Frequently Asked Questions


If you have further questions or need clarification concerning the topics discussed here, please consult the Contact Us page.

LICENSING/PRACTICE ISSUES

  1. When is a temporary permit available?
  2. A temporary permit is now available to both architects and professional engineers. This allows an individual (not an organization) licensed in another U.S. jurisdiction to obtain a one-time use permit to practice in the state for a single project lasting up to one year. Outside of these restrictions, the individual must obtain licensure in Nebraska.

  3. Can a temporary permit be used for an organization to obtain a Certificate of Authorization?
  4. No, an organization must have a licensed architect or professional engineer in the state of Nebraska in order to apply for authorization for its organization to practice in the state.

  5. Does Nebraska allow electronic seals and signatures?
  6. Yes. Electronic seals and signatures are allowed in Nebraska. Refer to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 81-3437 (3)(b) for correct usage.

  7. What is a coordinating professional?
  8. A coordinating professional is a member of the design team who coordinates all of the disciplines needed to complete a project. The seal of the coordinating professional does not designate responsible charge for the architectural or engineering work, but provides a contact for the project. Review Chapter 6 in the Board's rules and regulations for more guidance.

  9. What does it mean that professional engineers are licensed by discipline?
  10. Professional engineers in Nebraska are licensed by discipline of examination. If you have passed the Civil PPE, then you will be licensed as a Professional Civil Engineer, and your seal will be designated as such. Professional engineers may practice outside their discipline if they have the education, training, and experience to do so. If a licensee’s practice is called into question, the individual may be required to provide the Board with evidence that they do indeed have the expertise to practice other disciplines. If a licensee is not competent in an engineering discipline, they are not allowed to practice engineering in that discipline.

  11. How do I know what my discipline of practice is, and do I need to update my seal?
  12. You may check your discipline of practice as a professional engineer with the Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects office or check the Licensee Lookup section of the Board’s website. And yes, all seals must have the specific discipline listed between professional and engineer; i.e., Professional Electrical Engineer.

  13. Do I need an electrical engineer for the design of electrical work?
  14. The E&A Regulation Act requires professional engineers to design electrical installations on all non-exempt projects. Master electricians licensed by the State Electrical Board are authorized to “plan, layout or supervise” the installation of wiring, apparatus, or equipment for projects they are installing.

  15. When is a structural engineer needed on a project?
  16. The Board does not specifically determine the guidelines when a structural engineer is required. It is up to the professionals to practice within their education, training and experience. However, a building code official or client may request the seal of a structural engineer. In that case, the licensee must have a professional structural engineer license.

     

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CONTINUING EDUCATION

  1. How are hours calculated for CEUs? Are they pre-approved and what can I use?
  2. It is up to the professionals to determine if the continuing education event applies to their discipline and if it is truly valuable to the education process. The Board does not pre-approve any form of continuing education. Architects are required to earn 24 hours with 16 dedicated to health, safety, and welfare (HSW) and professional engineers are required to earn 30 hours. These are biennial hours (required over a two-year period) and documentation must be maintained.

  3. What are my requirements for continuing education if I want to reinstate my license?
  4. You must bring the continuing education requirement up to date for the last two-year period. This material must be submitted with the application and fees.

  5. Can I carry over any of my continuing education hours?
  6. You can carry over any excess that you previously did not use, up to one-half of the previous biennial requirement.

  7. Can I fulfill CE requirements through internet-based programs? Can I self-report hours?
  8. Yes. You can gain credit through Internet-based continuing education programs; however, the board only counts "actual" hours. One actual hour of learning means at least 50 minutes spent in verifiable educational pursuit. The Internet-based program must provide documentation of those hours.

    Yes. You can also report "self-designed activities" for up to one-quarter of the total requirement.

    More detailed information on continuing education is available by clicking here.

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THE LICENSEE SEAL

  1. Can you please provide me with the specifications and design requirements for the Nebraska Professional Engineer's stamp? I understand it must provide the words "Professional [Discipline] Engineer" and the name and license number; however, I would appreciate receiving a drawing indicating the required design and/or dimensions.
  2. Architects or professional engineers licensed in Nebraska receive a seal letter when initially licensed that shows the approved design of the stamps, along with the statutory requirements pertaining to the correct use of the seal. Any stamp secured by the licensee, whether embossed, an ink stamp, or electronically rendered, needs to look exactly like the example contained in that seal letter. The size of the seal should be 1-1/2" minimum diameter, 1-3/4" maximum.

    License seal usage and requirements are explained in further detail in the September 2009 issue of The Nebraska Professional.

