Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only

State of Oregon
Building Codes Division Staff 
Technical Advisory

 

The following advice applies to current code and conditions described in the question. Applications for similar situations may have different determinations.
 
PROGRAM: Structural Program
SUBJECT: Licensed Engineer or Architect requirements
SOURCE: 1996 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC)
REFERENCE: Section 106.3.2
DATE OF ISSUE: September 27, 1996
PREPARED BY: C. Darin Wilson, P.E., Code Specialist, (503) 373-1354
   
QUESTION: OSSC Section 106.3.2 generally requires that plans, computations and specifications be prepared by an engineer or architect licensed by the state to practice as such. Several specific exceptions follow that provision. When the building official determines that a licensed engineer or architect is not required, could someone who is not licensed by the state as an engineer or architect provide computations in support of the plans and/or specifications?

DETERMINATION: If the jurisdiction with authority to enforce the code determines that due to the Architect's Law or due to the hazardousness or complexity of the work, a licensed engineer or architect is NOT required to stamp the drawings, then design computations can be submitted for approval by anyone.

ANALYSIS: The determination above results from staff review and analysis of OSSC Section 106.3, ORS 671.030 and ORS 672.020, as follows:

  1. ORS 672.020 (the Engineer's Law) requires that anyone engaged in the practice of performing engineering work, must be licensed by the state to practice as such. No exceptions follow this requirement.
  2. ORS 671.030 (the Architect's Law) requires that anyone engaged in the practice of performing architecture work, must be licensed by the state to practice as such. However, the practice of performing design work for the following structures are exempt from licensing requirements:
    1. Any occupancy building or structure with a ground area of 4,000 square feet or less and not more than 20 feet in height (see the statutory description of how to measure height); and
    2. Any single-family dwelling or farm building, and their accessory structures, such as sheds, garages, barns, etc., regardless of size.
  3. Staff has spoken about this issue with Ed Graham, P.L.S., Administrator of the Board of Examiners for Engineering & Land Surveyors, and also with Gil Bellamy, Administrator of the Board of Architect Examiners. Their conclusion is that the exceptions in the Architect's Law governs over all engineering, architecture, and design work.
  4. OSSC Section 106.3.2 generally requires that for all structures, plans, computations and specifications must be prepared by an engineer or architect licensed by the state to practice as such. Several specific exceptions follow that provision. However, the building official may still require a person to be licensed by Oregon to practice engineering or architecture, when the work is of a highly technical nature or there is unreasonable potential loss of life and/or safety of the structure. For further clarification see the November/December 1995 Code Link article, titled Interpretive Rulings Define Log Home Requirements, that discusses design professional requirements.
  5. In summary, the Architect's Law exempts certain structures from being designed by a person licensed by the state to practice engineering or architecture. However, when the work is of a highly technical nature or there is unreasonable potential loss of life and/or safety of the structure, the OSSC allows the building official to require such structures to be designed by a person licensed by the state.
  6. In conclusion, if the jurisdiction with authority to enforce the code determines that due to the Architect's Law or due to the hazardousness or complexity of the work, a licensed engineer or architect is NOT required to stamp the drawings, then design computations can be submitted for approval by anyone, including an engineer or architect licensed in a different state. See the table below.
Type of Work Engineer or Architect licensed in Oregon required to do design work Anyone, including engineer or architect licensed in a different state, allowed to do design work
Any occupancy building that has a ground area of 4,000 SF or less and is 20 feet high or less   X
Any single family dwelling   X
Any farm agricultural building   X
Any accessory building to a single family dwelling or farm agricultural building   X
Any structure determined by the building official as highly technical or highly hazardous X  
Any structure other than those listed above X