October 26, 2011
By Jerome Leslie Eben, AIA
AIA NJ Regional Director ’11-‘13
In July, I spelled out the reasons why we need the New Jersey State Board of Architects to be the enforcement agency of the practice of OUR profession. I outlined within that article the absolute need for the Board to complete proper investigations of the complaints that only a few of us have filed and to do so in a timely matter.
Finally in late September I received a letter from the Board’s acting Executive Director addressed without the benefit of the title AIA or even RA after my name, a title that I worked hard to earn and certainly am extremely proud of. The letter came with their findings of complaint No. 72609. While the State Board found the proprietor of the firm guilty of practicing OUR profession in an illegal manner, I am absolutely not convinced that this single finding will end the illegal practice of architecture here in New Jersey. It seems that the illegal practice of OUR profession will continue to go on without much challenge by the State Board of Architects.
In addition, and in my opinion, despite their protracted and very incomplete investigation, others who helped this individual practice OUR profession without a license, were not investigated at all and more than likely will continue to break the law. The question has to be put to the State Board as to why they would ignore what I clearly pointed out in my complaint that this individual had to have been aided by those who are in fact licensed architects!
Since the individual found guilty of the illegal practice of OUR profession mentioned that he used the services of licensed architects in New York and in Pennsylvania, I have filed a complaint with the New York State Board of Architects, to see how they will investigate and treat this case. I will be filing a complaint with the Pennsylvania State Board of Architects as well.
Nationally the AIA position statement #15 supports the strict enforcement of architectural licensing laws by the jurisdictions and recommends that penalties be assessed for incompetent or improper practice by licensees. It also recommends that the unlicensed practice of our profession must be vigorously prosecuted with assessed penalties and injunctions.
In my article of a few months ago and again here I am strongly stressing the need for you the AIANJ member and want to encourage each of you to file complaints. Do not to think that someone else will do it for you! This is OUR profession and despite the frustrations I and others have found with the New Jersey State Board of architects, PLEASE take the time (less than 5 minutes) to fill out the complaint form and send it to the New Jersey State Board of Architects.
Architects are skilled professionals who listen to you, interpret your wishes, help realize your building dreams, and add value at every stage of a project.