Like the good worker bee that i am I was working on an interior project for a mercantile project and a mech. shaft closure detail and over heard about a former teacher of mine is running an illegal practice. I'm not saying any names or anything,but it sounds like he is in HOT water with the local architect's and their having a meeting with code officials about the issue. The issue came up because he was called out on his "stamped" drawings and was so to speak (because they was signed and sealed by someone else when he was called out he said it was his partners' seal.....didn't work out so well).


So what do the people here on archinect think about these unlicensed professionals running successful architecture practices? How would you handle this situation if you were losing work to someone who isn't licensed?

Nov 26, 13 2:24 pm
Non Sequitur

Throw the book at him, complete with license suspension and a hefty fine. Make his name public so that future clients stay away. Also, add court fees on top.

At least that's how my board handles unlicensed practices.

Nov 26, 13 2:35 pm

la guillotina !

Nov 26, 13 2:42 pm

really non sequitur?  it's not just a sternly worded letter, politely asking him to stop representing himself as an architect?

can't take the license away from someone without a license.

Nov 26, 13 3:50 pm
Non Sequitur

Curt, where I practice (Ontario, Canada) you need both a license and certificate of practice to practice architecture on your own and stamp drawings for permit. If a licensed architect without a certificate is caught, more often than not, the license is suspended (one month usually for first offence) and a fee along with full disclosure to the public on the board's website.

I think they also force the person to retake the intern-level professional practice course before certificate is reissued. I read the court cases every once in a while.

Nov 26, 13 4:16 pm

Big difference between calling yourself an architect at a cocktail party and stealing someone's stamp.

The one I see most often is an unlicensed person using questionable language on their website. Some states (Texas) take this very seriously. Many others do not have the resources to punish these low level offenders.

What grinds my gears is when an unlicensed person pulls the crap that Anna klingmann is-a website calling herself an architect-and then advertising for free labor. When she does not hold a license in NY where she is based.

Nov 26, 13 5:49 pm

This guy sounds ready to teach Pro Practice!

Nov 26, 13 6:55 pm

Here we go again...

Nov 27, 13 2:23 am

You are an architect if you produce architecture.  The state is irrelevant.  

Nov 27, 13 2:29 am

where does that come from jla-x?  where i live, the state has a board of technical professions that bestows the title of 'architect' on people who meet their requirements.  if you're not registered as an architect with the board of technical professions, you're not an architect, and there are laws that govern a person's right to advertise services of an architect without having that registration with the state.

Nov 27, 13 7:54 am
Non Sequitur

jla-x, an architect is licensed, anyone else is a designer. Just because you can't complete licensing does not mean everyone else's professional credentials are annulled.

Nov 27, 13 8:10 am

Who cares if the guy is licensed or not...unlicensed "designers" are always going to get and complete work, that is just a reality.  

Some of these people will get into hot water with their local architects board, if they ever use the term architect or any variation on drawings or promotional materials; website, business cards, etc. 

unfortunately, the chances of getting caught are slim to none unless somebody rats them out which oftentimes is a disgruntled client or contractor.  Even if they do get caught it is usually just a minimal fee to pay, which means they are just going to do it again.

And as we all know, the term architect is one of the most bastardized professional titles around, but sounds awesome if you are janitor and you call your self a custodial architect.

People get what they pay for and I believe that a majority of these unlicensed designers holding themselves out as architects are hacks and ending up costing clients more money in the long run by not knowing what the fuck they are doing.  

It is the AIA and architecture board jobs to educate the consumer on these issues, the same way local contractors boards stress the importance of hiring a licensed contractor to complete work....If you just get some low budged hack on craigslist, chances are they are going to run your shit pipe up hill.

Nov 27, 13 8:56 am

Curtram, The word architect and its definition is much older than the states interpretation. 

"a person who designs buildings or ideas" 

The term "registered architect" or a "licensed architect" can be owned, but the term "architect" alone cannot regardless of what the state or the AIA or NCARB says.   

You cant support the idea of free market competition and the idea of professional protectionism.  I do not think that the state has the right to regulate the arts.  Architecture is an art imo.  The science part is covered already by engineers and codes.  The idea of the state being able to regulate any form of art is a violation of free speech.  The concern for public safety is often over exaggerated to justify protectionism.  I am more concerned with the low quality soul sucking resource sucking  shit scape that registered architects are littering the planet with.  

Nov 27, 13 4:39 pm

A license is no substitute for competence. The public safety issue is considerably more complex and goes back at least as far as Hammurabi.

And I'll take issue, as I have in the past, with architecture being an art.

Nov 27, 13 4:55 pm
Non Sequitur

Jla-x, no... seriously, tell us how you really feel.

Did you have a sip from Suri's cup recently?

Nov 27, 13 5:24 pm

Huh. If I left all the technical aspects to my engineers, my buildings would never function correctly. I think if you really think that architecture is just design and that the license is just a piece of paper, you have a lot to learn.

Nov 28, 13 5:21 pm

What i said Didn't come out right.  What I meant was that the most dangerous aspects of the design are already subject to some checks and balances.  Of course the architect is responsible for the technical stuff.  The functionality of the building is very important.  The function is the most important thing imo. Architecture is not art but it is an art and science.  Regardless of who designs the architecture it still must meet the bare minimum safety standards set by the code.  The state license is hurting and not helping architects in several ways.  It is also hurting the overall profession in many ways.  

Nov 29, 13 1:14 am

The Original Post mentioned this came to his attention through gossip? I would try hard to keep out of the mess unless you know people are at risk or a genuine fraud is taking place.  Sounds like people are on it like stink on poo so sit back and let others deal with it stay out of the fray as this is a small profession and you don't want to burn bridges that you may need latter on.

Gossip is toxic don't mess with it if you don't need to.

Peter N

Nov 29, 13 1:07 pm

How is it hurting architects? The process of becoming a registered arch actually helped me be a better arch. I don't think you can judge unless you've been through the process. One can argue that the process is difficult and the rules could be better, but it would be tragic if there was no oversight.

Nov 29, 13 6:36 pm

Found out that BPF Design is in a lawsuit for running an illegal practice.

Jan 17, 14 6:05 pm
boy in a well

good worker bee, huh?

what else are you?

Jan 17, 14 6:34 pm

many things that are not illegal boy in a well

Jan 17, 14 8:34 pm

I guess this was a bad thread, but I keep hearing about it at the office and wanted to vent.

Jan 17, 14 9:10 pm

Their contribution to the built environment will be sorely missed. 

Jan 17, 14 9:14 pm

"Associate AIA"


Jan 17, 14 9:17 pm

They claim to have an arch on staff. Maybe he got grumpy about taking liability but not pay.

Jan 18, 14 1:35 pm
Saint in the City

"Their contribution to the built environment will be sorely missed."

Well played.

Jan 18, 14 2:02 pm

I was thinking about Brian and my former teacher Mr. Peacock and I wondering why couldn't Mr. peacock become Brian's IDP Coordinator and get him thru the IDP? I mean he has work I'm sure and Dallas can sign off on his hours can't he?

Jan 19, 14 8:10 am

Because for IDP, you have to actually work for the person who is signing off.

Jan 19, 14 9:45 am

You give zero fucks and move along. It is a misdemeanor most likely. 

Jan 20, 14 2:02 am

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