Executive Officer’s Message—Compliance
There are many key milestones in an architect’s career. Graduating from architectural school, passing the California Supplemental Examination (CSE), and receiving your license are among the initial accomplishments. Being recognized with awards for key projects, advancing within a firm, and being elevated to the College of Fellows are often other highlights that mark a successful career. Too often, however, distinguished careers can be tarnished due to inattention to the responsibilities associated with being a licensed architect. This article is designed to highlight several important reminders to help you comply with the Architects Practice Act (Act).
- Complete five hours of continuing education coursework on disability access requirements with each biennial renewal. It has been the law since 2009, yet nearly 15 percent of architects fail the required audit.
- Use a written contract. It has been the law since 1996, but a concerning number of architects do not comply. The written contract requirement is simple and contains five elements. Memorializing the terms of the business relationship is a simple task, but helps both parties by ensuring a mutual understanding of key elements of the project.
- Keep address of record current. This seemingly simple function is the root of many instances of licenses lapsing. Remember that you are responsible for maintaining the license. The California Code of Regulations (CCR) requires architects to immediately report address or name changes. Reporting these changes assists the Board with communicating important information, such as changes to the Act. Failure to notify the Board of an address and/or name change is a violation of CCR section 104.
- Communicate with the client. Again, this is a very basic function of providing professional services. Key decisions need to be documented. This is particularly important when decisions have a financial or scheduling impact on a project. Lack of communication concerning key milestones, changes, and challenges contributes to many of the Board’s most serious enforcement actions.
These four issues are the root of most disciplinary actions and citations against architects, many of those cases are avoidable. Take the time to assess your business practices to ensure compliance with the Act. If you have not examined the Act since passing the CSE, you are doing yourself a tremendous disservice. If you are unsure about the requirements, the Board employs two architect consultants to answer questions about the Act and how it applies to projects.
You worked hard to attain your license; take the time to stay current on your responsibilities so you can maintain it as you progress throughout your career.