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What Architects Need to Know about West Virginia Architectural Stamps and Seals

When someone decides to become an architect, it comes along with a responsibility to not only the occupants of the proposed dwelling, but to all of the public in that community as well. Buildings and other structures can protect its occupants from numerous harsh weather conditions when designed and constructed properly. However, it is vital that not only national but state specific guidelines be adhered to for this to happen. If these guidelines or ignored, or rules broken the results can be devastating.

In West Virginia, the West Virginia Board of Architects sets forth rules as interpretations of the West Virginia State Codes as it applies to architects. Specifically, West Virginia Code 30-12-1, 30-12-3 and 30-1-7a. One of the most important ways to insure the integrity of a design or plan for a structure is the West Virginia architectural stamps and seals.

West Virginia Architectural Stamps and Seals Particulars

The actual West Virginia architectural stamps and seals must adhere to guidelines set forth by the West Virginia Board of Architects based upon the associated state laws governing these professionals.

The following are requirements of the West Virginia Stamps and Seals:

  • Embossing seal required
  • Rubber stamp customary
  • Size of stamp generally to be 1-5/8” in diameter
  • Must have “State of West Virginia” on stamp
  • Must have “Registered Architect” on stamp (essential to contain “Registered”)
  • Name of licensed architect
  • License number of architect (with “No.” preceding license number)
  • Electronic seals are permitted

In addition to the above, the seal must be accompanied by a signature and in some cases a date. The signature and date (both required on the index pages) must be handwritten and original, not electronic. Accompanying the seal specifications are the following disclaimers that are permitted to go with West Virginia architectural stamps and seals:

  • Preliminary – Do Not Use for Construction
  • Progress Drawings – Do Not Use for Construction
  • Final Drawing – For Review Purposes Only

Having official West Virginia architectural stamps and seals is the first step in being sure the integrity of a building or structure, as well as the architect’s design, are following safety protocols.

Understanding What Documents Require West Virginia Architectural Stamps and Seal

In West Virginia, certain documents are required to carry an affixed official West Virginia architectural stamp and seal. There are other documents that do not require it.

Documents Requiring West Virginia’s Architectural Stamps and Seals:

  • Any plans or designs prepared for bidding, permitting or construction of a structure
  • Any specifications for bidding, permitting or construction of a structure
  • All changes, technical submissions, and drawings
  • Addenda and field changes to documents
  • “Record drawings (as builts)”

Documents not requiring West Virginia architectural stamps and seals include items such as presentation documents or plans that are only communicating the initial stages of an idea for an architectural plan.

The licensed West Virginia architect in possession of official West Virginia architectural stamps and seals must follow guidelines for affixing his or her seal to documents. The stamps and seals are to be used for designs and plans that he or she has created themselves. Additionally, the West Virginia architectural stamps and seals can be used by the architect to seal any work produced by someone under the direct supervision of the registered architect. The registered architect may use the stamp and seal for anyone working with the architect or the architectural firm after a thorough review of the designs and documents.

Finally, the registered architect is required to display their certificate of registration from the state of West Virginia prominently in his or her place of business. Adhering to these guidelines insures the life, health, property, and public welfare of the citizens of the West Virginia.

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