The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has issued a statement denouncing the growing trend of states removing architectural licensure requirements. In its first Where We Stand statement of 2018, the AIA came out strongly against a practice that they consider as contrary to their commitment to securing the “health, safety and welfare of all who occupy and visit the structures that they design.”
The past few years have seen a rollback of professional licensure requirements across the United States, including architecture, in the name of lowering barriers to entry and fostering competition. This is a shortsighted, the AIA argues, as rigorous education and licensing keeps consumers safe.
To emphasize their point, the AIA has also produced a map indicating states where through either legislation or executive orders, licensure requirements have been threatened or rolled back from 2015 to 2018.
As a counterpoint, the institute has put forth ideas for strengthening license requirements across the country, as well as allowing architects to operate across state lines in times of crisis.
While proponents of such rollbacks can cite a few examples of overreach, the AIA has put out this statement to remind the public that licensure requires passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) and a familiarity with local conditions and laws. Just last summer, the highly-publicized arrest of an architect who was practicing without a license in upstate New York brought a dose of well-deserved attention to the issue.
“The essential purpose of licensing architects is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public and shield consumers from unqualified practitioners,” said AIA President Carl Elefante. “This is a responsibility our profession fully accepts and takes quite seriously, and we will fight any effort to minimize the requirements for professional licensure in architecture.”