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Back to Basics: Professional Certification—Pros and Cons

Professional certification allows licensed architects and engineers to certify their own work, rather than having a New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) plan examiner review their drawings for conformity and accuracy.

Applicants must state in an affidavit that they have reviewed the plans and that the work “conforms to the zoning resolution, building code, and all other applicable laws, rules, and regulations.”

Benefits of Professional Certification

With no examiner to review the plans, permits can be pulled immediately after plan approval. If all appropriate paperwork, plans and payment are in order, professionals can start swinging hammers right away.

Sounds great, right? It certainly eases the administrative burden on the city and allows projects to avoid delays for review. As professional expediters, we like things that speed up processes. These are the pros.

Dangers of Professional Certification

And yet, not all applications are self-certified. Many architects and engineers prefer to go the standard plan examination route. Why?

The major con of professional certification is this: if the project is audited (around 20% are) and the architect’s or engineer’s work is found to be out of compliance, that person risks losing self-certification privileges. More serious transgressions can result in the revocation of the certifying architect’s or engineer’s license. For professionals who have built their lives and businesses around their reputations and licenses, that is a serious matter.

Bottom Line

The main advantage of self-certifying? Speed. Get those permits and get working.

The main disadvantage? Liability.

If you’re going to self-certify, make sure you hire an experienced expeditor to take a look at those plans beforehand. We humbly suggest ourselves.

For any additional questions or comments on professional certification, please contact Milrose Consultants.

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