A consulting engineer is typically licensed to practice engineering by the state or commonwealth.
Title VIII of the New York State Education Law, Article 145 describes professional engineering as follows:
The practice of the profession of engineering is defined as performing professional services such as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, design or supervision of construction or operation in connection with any utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, works, or projects wherein the safeguarding of life, health and property is concerned, when such service or work requires the application of engineering principles and data.
Only a person licensed or otherwise authorized under this article shall practice engineering or use the title 'professional engineer'...." A "person licensed" is an individual that has qualified by education, experience and examination and has been issued a New York State professional engineering license by the State Education Department.
1. Every professional engineer and every land surveyor shall have a seal, approved by the board, which shall contain the name of the professional engineer and the words "Licensed Professional Engineer" or the name of the land surveyor and the words "Licensed Land Surveyor" and such other words or figures as the board may deem necessary. All plans, specifications, plats and reports relating to the construction or alteration of buildings or structures prepared by such professional engineer and all plans, specifications, plats and reports prepared by such land surveyor or by a full-time or part-time subordinate under his supervision, shall be stamped with such seal and shall also be signed, on the original with the personal signature of such professional engineer or land surveyor when filed with public officials. No official of this state, or of any city, county, town or village therein, charged with the enforcement of laws, ordinances or regulations shall accept or approve any plans or specifications that are not stamped:a) With the seal of an architect or professional engineer or land surveyor licensed in this state and bearing the authorized facsimile of the signature of such architect or professional engineer or land surveyor,
Building permits are required according to the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code as follows:
a) No person, firm, corporation, association or other organization shall commence the erection, construction, enlargement, alteration, improvement, removal or demolition of any building or structure, except an agricultural building or structure, nor install heating equipment, without having applied for and obtained a permit from the Department of State. No permit shall be required for the performance of necessary repairs which do not involve material alteration of structural features, and/or plumbing, electrical or heating/ventilation systems, including, for example, the replacement of siding and roofing materials, nor for the erection of fences, nor for the construction of noncommercial storage facilities of less than 140 square feet of gross floor area. Such work shall nevertheless be done in compliance with the Uniform Code.
Sections 7307 and 7209 of the New York State Education Law require that plans be sealed by a New York State Licensed Professional Engineer or Registered Architect unless the plans are for a residential building less that 1500 SF or are for an addition or alteration totaling less that $20,000 that does not affect structural or public safety.
Occasionally, we are asked to seal drawings prepared by others. We actively solicit this work, however, some clients are surprised with the detail of our review. We not only feel an in-depth review is a professional obligation, it is required by the New York State Education Department's Rules for Professional Conduct:
Section 29.3 (a)(3)
(3) Certifying by affixing the licensee's signature and seal to documents for which the professional services have not been performed by, or thoroughly reviewed by, the licensee; or failing to prepare and retain a written evaluation of the professional services represented by such documents in accordance with the following requirements:(i) A licensee who signs and seals documents not prepared by the licensee or by an employee under the licensee's direct supervision shall prepare, and retain for a period of not less than six years, a thorough written evaluation of the professional services represented by the documents, including but not limited to drawings, specifications, reports, design calculations and references to applicable codes and standards. Such written evaluation shall clearly identify the project and the documents to which it relates, the sources of the documents and the name of the person or organization for which the written evaluation was conducted, and the date of the evaluation, and the seal and signature of the licensee shall also be affixed thereto.