by Mike Grossman, P. Eng.
History Of The Seal
The Professional Engineer Stamp is super cool, and they have been around for a long time. I purchased one soon after passing my exam and wish I used it more.
They date back as far as 300 AD, and were utilized in Asian, Middle East, and Greece-Roman civilizations.
In Western tradition, one would soften a stick of sealing wax (3 parts bees wax and one part resign) and apply a small amount to a document of significance. Then a ring with your family, educational or political seal would be depressed into the wax on the document. The result .... a cool seal.
In the 7th to 9th centuries only the highest political and religious leaders utilized seals. Gradually the practice moved down to lower dignitaries and corporate bodies.
Regardless, the seal was a way to authenticate a document, a way of expressing importance.
Engineering Authentication And Your Association
A stamp or seal is issued to an individual who is qualified to practice engineering. Regardless, the stamp is not a warranty or a guarantee of accuracy. The engineering stamp shows that a licensed professional has accepted responsibility for the authenticated document.
An authenticated document does not necessarily mean the identified engineer performed the work. This work may have been performed under the care and control of that professional.
In addition a licensed member may seal a document, not prepared until his or her control. However, the professional must perform a thorough and detailed review of the work.
Three serious infractions are considered a breach of the code of ethics or morals:
In Canada the seal remains the property of the Association and must be in the care and control of the engineer at all times.
What To Stamp
Its your guess on the following examples ...
Digital Seals & Electronic Signatures
Digital documents have the same requirements as hard copy documents. The digital document to be issued for use, must include an image of the seal, the members signature and a method of showing the date of signature.
Most Associations in Canada can issue their members a trusted digital signature tool that accomplishes these requirements.
An easy method of accomplishing the same task is to send a PDF of the document that you have manually stamped, signed and dated. It is only when the client requires the original stamped document that the digital signature must be utilized.
Wrap It Up
My goal with this document was to provide some education amongst humor. I hope this clears up the appropriate use of your Professional Engineer Stamp as it is too seldom used outside of the manufacturing industry.