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Engineers Practice Act reverts to 2016 standard

The construction industry will encounter a lot less paperwork and spend considerably less time and money, thanks to a change in state law.

In March, Gov. Henry McMaster signed H3649, which clarifies in the Engineers Practice Act when construction documents must be stamped with an engineer’s seal. When required by building codes or law, sealed documents assure construction customers and building officials a building is engineered and designed appropriately.

The effect: The law regarding nonresidential structures as it existed before 2016 has been restored and is effective immediately. Municipal and county building officials should return to requiring engineer stamps for nonresidential structures as they did before 2016.

H3649 reverses the changes that were made to the Engineers Practice Act in 2016, which had caused confusion among building officials and the construction industry. This confusion led to building officials sometimes requiring sealed documents unnecessarily.

The unneeded step often added red tape to a project, hindering its progress and pushing back its completion date, according to Rep. Heather Crawford, R –Myrtle Beach, the law’s primary sponsor.

“This is a big win for building officials and the construction industry because clarity has been restored on when to require stamps,” said Buddy Skinner, building official for the City of Greenville and president of the Building Officials Association of SC.

The amended law, South Carolina Code of Laws Section 40-22-280(B)(2) now reads:

buildings and structures less than three stories high and less than five thousand square feet in area, except that buildings and structures classified as assembly, educational, high hazard, institutional, or uses as defined by the International Code Series, as adopted by the State of South Carolina, regardless of size or area, are not exempt from the provisions of this chapter.