New York Statutes Article 147 of Title VIII, Architecture - Exemptions


There is obvious confusion as to section 7307.

Full Article 147 text:

There is a section 7306 titled "Exempt Persons".

§ 7306. Exempt persons.

This article shall not be construed to affect or prevent:

  1. The preparation of details and shop drawings by persons, other than architects, for use in connection with the execution of their work;
  2. Employees of those lawfully practicing as architects under the provisions of this article from acting under the instruction, control or supervision of their employers;
  3. Builders, or superintendents employed by such builders, from supervising the construction or structural alteration of buildings or structures; or
  4. A holder of a valid certificate of the national council of architectural registration boards, not licensed in this state, from coming into the state for interview, but not to perform any architectural services or enter into any contract until such time as he is licensed as an architect in this state.
  5. The practice of engineering or land surveying by an engineer or land surveyor licensed in this state, or the practice of landscape architecture by a landscape architect licensed in this state, provided that no such engineer, land surveyor or landscape architect shall use the designation "architect," or "architectural" or "architecture" unless licensed as an architect in this state.
  6. Employment of any person as a junior or assistant architect by the City of New York in a position the title of which was approved and in use as of July first, nineteen hundred seventy-one, provided such person acts under the general direction of a licensed architect.
  7. Contractors or builders from engaging in construction management and administration of construction contracts.

While the above provides exemptions in the above. There is another section of exemptions or exceptions as it maybe called. This is buried at the bottom of Section 7307 titled "Special Provisions". 

§ 7307. Special provisions.

  1. Every architect shall have a seal, approved by the board, which shall contain the name of the architect and either the words "Registered Architect" and such other words or figures as the board may deem necessary. All working drawings and specifications, prepared by such architect or by a full-time or part-time subordinate employed under his supervision, shall be stamped with such seal and shall also be signed on the original with the personal signature of such architect when filed with public officials. Except for plans and specifications excluded from the provisions of this article by section seventy-three hundred six of this article, no official of this state, or of any county, city, town or village therein, charged with the enforcement of laws, ordinances or regulations relating to the construction or alteration of buildings or structures, shall accept or approve any plans or specifications that are not stamped:
    1. With the seal of an architect or professional engineer registered in this state and bearing the authorized facsimile of the signature of such architect or professional engineer; or
    2. With the official seal and authorized facsimile of the signature of an architect or professional engineer not a resident of this state and having no established business in this state, but who is legally qualified to practice as such in his own state or country, provided that such person holds a limited permit issued by the department, and provided further that the plans or specifications are accompanied by and have attached thereto written authorization issued by the department for the specific project.
  2. Engineers, land surveyors, architects and landscape architects may join in the formation of a joint enterprise, or a partnership or a professional service corporation or a design professional service corporation or may form any desired combination of such professions and may use in the name of such corporation the title of any of the professions which will be practiced. After the name of each member his or her profession shall be indicated.
  3. A firm name may be continued by employees having at least fifteen years of continuous service if the retired members and legal representatives of deceased members consent to such continuance.
  4. It shall be lawful for a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the state of New York, and which on or before the twelfth day of April nineteen hundred twenty-nine and continuously thereafter was lawfully practicing in New York state to continue such practice, provided that the chief executive officer of such corporation in the state of New York shall be an architect licensed under this article, and provided further that the construction of buildings and structures shall be under the personal supervision of such architect and that drawings, plans, and specifications shall be prepared under the personal direction and supervision of such architect and bear the stamp of his official seal, and the drawings or specifications shall also be signed on the original, with the personal signature of such architect. No such corporation shall be permitted to change its name and continue to practice architecture, except upon the written approval of the department.
  5. This article shall not apply to:
    1. Farm buildings, including barns, sheds, poultry houses and other buildings used directly and solely for agricultural purposes; nor to residence buildings of gross area of fifteen hundred square feet or less, not including garages, carports, porches, cellars, or uninhabitable basements or attics; or
    2. Alterations, costing ten thousand dollars or less, to any building or structure within the city of New York and twenty thousand dollars or less, to any building or structure outside the city of New York which do not involve changes affecting the structural safety or public safety thereof.

