Engineering, Architecture, Construction

Thousands of engineers and architects digitally sign and seal their plans, specifications and other documents to certify their authenticity and prevent forgery.

 
Electronic Signature for Engineering, Architecture, Construction

Leverage a Fully Digital Process

Engineering, architecture and construction firms use digital processes to create drawings, plans and specifications. Despite their best efforts, many resign themselves to paper when a signature is required, resulting in easily avoidable costs and delays.

Digital signatures allow for a fully digital process that gives stakeholders all of the benefits of a “paperless” approach.

Significant Benefits

Solutions Recognized by Professional Engineering and Architectural Associations

Cities, governments, utilities and private companies are increasingly demanding digitally signed plans to reduce archiving costs and increase efficiency. We are the only provider in North America to comply with the regulatory and legislative requirements of all professional engineering and architectural associations in Canada and the majority of professional engineering and architectural associations in the United States.

Authenticity, Integrity and Long-term Reliability

Our digital signature confirms the signer’s identity and, when required, their professional affiliation, at the exact time of signing. Thereafter, it also ensures that the signed document has not been modified or altered. Using the digital signature in combination with the advanced features of our ConsignO Desktop PDF reader results in authentic, PDF/A-compliant documents that can be read and validated decades from now.

PDF/A-3 conformity allows you to attach files in any format, such as the source files of your plans or spreadsheets, whose integrity is also protected by the digital signature.

Increased Productivity

Our digital signature for professionals and our electronic signature tools give you tangible benefits:

  • Sign dozens of documents in seconds thanks to batch signing.
  • Ensure the longevity of hundreds of documents in just a few clicks with batch conversion to the PDF/A standard.
  • Have your documents prepared for signing by a collaborator.

Reduced Costs and Environmental Impacts

  • Reduced document printing and handling costs
  • Elimination of shipping costs
  • Minimal archiving costs
  • Reduced environmental footprint

A Government Corporation Saving Time and Money

Discover how a Crown corporation supplying hydroelectricity and natural gas to a Canadian province overcame the daunting challenges of signing and approving tens of thousands of plans every year.

 

Solutions Adapted to Your Needs

Digital signatures for individuals Digital signatures for companies Electronic signature tools Document validation tools

Digitally sign your documents in respect of your regulatory framework or your company’s requirements.

  • Online identity verification
  • Increased productivity
  • Conformity to your regulatory framework
  • Guaranteed security and reliability
  • Reduced costs
  • Smaller environmental footprint

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Digitally sign your PDF documents on behalf of your department or company.

  • Guaranteed security and reliability, Conformity to your regulatory framework, Increased productivity.

Two options:

    • Signature affixed by an individual (generally using ConsignO or Adobe products)
Signature for departments
    • Signature automatically affixed by your systems (usually for large volumes of documents)Signature for organisations

Digitally prepare and sign your documents

Our range of tools makes your document preparation and signing process quick and efficient. With our easy-to-use solutions, you’ll achieve tangible gains in efficiency.

  • Guaranteed compliance
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced costs
  • Fully digital process
  • Smaller environmental footprint

Verify the reliability of your documents

Verify a signer’s identity, as well as the integrity, authenticity and longevity of both your electronic PDF documents and printed documents.

  • Increased productivity
  • Identity validation
  • Secure processes
 
Questions & Answers

What is the legal value of my signed document once it is printed?

Regardless of the medium, what is most important is the preservation of information. In Quebec, according to An Act to Establish a Legal Framework for Information Technology, RSQ, c C-1.1, to argue in evidence, it must be shown that the integrity of the information has been maintained throughout its life cycle. In other words, the content of the printed version must remain identical to its original, digitally signed, electronic version to maintain its legal validity. Conversely, the same principle can be applied, for example, to the original paper version that is digitized and sent by email. The whole of the information must be preserved and we must ensure that it has not been falsified or altered by using protective measures such as a digital signature, an electronic seal, time stamping, etc. Such measures assure that any changes made to the document can be traced.

Why do professional associations choose to issue digital signatures to their members?

Controlling the use of seals and protecting the public is an integral part of an association’s responsibilities. In paper form, this is accomplished by placing a seal that embeds the name, member number and designation as a member and is made official by hand-signing and dating the document. But how can associations securely seal official documents in a digital world where a seal can easily be replicated and copied from one document to another? Associations that offer digital signatures choose to control use of seals in a digital world to ensure that only members in good standing can sign official documents. It also allows clients and government agencies to instantly verify that the document has been signed by a professional with the authority to do so.

Are Notarius digital signatures recognized worldwide?

Notarius digital signatures are used to sign official documents and meet the standards of many countries. However, each jurisdiction may have specific requirements that must be met in order to be recognized. For example, in France, many agencies will only recognize French certificate authorities. In the United States, requirements for authenticating engineering documents will mostly be limited to a technological baseline, but not specific to a provider or a standard. As such, Notarius digital signatures meet or exceed the minimum requirements for all US states (except Hawaii). It is important to verify local digital signature requirements with recipients prior to submitting signed documents that use Notarius digital signatures.

Of course, other considerations need to be evaluated before making a digital shift. Please feel free to reach out to Notarius for a working session on the subject for further discussion

How are digital signatures secure? Can they be hacked?

Digital signatures are based on cryptography that was originally designed in the 1970s and is still considered the standard to secure different types of data. Digital signatures and their cryptographic derivatives are used in our daily lives to secure websites, communications, documents and financial transactions. If digital signatures were “hacked,” the first case of attack would likely be in the financial, military or government sector. An individual’s signed PDF document would be the least of a signer’s worries.

Why are Notarius digital signatures trusted and recognized by government agencies?

Not all digital signatures are issued and controlled in the same manner. Governments tend to limit the number of certificate authorities they will recognize or authorize. Strict guidelines are established and audited to ensure that the approved digital signature certificate authority has the proper technology, security, policy and process in place to guarantee the identity of all digital signatures issued. Notarius was created in the 1990s by Quebec’s Chambre des notaires (Board of Notaries) to build a government-grade certificate authority recognized by the Government of Quebec’s electronic land titles registry. Even today, very few third-party certificate authorities are authorized to issue trusted digital signatures for interaction with government agencies. Notarius is the only third-party certificate authority recognized by multiple provincial governments in Canada.

What is the difference between your digital signature service and the image of my seal?

The image of your seal is what is called an “electronic signature.” It is the visual representation of your identity; however, the legal reliability of this type of signature is very limited. A digital signature, on the other hand, is an electronic locking mechanism that protects your original PDF. The only way to modify the original content is to break this protective mechanism. However, once this mechanism has been broken, the modified copy is simply an altered copy since the original document must conserve this cryptographic protection in order to be considered as the original.

What happens when I print an “original” PDF copy?

The printed version is a copy— nothing more, nothing less. You can produce one or two original copies of the electronic document and make multiple subsequent copies of it. It is the same as scanning a paper document into PDF format: the PDF is simply a copy. The ability to produce an original document and make copies is what is essential. A digital signature allows you to produce an original document in electronic format.