The stamping and submission of architectural drawings constitutes the practice of architecture, which with some exceptions requires registration with the Washington State Board of Architecture.
The legislature has amended RCW 18.08.410 to remove a formerly-applicable exception under which engineers could stamp architectural drawings. This legislative change revises the conclusion we reached in AGO 1990 No. 9, which we overrule to that limited extent.
Washington law provides no bright line rule for distinguishing between design documents that must be completed by an architect and those that must be completed by an engineer. In general, design work falls within an engineer’s scope of practice when it requires “engineering education, training, and experience and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences,” and design work falls within an architect’s scope of practice when it requires “architectural education, training, and experience, in connection with the art and science of building design[.]” It is primarily up to local building officials to determine which types of documents are required or sufficient as part of the local jurisdiction’s building permit processes.
If design work falls within an engineer’s scope of practice, such work does not require an exemption from the practice of architecture to be lawful, even if the work would simultaneously fall within an architect’s scope of practice.