Board Rules §137.33 and §137.77 have been changed to require that all engineering documents released, issued, or submitted by or for a registered engineering firm, including preliminary documents, must clearly indicate the engineering firm name and registration number. It is both the responsibility of the PE that signs and seals a document and the firm that releases the document to verify that the firm name and number appear on the engineering work. You can see the full text of the rules here: Law & Rules. (Specifically §137.33(n) & §137.77(h))
This change is just the logical progression of rules that are already in place. Board Rule §137.33 requires that PE's sign and seal engineering work. Board Rule §137.77 requires that any firm offering engineering services to the public be registered with the Board. Taken together, that means any engineering work released to the public must be signed and sealed by a PE who is working for a registered engineering firm. This includes the PE working alone as a sole practitioner.
The rule changes are to make sure that it is easy for the public to be able to verify that the PE who has sealed the work is doing so legally under a registered firm.
When does the rule go into effect?
The rule was adopted and is in effect as of December 21, 2008. The Board has allowed a grace period for compliance that has expired effective January 1, 2010.
It is simple. You just need to include the engineering firm name and Texas registered firm number somewhere on the design sheet / engineering work.
This can be a formal indication in the title block of a design sheet, it can be stamped on a design sheet or on a report, it can be typed at the bottom of a report, or it could even be written in on a design or report (legibly, of course). It can be as formal as part of your companies CAD specs, or as informal as a rubber stamp. Just make it clear and easy to read. We have provided some examples below.
Do I still have to seal, sign, and date my engineering work?
Yes. All rules regarding sealing, signing, and dating engineering work are still in effect.
Where can I find my firm number?
You can locate your firm number on your yearly renewal certificate for your firm registration. It is in the format F-xxxxx. You can also look up your firm on the roster.
How do I indicate my firm number on the document?
The standard format is to write your firm number as "F-xxxxx", inserting your actual firm number for xxxxx. You can add other language if you wish, such as "Texas Registered Engineering Firm", but you must include the firm number as indicated above. See the examples below.
Which items need the firm name / number?
The general rule would be ‘any item that requires a PE's signature and seal or one of the caveats in the rules also needs the firm name and number'. The new rule changes require that any engineering work that is released, issued, or submitted by a PE also indicate the engineering firm name and number on the work. Preliminary documents are also required to have the firm name and number.
So, design plans, reports – YES. General correspondence and emails – NO, unless the correspondence or email is the ‘engineering work' that your client has engaged you to produce – then it would be engineering work and needs to be signed / sealed and contain the firm name and number.
Do I need to put the firm name / number on preliminary documents?
Yes. Both rule §137.33(n) and rule §137.77(h) specifically mention that preliminary documents must include the engineering firm name and number.
What about business cards / letterhead?
While it would be generally a good idea, the new rule change does not require the firm name / number on business cards or letterhead.
What if I work for a governmental body (state agency, city, etc.)?
Since governmental entities do not have to be registered, they have no registration number; therefore, just list the governmental entity's name on engineering documents issued by that body.
What if there is more than one PE working on the design?
Include all of the firm names and numbers and make it clear which PE goes with which firm.
What if the main contractor has strict standards for the title block and requires that their firm name / title block be on the plans? I'm a sub-contractor, for example.
In that case, just include the name and number of your engineering firm near your seal and signature. It can be dropped in via CAD, a stamp, or written in.
Would a cover sheet with all of the engineering firms (contractor, subcontractors, etc.) and PE's meet the rule requirements?
No. Each engineering sheet needs to indicate which firm was involved in the preparation of the work.
Here are some examples of acceptable seals. Other similar arrangements and content may be acceptable. You must still sign and date your engineering work per Board rules.
Note: The seals shown here are intended to only provide examples of Firm Name/Firm Number identification in relation to an engineer's seal. This does not imply that a new PE seal is required in order to include the firm information.