Iowa


In Iowa, regulation of architects are found in Title 13, Subtitle 4, Chapter 544A (Iowa Code § 544A.2 – § 544A.29) of the Iowa Code.  The chapter provides that only qualified by the laws of the state are authorized to engage in the practice of architecture in the state.  This is to protect public health, safety, and welfare.  The chapter also provides for the creation of the architectural examining board (“board”) to enforce the provisions of the chapter.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 544A.3, the board must keep a record, of its proceedings relating to the issuance, refusal, renewal, suspension and revocation of certificates of registration.  This must be open to public inspection at all reasonable times.  The record must also contain a roster showing the name, place of business and residence, and the date and number of the certificate of registration of every registered architect entitled to practice the profession in the state of Iowa.

Iowa Code § 544A.8 provides that any person can apply for a certificate of registration or to take an examination for certification under this chapter.  A person applying for registration by examination must comply with all the requirements under this chapter and must also satisfactorily pass an examination in technical and professional subjects prescribed by the board.  However, the board can also grant registration by reciprocity.  A person applying to the board for registration by reciprocity must furnish satisfactory evidence that s/he holds qualifications determined by the board which is substantially equivalent to the requirements for initial registration.

Further, pursuant to Iowa Code § 544A.9, the board must include his/her name and address in the roster of registered architects and must issue a certificate of registration to the applicant as a registered architect and after s/he complies with all the required provisions of the Act.

Iowa Code § 544A.10 provides that board can determine the intervals at which certificates of registration expire.  The section further provides that registered architects must renew their certificates of registration and pay a renewal fee in the manner prescribed by the board.  The board will also prescribe the conditions and reasonable penalties for renewal after the expiry date of the certificate.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 544A.11, the board can set the fees for examination, for a certificate of registration as an architect, for renewal or reinstatement of a certificate, and for other activities of pertaining to the duties of the board.  The fee for examination will be based on the annual cost of administering the examinations and the administrative costs of sustaining the board.  All fees must be paid to the treasurer of state and deposited in the general fund of the state.

Iowa Code § 544A.13 provides for the revocation or suspension of a license to practice architecture.  The license will be revoked or suspended if the licensee is guilty of:

  • Misrepresentations as to skill or ability;
  • Fraud in procuring a license;
  • Knowingly making misleading, deceptive, untrue or fraudulent representations in the practice of the licensee’s profession or engaging in unethical conduct or practice harmful or detrimental to the public;
  • Professional incompetence;
  • Willful or repeated violations of one or more rules of conduct adopted by the board
  • Willful or repeated violations of the provisions of this Act;
  • Habitual intoxication or addiction to the use of drugs;
  • Conviction of a felony related to the profession or occupation of the licensee or the conviction of any felony that would affect the licensee’s ability to practice the profession of architecture;
  • Use of untruthful or improbable statements in advertisements.

The board can revoke any certificate after giving 30 days’ notice with grant of hearing to the holder, if satisfactory proof is presented to the board.

Iowa Code § 544A.15 provides that a person cannot engage or offer to engage in practice of architecture or cannot use the title “architect” or “registered architect”, or “architectural designer”, unless s/he is qualified by registration as provided by the provisions of the chapter.  However, the board can by rule authorize a person to offer to perform architectural services in this state prior to registration in this state if:

  • the person is registered in good standing to practice architecture in at least one other state or jurisdiction;
  • the person holds a certificate from a national certification council recognized by the board, or
  • the person makes such disclosures as the board requires by rule, and s/he becomes duly registered in Iowa prior to otherwise practicing architecture in Iowa.

A person who violates this section is guilty of a serious misdemeanor and the board can impose civil or criminal penalty upon that person.  A civil penalty imposed shall not exceed one thousand dollars for each offense.  Further, each day of a continued violation constitutes a separate offense.

However, pursuant to Iowa Code § 544A.18, persons who are not registered architects can perform planning and design services in connection with any of the following:

  • Nonstructural alterations to existing buildings which do not change the use of a building;
  • Warehouses and commercial buildings not more than one story in height, and not exceeding ten thousand square feet in gross floor area;
  • Commercial buildings not more than two stories in height and not exceeding six thousand square feet in gross floor area and light industrial buildings;
  • Detached residential buildings containing twelve or fewer family dwelling units of not more than three stories and outbuildings in connection with the buildings;
  • Churches and accessory buildings, whether attached or separate, not more than two stories in height and not exceeding two thousand square feet in gross floor area;
  • Buildings used primarily for agricultural purposes including grain elevators and feed mills;
  • Factory built buildings which are not more than two stories in height and not exceeding twenty thousand square feet in gross floor area or which are certified by a licensed professional engineer.

Iowa Code § 544A.20 provides that any violators of the chapter can be permanently enjoined on the petition of the board or any person.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 544A.21, a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other business entity is not eligible for registration under this chapter. Only an individual natural person is eligible for registration.  A domestic or foreign corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other business entity can engage in the practice of architecture in Iowa only if all of the following requirements are met:

  • The entire practice of architecture by the corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other business entity in Iowa and in connection with buildings, structures, and projects located in Iowa can be performed by or under the direct supervision and responsible charge of one or more architects.
  • No less than two-thirds of the directors, if a corporation, or no less than two-thirds of the general partners, if a partnership, or the sole proprietor is qualified by registration by a registration authority recognized by the board, to perform either professional architectural services or professional engineering services, where the qualifications for registration are, in the opinion of the board, substantially equivalent to those prescribed by the laws of Iowa or this chapter.
  • A person engaging in the practice of architecture in the state of Iowa and in responsible charge on behalf of a business entity engaged in the practice of architecture must be registered to practice architecture in this state, and must be a director, if a corporation, a general partner, if a partnership, or a sole proprietor of the business entity.
  • Before engaging in the practice of architecture in this state, a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship must acquire an “authorization to practice architecture as a business entity” from the board. The board must adopt rules establishing the required information concerning officers, directors, beneficial owners, limitations on the name of the business entity, and other aspects of its business organization, which must be submitted to the board upon forms prescribed by the board in order to qualify for authorization.

However, this practice of architecture by or through a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other business entity does not relieve a person of liability for professional errors or omissions which liability would exist if the person were practicing as an individual.

Further the board under section Iowa Code § 544A.29 can adopt rules for the administration and enforcement of this chapter and can also prescribe forms to be issued.  The rules include standards and criteria for licensure, license renewal, professional conduct, misconduct, and discipline.  The board can take disciplinary action against any person who violates any rule of conduct.  Violation is also ground for reprimand or probation at the discretion of the board.  A willful or repeated violation of a rule of conduct is grounds for disciplinary action as provided in section 544A.13.