• Category Archives General Discussion
  • Some Things I’d Like to See Fixed

    Here’ are the top things I’d like to see ‘fixed’ in the permitting process:

    1.  Uniform enforcemnt of all provisions of the code:  If energy and green compliance are normal parts of the code, then why are they subject to extraordinary scrutiny and certification on the construction documents?  If what my office has specified is code compliant, then the AHJ’s plans examiner can see it, or ask me to specify it in a specific location.   Why do I need to ‘sign-off’ on the CF-1R and RMM-1 forms?  How are those code sections special compared to the code provisions?  Those examples are California specific, but other states have similar ‘special enforcement’ areas.  Is it just enviro-hype driving this?  Really??  I’m dismayed at how government sees itself as a marketing operation all the time.  Don’t do that.  Just legislate, then enforce uniformly.. Just it like it says in the US Constitution.  I should only have to demonstrate my responsibility for the construction documents in one way… The way the Architect’s Practice Act says I should… By sealing and signing the documents I’m in responsible  charge of (usually done in the title blocks of each sheet).

    2.  AHJ’s need to either keep their websites up-to-date, or simply not offer anything but a phone number:  One of my local AHJ’s still lists the 2010 editions of the codes on their website, when in reality they’ve been using the 2013’s since January of this year.

    3.  AHJ’s need to keep their form libraries up-to-date:  Same as above… Haven’t been getting updated CALGreen forms until just now… 5 months into adoption!  Come on!!

    David M. Sanders, AIA

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  • Permit Nightmares

    You asked for nightmares as well. In the city in which I practice the inspector makes any new commercial enterprise file for a building permit, including drawings and a Construction Control Affidavit even when no work is being done…literally.  As an example, a professional wanted to rent a single office. The inspector made him get a drawing from me of the office (8′ x 12′) and show where he intended to put his desk and chair.  The tenant had to apply for a building permit with my stamped drawing and Construction Control Affidavit, was charged the minimum permit fee, and then could apply for a Certificate of Occupancy.

    It is a steady stream of work for me if I choose to take it, but I’d much prefer to spend my time on “real” projects.
    John Crowell
    Deer Hill Architects, LLC
    Peabody MA

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  • Digital Seals and Signatures

    This guide provides a quick overview of how digital signature security works


    A recent article on the legal considerations of using electronic means for agreements and signatures.  Legally, an email can be the basis for a contract – even if unintentional!

    digital docs and signatures

    As far as digital seals and signatures, there has been considerable work in this area by Fiatech recently on this very topic; see here for more detail:  http://www.fiatech.org/project-management/projects/457-digital-signatures-survey-and-best-practices-guide——————————————-
    Michael Malinowski AIA
    Applied Architecture, Inc.
    Sacramento CATerry:Thanks for chiming in from the JHA side!  Electronic submission does indeed make perfect sense.

    My comments about the security of seals aren’t so much from a fear of forgery, as they are of internal quality control.  For some, there is a certain sense of control that comes from physically looking over the paper plans and signing them.  I suspect there is a fear that if electronic seals are available in house, that anyone in the firm could go ahead and submit plans without the principal-in-charge’s knowledge or review (regardless of the intent of that individual).   I realize it is an internal process issue and isn’t the JHA’s problem.

    I would be interested in the experiences of others from the architecture firm side that may have principals, project architects or other sealers of plans that are spanning from the paper age to the digital age, and how they have handled it.

    Eric Andrews AIA
    Project Architect
    BHDP Architecture
    Cincinnati OH

  • Digital Seal and Signature

    Even electronic plans in some jurisdictions require ‘wet stamp’ and wet signature before permits are
    imagesissued.  This can involve separate trips to the building department by all the licensed professionals, for a long session of stamping and signing for large sets of drawings.  This is a considerable cost to the private sector, that can be eliminated by acceptance by the jurisdiction of some electronic means of seal and signature on the plans.

    More info on this topic here: APracticalDeploymentStrategyforDigitalSignaturesandSeals from Fiatech, an organization devoted to technology based reform in regulatory environments

    Have you used electronic seal and signature?  If so, has it saved time and hassle?  Downsides/negatives?


    One thought on “Digital Seal and Signature”

    1. mfmalinowskiPost author
      For many this is not as complex as the vendors may make it sound; attaching an image to a pdf works well for many; and there is no evidence that it is any more problematic than the old methods of wet signature or digital security as most documents can be easily altered in photo editing software at some level