.

Jan 27, 22 2:49 pm  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

Yeah, but what about the wife? Can you trust her?

Jan 27, 22 2:23 pm  · 
3  · 
Superfluous Squirrel

That's a good point, I can't trust anyone.

Jan 27, 22 2:29 pm  · 
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Then you can't trust us and shouldn't be asking us for advice . . .

Jan 27, 22 2:59 pm  · 
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tduds

I'm not sure where in the world you are, but most jurisdictions that I'm aware of wouldn't require a stamp for renovations on a private residence (unless it's a very large one).

Jan 27, 22 2:28 pm  · 
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Superfluous Squirrel

I do require a stamp because I'm doing structural calculations. However, they are simple enough that I feel comfortable doing them myself.

Jan 27, 22 2:33 pm  · 
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tduds

Are you a structural engineer? If stamping structural calculations as an Architect is allowed, I'm not aware of it.

Jan 27, 22 4:20 pm  · 
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Superfluous Squirrel

I'm just looking at the requirements for my jurisdiction. I can't comment on what is usual everywhere else. Why wouldn't they let an architect stamp structural calcs for a SFH?

Jan 27, 22 4:27 pm  · 
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rcz1001

...

Jan 27, 22 4:44 pm  · 
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rcz1001

However, in most states, an architect is required to stamp drawings for any drawings submitted for permits or used for construction. That, you should know, already, tduds.

Jan 27, 22 4:46 pm  · 
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rcz1001

Superfluous_Squirrel, it is not the building department but the licensing boards and their turf wars between other professions like some states prohibits engineers practicing architecture unless licensed as one... regardless if it is incidental or not to their engineering work. Likewise, that may be reciprocated with engineering boards and their laws and rules prohibiting architects from engaging in what constitutes practice of engineering, regardless if it is incidental or not and regardless of project size.

Jan 27, 22 4:49 pm  · 
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rcz1001

Not all states exempts SFRs under the engineering title/practice statutes and associated administrative rules.

Jan 27, 22 4:50 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

tduds, it was part of the negotiations when archs were angling for licensure reqs back in the day. engineers only signed off if they could do work sans architect under certain conditions and vice versa. the specifics aren't in my brain

Jan 27, 22 4:53 pm  · 
1  · 
rcz1001

That's a moving target from state to state as some states are more strict regarding the 'overlap' of practice between architects & engineers. At least a few states practically prohibit such overlap and must only work within their domain. It comes down to those negotiations that changes over time.

Jan 27, 22 5:02 pm  · 
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mightyaa

fyi; doesn't matter if you stamped or not in a civil suit. You are still a licensed architect and required to act like it. Your stamp doesn't 'make you' licensed ONLY when you use it.

Jan 31, 22 1:02 pm  · 
2  · 

Joke answer: What are you gonna do, sue yourself?


Real answer: it’s still a risk, mitigate it with insurance. 

Jan 27, 22 2:50 pm  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

Sue yourself? Is it possible?

Checks deductible... tempting.

Jan 27, 22 2:57 pm  · 
2  · 
randomised

why would anyone have a reason to sue if you just make sure your calculations are correct?



Jan 27, 22 3:03 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

M'erica

Jan 27, 22 3:04 pm  · 
1  · 
reallynotmyname

I would talk to your homeowners insurance agent and see to what extent claims like the fire and excavation scenarios mentioned above would be covered under that policy.  


Jan 27, 22 3:10 pm  · 
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proto

insurance is not required; nor is it necessarily warranted

your risk is that you are living in it

& that you might sell it at some point down the road

whether doing calcs or not, many jurisdictions require you stamp stuff if you are licensed even if the project is exempt

Jan 27, 22 3:44 pm  · 
2  · 
SneakyPete

CA does, for example

Jan 27, 22 4:53 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

My jurisdiction does require a stamp even if exempt, however it doesn't require insurance. Go figure.

Jan 30, 22 12:06 am  · 
1  · 
deltar

That is wild, with the exception of larger SFDs and mid-large commercial I so very rarely see a stamp on anything in my jurisdiction. I had one "architectural designer" who applied for a commercial kitchen installation and she was able to get her permit.

Jan 31, 22 11:01 am  · 
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Appleseed

OR has a sim. requirement for State License holders to stamp their work on exempt projects-

Jan 31, 22 3:18 pm  · 
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rcz1001

If you *ARE* going to live in it beyond statutes of repose/limitations then don't worry about professional liability insurance on it. If you only live in it for a couple years then you might want to consider such thing because a subsequent owner may sue you for negligence and that can be trouble. If you do your job to standard of reasonable care reasonably expected of Architects and other related professionals under same or similar circumstances, you should be ok but as you know... lawsuits are trouble regardless and things can be rules however the situation is.


Jan 27, 22 4:39 pm  · 
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oh my god YOLO this is not something worth worrying about

Jan 29, 22 10:32 pm  · 
8  · 
geezertect

I agree with Donna. You are no more or less liable to be sued in any real world scenario. Have some confidence in your skills. A plaintiff has to establish the gross negligence; you don't have to disprove it

Jan 30, 22 11:16 am  · 
2  · 
Bench

Damn Donna. Curious if you're saying that primarily because of the scale of the project (small res), the fact that the client and arch are the same person, or something else?

Jan 31, 22 8:46 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

I agree, so long as you utilize language in a contract, that closely resembles the AIA agreements, then most insurance - for small scale projects is not warranted. My contracts have the standard arbitration clauses, and even if it did approach something like arbitration, you have a few things going for you; I don't build, and is the standard care of service in line with generally acceptable practice - or something to that effect.

Jan 31, 22 11:33 am  · 
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Bench, I confess I didn’t read the whole thread, but almost all single family residential doesn’t need a stamp in the US. So why stamp and  give yourself such angst over nothing?! But I see s/he says the structural engineering needs to be stamped. So, fine, yes stamp it. And do it right do you don’t have to worry about it.

Jan 31, 22 10:54 pm  · 
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