Section 7307 (5) (a) and (b) are independent clauses of the above clauses in the law. Each of the (1) through (4) are independent special provisions.

Don't ask why (5) was put here. But lets read this here:

This is the provision under Article 147 that determines when an architect's seal and signature is NOT required. That is from the New York architect licensing board. This little provision is akin to ORS 671.030 (2)(b) - (2)(d) in Oregon but with its own differences in scope of such exemption. 

It is CLEAR that ultimately the determination of whether or not submittal documents is required to be sealed and signed by an architect licensed in New York rests with the authority having jurisdiction. However, when someone who is not licensed prepared submittal documents that the AHJ deem requires an architect stamp and falls outside the statutory scope of the provisions in Section 7307 (5) (a) and (b), the AHJ may report such activity to the licensing board and arrive at the conclusion that the unlicensed person is practicing architecture without a license.

A lot of the reports to licensing boards regarding unlicensed persons practicing architecture without a license comes from building departments / local government officials.

Remember that Article 147 is part of Title VIII. Remember to look at Article 130.

Unlicensed persons engaging in practice of architecture without a license maybe violating the law and disciplined:

Civil penalties up to $5000 per violation and there is potential criminal proceedings that can take place.

*NOTE: I am NOT a Lawyer. * 

For legal advice always consult a lawyer in regards to legal matters.

Dec 2, 19 1:52 pm

Forum amending the formatting... grrr. Anyway, here it is.

5) This article shall not apply to:

a. Farm buildings, including barns, sheds, poultry houses and other buildings used directly and solely for agricultural purposes; nor to residence buildings of gross area of fifteen hundred square feet or less, not including garages, carports, porches, cellars, or uninhabitable basements or attics; or

b. Alterations, costing ten thousand dollars or less, to any building or structure within the city of New York and twenty thousand dollars or less, to any building or structure outside the city of New York which do not involve changes affecting the structural safety or public safety thereof.

Dec 2, 19 1:55 pm

In B4 the nuke!

Dec 2, 19 1:56 pm

The above is my take on the laws regarding work not requiring an architect.

*NOTE: I am NOT a Lawyer. * 

For legal advice always consult a lawyer in regards to legal matters.

Dec 2, 19 1:58 pm

I called the Office of General Counsel about this this morning, and was encouraged to keep sending along screen shots.  I sent over 100 of your "takes" on New York law.


Aside from the above is mostly a direct copy and paste of the statutes and referencing the licensing board own take. Aside from very little summarization on my part.


This isn't a forum of attorneys so it isn't something to assume anyone on this forum are attorneys unless they do indicate that they are and usually they will have to use their real names and other indications like in a profile, where they are licensed to practice. However, the laws on the matters here are generally within the scope that people engaged in the architectural / building design field would be and should be familiar with. Ultimately, for any specific legal matter, a person should consult an attorney to discuss the legal matters with.


Did you contact the Office of General Counsel in New York State?

"There is obvious confusion as to section 7307."

"*NOTE: I am NOT a Lawyer. *"

Did it ever occur to you that maybe there isn't such an "obvious confusion" to people who are lawyers?

Dec 2, 19 2:00 pm
Non Sequitur


Not blessed with the gift of the gab? No problem - we're sharing our top 12 tips…

Dec 2, 19 2:03 pm

Seriously, you said you are going to start taking the ARE's. At least 3 of the exams focus on AIA contracts. Go study them. Take your tests.

Dec 2, 19 2:18 pm

AIA contract is not statutes.


There is literally an AIA contract for the exact situation that was asked in the other thread where all your comments were nuked.


