2015 Edition, Issue 3

Common Violations of the Act: Misrepresentation and Unlicensed Practice

Business and Professions Code section (BPC) 5536(a) prohibits an unlicensed individual from: 1) practicing architecture in this state; 2) using any term confusingly similar to the word architect; 3) using the stamp of a licensed architect, as provided in BPC 5536.1; or 4) advertising or putting out any sign, card, or other device that might indicate to the public that he or she is an architect, that he or she is qualified to engage in the practice of architecture, or that he or she is an architectural designer.

Candidates are cautioned that offering or providing architectural services or using any form of the term "architect" (including "architectural," "architecture," or any abbreviations or confusingly similar variations) in their titles or to describe their services, prior to obtaining a California architect license, may result in the denial of their license. Employers at architectural firms should also be careful when selecting job titles for their unlicensed employees. The use of any form of the term "architect" in an unlicensed employee’s job title or description is strictly prohibited.

Additionally, licensees should make every effort to renew their licenses timely. The failure to renew an architect license places a licensee in a delinquent or expired status meaning he or she is "unlicensed" and cannot use the title "architect" or offer or provide any architectural services. The 30-day grace period after a license expires applies only to the delinquency fee and does not permit the holder of an expired license to continue practicing architecture after the expiration date has passed.