Which Documents Can An Illinois Architect Sign And Seal?

By: Jim Zahn

The answer to the above question is found in the following two complex statutes governing the practice of architecture in Illinois.  They are as follows:

The Illinois Architecture Practice Act of 1989, 225 Illinois Compiled Statutes, 305/1 – 305/40, Inclusive (Current through Public Act 96-060), commonly referred to as the “Act”.

Title 68: Professions and Occupations, Chapter VII, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Subchapter b: Professions and Occupations, Part 1150, Illinois Architecture Practice Act of 1989, commonly referred to as the “Rules”.

It is unlawful to affix one’s seal to technical submissions if it masks the true identity of the person who actually exercised responsible control of the preparation of such work…. (See Sec. 305/6, sub-paragraph 4 of the Act.)

“Responsible control” means that amount of control over and detailed professional knowledge of the content of technical submissions during their preparation as is ordinarily exercised by architects applying the required professional standard of care.  Merely reviewing or reviewing and correcting technical submissions or any portion thereof prepared by those not in the regular employment of the office where the architect is resident without control over the content of such work throughout its preparation does not constitute responsible control.  (See Section 305/14, sub-paragraph 2.)

“An architect licensed under the laws of this jurisdiction shall not sign and seal technical submissions that were not prepared by or under the responsible control of the architect ….”  (See Section 305/14, sub-paragraph three.)

Please note that if the Architect fails to comply with the above clauses, “[t]he Department may singularly or in combination, refuse to issue, renew or restore, or may suspend, revoke, place on probation, or take other disciplinary or non-disciplinary action as deemed appropriate, including, but not limited to, the imposition of fines not to exceed $10,000 for each violation, as the Department may deem proper, with regard to a license for any one or combination of the following causes: … (8) signing, affixing the architect’s seal or permitting the architect’s seal to be affixed to any technical submission not prepared by the architect or under that architect’s responsible control ….”  Remember that merely reviewing and correcting documents is plan stamping and does not rise to the level of exerting responsible control.

Every state has its own laws governing which documents an architect may properly sign and seal.  For all non-Illinois projects, consult the laws of the state in which each project will be constructed, and fully comply with those laws.

Chicago, Illinois 312-377-1501 | Crown Point, Indiana 219-488-2590

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