Signed, Sealed and Delivered: SC says only architects can sign architectural documents

In a historic and monumental decision, the Supreme Court affirmed the rights of architects to sign and seal architectural documents. 

The decision came out last March 15, 2023 but made public only recently.

It puts to rest the issue on whether civil engineers can also practice signing and sealing architectural documents aside from architects.

In a long running court case which has spanned more than 18 years, the architects were finally vindicated on their stance that only the right professionals can practice the right profession. Thus, architecture is for architects as engineering is for engineers. 

Several years ago after World War II, the Philippines was in a devastated state and rehabilitation needed to happen. 

During that time there were only a few architects in the land thereby the nation called on all able technical professionals including civil engineers to help in the restoration and rehabilitation of this fragile democracy in nation building. 

Both architects and engineers were allowed to design and build structures to speed up recovery. However in the early 2000s when the number of architects grew and they were able to step up and help in nation building, Congress saw fit that the Architecture Law of 2004 be enacted to put the architecture profession in its rightful place and to address the illegal practice of signing and sealing of  architectural plans and designs and architectural documents by other technical professionals.

Even the National Building Code, first enacted in 1977 and later on upgraded, recognizes the role of architects separately. The Professional Regulation Commission also delineates and regulates the work of each technical professional. 

The crafting of laws by legislature should be respected and the decision of the Supreme Court must be accepted as the nation moves forward. 

Encroaching on other professionals’ work creates uncertainty. While the Supreme Court decision removes some work from other technical professionals, it corrects a wrong.  Healing will be attained and the progress of a nation will move faster.