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The Proper Use of Iowa Professional Seals

Randall W. Whitesides, P.E.

In Davenport a registered Architect has placed a single certification on a standardized architectural construction document sheet which is part of a technical submission package; none of the accompanying main sheets are certified and none indicate the name of the architectural firm. In Cedar Rapids, an Engineer has submitted a set of building engineering plans to local authorities for approval; he is the only indicated licensed design professional. The set contains numerous, uncertified sheets of major architectural design details. In Sioux City, a Landscape Architect's sealed subdivision plans include the design and layout of a community sewage treatment facility. These examples of sealing and certifying improprieties, while the exception rather than the rule, nevertheless occasionally occur throughout the State. While many times these types of mistakes are unrelated to the accuracy of the technical content contained within the documents, they may potentially cause problems.

This course gets to the source of sealing and certification mistakes; it does so in a clear, concise, and straightforward presentation. Just a few of the topics covered are: (1) The dos and don'ts of sealing, signing, and dating certifications, (2) the acceptable and unacceptable types of seals, (3) the exemptions and special situations to sealing, (4) the avoidance of sealing improprieties due to practice overlap, (5) the performance of minor, out-of-discipline work, incidental to primary licensed practice.

The course material is limited to Iowa laws and practices. However, there is remarkable similarity among the various States because of their adherence to model laws and model rules adopted by both the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Therefore, professional practitioners licensed in other States may find the content informative. They may be inspired to examine the substance of their native jurisdiction's rules and regulations, if for no other reason than to contrast it to that of Iowa's.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of course materials.

* This course is acceptable to all the state PE boards except the New York State PE & PLS Board.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.