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  • Frank Gucciardo

Understanding and Addressing Stop Work Orders in Construction




What is a Stop Work Order?

Definition and Authority Issuing the Order

A stop work order is a directive issued by the Town or the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) that requires the immediate pause of all construction or development activities on a specific project.


All construction activities must immediately halt when a stop work order is issued.   Violating a stop work order can result in penalties, fines, or other legal consequences.


The Role of Professionals in Lifting Stop Work Orders

Architects and Engineers' Responsibilities

Architects and Engineers are crucial in addressing the issues leading to the stop work order.  Both Architects and Engineers are licensed and registered by the New York State Education Department Office of the Professions and are the only professionals who can provide the legal avenue for a project to resume in compliance with regulations and safety standards.


Legal Framework for Architectural Services

New York State Regulations

As per the NY State Education Department, Office of the Professionals, “the only person who may use the title “Architect” and provide Architectural Services is an individual licensed and registered by the New York State Education Department.”


“Architectural services may be provided by a sole practitioner, a professional service corporation (PC), a professional service limited liability company (PLLC), a registered limited liability partnership (LLP), or a professional partnership (all partners must be licensed).”

“With few exceptions, no other types of businesses may offer architectural services”[1]  (N.Y. Educ. Law § 7302)


Compliance and Legal Obligations in Construction

“New York State laws require that all plans, drawings, and specifications relating to the construction or alteration of buildings or structures which must be filed with a building code official must be stamped with the seal of an architect or professional engineer (N.Y. Educ. Law § 7307 and Title 19 NYCRR Part 1203.3(a)(3)(1)).[2]


Importance of Professional Endorsement

It is illegal to tell a customer you will get an architect to do the design if you are an unlicensed designer.  This means people cannot advertise or call themselves by such titles as architectural draftsman or the like.  The practice of having construction documents "legitimized" with the seal of a licensed professional after an unlicensed individual has prepared them is illegal.[3]


The Impact of Stop Work Orders on Projects

Avoiding Delays and Financial Loss

A stop work order equates to the loss of both time and money on a project.  Ensure that a licensed architect is the owner of the firm that you hire to assist you in having the stop work order lifted. 


Call PKAD Architecture and Design today at (631) 828 – 8040 or click here, and we’ll contact you.  We have a rapid response division to assist in lifting work orders and will have staff at your property in 3 business days or less to get you moving again at fair, transparent pricing.


[2] AIA New York State 2010, Architecture: What's Legal, What's Not

[3] AIA New York State 2010, Architecture: What's Legal, What's Not

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