Digital Sign and Seal: Everything you need to know
It’s undeniable that Covid-19 has changed our world in numerous ways, and impacted industries across the globe. Virtual meetings became a thing of the norm, in order to follow new social distancing rules. To help ensure the safety of employees, new ways of life and business were created out of necessity. Some of which, will most likely continue in practice regardless of social distancing rules. Mainly due to the convenience and efficiency they’ve proved to provide. For the construction world, one of these tools created from necessity throughout the Covid is: The Digital Sign and Seal!
What is it?! Digital Sign and Seal Explained
Digital SignatureThe “Digital Sign” of the term “Sign and Seal”, is the shortening of digital signature. A digital signature is a technique based on mathematics, used to confirm the authenticity of a digital document. It is basically the signature one would provide handwritten on paper, or when signing for a credit card is validated and used for a digital document. Furthermore, it provides the increased necessary security digital networks and communications have required overtime. They are legally binding just as a handwritten signature would be on a contract. An e-signature can range from being as simple as a name typed into an electronic document; to effectively complex and effectuated through a cryptographic digital security mechanism.
Digital SealNow that we’ve covered the “Digital Sign/Signature” end of the deal- Whats the seal?! Is there a difference between a digital signature and a digital seal? The answer is yes! There is a difference; but quite the small one! A digital seal is specifically associated with a legal person or entity; whereas, an electronic signature can be associated with both a natural person or a legal person or entity. “The signing key must be under the sole control of the signatory and the seal key must be under control of the process creating the seal.”
Digital Sign and Seal and the Construction IndustryWhen social-distancing rules were put in place, due to the Coronavirus our building department at Eastern Engineering Group was immediately impacted; along with companies across the globe. When new measures needed to be put into place in order to comply with social distancing, the sign and seal was born in our world! Engineers, architects, and everyone certified that is working on a project, needs to sign and seal the plans they work on. In doing so, they can confirm and verify that they have reviewed the work, and approve it; therefore becoming liable for it. In the city of Miami, a new electronic plan review system has been introduced (e-Plan). The system states “your architect, contractor, etc. will have to digitally sign and “seal” your drawings and/or documents.” Follow the link provided for detailed instructions on exactly HOW to digitally sign and seal a drawing and/or document, according to Miami’s new electronic plan review system (ePlan): https://www.miamigov.com/Permits-Construction/All-things-ePlan/Digitally-Sign-Seal-Documents As noted on the link, “All licensed professionals will be responsible for verifying that the digital signatures purchased adhere to the requirements of the State of Florida and are utilized in accordance with the guidelines of their respective licensing boards.”
Benefits of Digital Signatures
- Ease and convenience of being able to sign documents from virtually any location you have access to the internet.
- Time efficient; being able to send documents back and forth within seconds.
- Provides increased security to avoid tampering and impersonation over digital communications
- Digital Signatures are globally accepted and legally compliant allowing for unlimited business potential
- The “power of going paperless” helps provide a positive environmental impact and reduces physical waste
- Assists with record keeping providing a clear flow of information between parties as well as keeping track of an abundance of information
An Adopted New Way of LifeThe digital sign and seal has now become a part of our everyday business. It has provided increased efficiency, especially concerning the speed of authenticating documents between parties in order to move projects along faster. The ability to sign documents and approve projects from virtually anywhere is also an incredibly helpful tool for moving business along seamlessly. All in all, it has been a favorable new adopted way of life for us. Increasing efficiency, saving time, and streamlining communications between parties approving projects from anywhere anytime. Long live the Digital Sign and Seal!