What Does the Phrase Sealed Drawings Mean?

Reader Contribution by Dan Trimble And Dan Griffin

The building department where I am building requires sealed drawings. What does this mean?   

More and more, building inspectors around the country are requiring that construction drawings, or “blueprints,” (which are rarely blue anymore) for residences be sealed by a licensed architect or engineer. This licensed professional must review, and in some cases supervise the drawing of, these documents. They then put their professional seal on them. This means they take full responsibility for all the information provided. If the building is built as drawn and sealed, any failure or defect that shows up during or after the home is constructed is their responsibility. This is also as close as we get to an assurance that the building is designed to perform under the conditions of its location and use. This sealing and assumption of responsibility has been a requirement for a long time in commercial construction. Slowly but surely, it is making its way into the homebuilding business. Check with your local building department to get the requirements for the area in which you plan to build before any design work is started.

Dan Trimble and Dan Griffin, owners and operators of Timber Frame Services