  3. Our office is responsible for a non-exempt project that requires design materials be submitted by a Professional Engineer licensed in the state of Nebraska.

    After reviewing an applicant submittal, it was found that the engineer who did the initial drawings for the project has since left the company. Another individual is in the process of obtaining reciprocity from Nebraska. Can the 'new' engineer stamp drawings and revisions completed by the engineer who left the company? In general, how should one handle changes or revisions to plans when an engineer leaves a company or retires?
  4. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 81-3450 and 81-3454 says architects and professional engineers shall not affix their seal or signature to documents developed by others not under their direct supervision.

    When a licensee leaves a project and another successor licensee takes over responsible charge of the work, as a general rule it should be clear which licensee is responsible for their portion of the work. The following is recommended:

    The successor licensee should prepare a letter to accompany the project documents, explaining his/her relationship to the project and establishing a date as to when the new licensee assumed responsibility for its design. The original documents should remain sealed by the original licensee; removing the signature or seal of the initial licensee is not allowed. If additions or revisions are made to the initial licensee’s documents, they should be clearly attributed to the new licensee by clouding, shading, numerically listing, or other means, the additions or revisions made to the original plans. The successor licensee then signs and seals the documents in accordance with the E&A Act.

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EXEMPTIONS

  1. Why did the Board reduce the square footage requirements for exempted projects on some structures, but not others?
  2. Exemption requirements (defining buildings that can be planned and designed by persons who are not licensed architects or professional engineers) remain the same. However, the size limit is now based on square footage and described in a matrix in E&A Act, Rule Section 10.3. During negotiated rulemaking, each building type square footage was calculated for the maximum 20-person occupancy and that number was set in the matrix. For example, a church is an 'Assembly' occupancy by definition in the state building code. Assembly occupancies require 50 square feet per occupant; multiply that by 20 occupants and you get a building size of 1,000 square feet. The statutory exemption level of Assembly is now defined as "Less than 1,000 square feet." The previous 20-person occupancy rule has been removed for clarification.

  3. Why did the Board double the square footage requirements for single-family through 4-plex dwellings?
  4. Previously, a detached single-family through four-family dwelling of less than 5,000 s.f. of above-grade finished space was exempt from the E&A Act. The formula for determining above-grade finished space was very complicated. Negotiated rulemaking clarified this by including all potentially-habitable space (thus including basements) in the total area, but doubled the area. The exemption matrix now reads that residential structures less than 10,000 sq. ft. are exempt.

  5. What is the Nebraska state building code?
  6. Nebraska Revised Statute § 71-6403 created the state building code and references the International Building Code (IBC), International Residential Code (IRC), and International Existing Building Code, 2009 editions.

  7. How do you calculate the square footage of a structure?
  8. The square footage is defined using the "building area" definition in the state building code.

  9. Can a residence be renovated without an architect and/or professional engineer?
  10. That depends. A single-family or two-family dwelling which does not exceed three stories is exempt only if it meets all three items in the 3-rule test: 1) the area being renovated is less than the matrix limits, 2) the construction does not adversely impact a mechanical or electrical system, structural integrity, or means of egress of any part of the structure, 3) does not change or conflict with the occupancy classification of the existing or adjacent space. Dwelling units housing more than two families are subject to different requirements.

  11. Can an existing commericial structure be renovated or expanded and be exempt?
  12. That depends. The renovation or one-level addition is exempt only if it meets all three items in the 3-rule test (see above). If the structure exceeds 30 feet in height, or exceeds table 503, Type V, column B in the state building code, it is not exempt.

  13. What is "above-grade finished space?"
  14. On a single-family through four-family dwelling, this includes all enclosed, potentially-habitable space on any level, up to a maximum of three levels.

  15. What does "adversely impact" mean?
  16. Adversely impact pertains to any renovations, alterations, or additions to a structure’s mechanical, electrical, or structural system or means of egress. Adverse, by definition, is interpreted to mean “contrary to the public’s interest or welfare; harmful or unfavorable.” This may include, but is not limited to, the removal/ replacement of a furnace that would require new duct work; the installation of bathrooms that tie into the existing plumbing system; the installation of new breakers in an electrical panel; moving, adding, or removing doors and/or walls that may impact the means of egress.

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STREET ADDRESS - 215 Centennial Mall South, Ste. 400, Lincoln, NE 68508
MAILING ADDRESS - P.O. Box 95165, Lincoln, NE 68509-5165
Phone: 402.471.2021
Fax: 402.471.0787