AIA contract is not state law specific. The issue isn't about what contract to use. The biggest issue is whether or not the OP of that thread maybe exceeding the scope of "Interior design" which there are limits. The simple fact that the original poster represented himself/herself and business as "unlicensed architect" on this forum through the topic thread. Here is the quoted original post by that person:

"We're operating in Manhattan and a company approached us to renovate their 7000 sq.ft office space. We will be producing drawings, renderings, plans and specifications up to a design development set for an AOR to review and file. We will then produce an interior construction document set based upon final finishes, furniture and approved drawings. 

Anyone have any insight or a resource on contract templates for design services for unlicensed offices? "

This original post raised some flags. Why the OP used the term "unlicensed architect" for the title. This might not have been an issue if he/she referred to themselves as Certified Interior Designers which might have been reason to look for such title in New York.


Here in Oregon, there is no state governing recognition of interior designers so "certified interior designer" means as much as "certified professional building designer".


Rick #5 is just saying that the article about the practice of architecture doesn't apply to projects under that threshold.  Interior design is defined under a different article in New York, in which it specifically states that interior design plans "are not to be construed as those required to be filed with local municipalities or building departments as required by the state education law regulating the practices of architecture or engineering."  Interior designers can't design structural, plumbing, utilities, or HVAC.  They can do interior plans, space planning, etc. regardless of project budget or area. 

Dec 2, 19 2:31 pm

Ok, thank you threesleeve. There appears to be a legislative conflict. 7306 should have been amended to include certified interior designers practicing interior design per Article 161. If you read the law literally, the CID would have to also comply with Article 147 and not violate laws which are concurrently active and applicable 24/7.

Of course, they could have covered their basis on all ends of the law. I agree with what you said and in which case, this would be a scenario where a CID can be in contract with the owner.


I am not clear if this Interior designer provision on Article 161 is just a title law or if it is also a practice law.


Others have been telling you the same thing in the other thread over and over, but instead of listening you just write thousands of words misinforming people. This is why you should stay out of questions for which you have no applicable experience. If someone asks about building a deck in Oregon then have at it. But when someone asks about applying to Columbia or practicing interior design in New York, don't.


As it appears, Article 161 is a title act. While interior design is defined but the statutory language does not appear to require that a person must be licensed/registered/"certified" as a "certified interior designer" to practice. Licensure/Registration or in this case... "certified" by the board is not required except to use the title "Certified Interior Designer". IIDA and various sources indicates it as well as the statutory language.

I compared it to states that are known to have licensure/registration requirement for both the title and practice. It looks like a title law not a title and practice law as it is with "architects" and "engineers".


No kidding. That was explained to you in the previous thread too. The "certified interior designer" vs. not-certified interior designer is not the important part of this whole discussion. The important part is the definition of interior design practice, and the fact that NY does allow both certified and non-certified interior designers to provide services on all project sizes and budgets, per that definition. Rick a lot of us work in NY - we're familiar with all of this. We're trying to explain it to you based on actual real-life experience and the state's actual interpretations and rulings. You're arguing round and round based mostly on your experience with Oregon, when we all know you're wrong based on... real life. 


The other reason of course, although not stated expressly, but inferred based on circumstances in other states, is that if one were to examine the types defined, and the similarly scaled and closely related economic realities, the people that typically own structures of these types are less inclined to afford an architect, or are likely dealing with structures needing substantial remodel. The fact that farm structures are listed first under subset 5 is indicative of long standing state rules, and the fact that number two under subset 5 deals with metropolitan areas, notably NYC, would likely have to do with immigrant communities with less than polished English skills, and fewer resources, and is a reason why it might have been added a later date?


Ok. However, you can't assume the laws to mean whatever the personalities running the board is going to interpret the laws. 


Question: Did you read the original post and the topic title by the OP of "that" thread? 

Thread topic title: "Design contracts for unlicensed architects?"


Is that or is that not a violation of New York state laws governing the use of the architect title by the person who started that thread who is not a licensed architect?

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