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In California, Architects Practice Act, Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5500 to Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5610.7 provides regulations of architects.  Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5510.1 provides that it is the mandate of the state board to regulate the practice of architecture in the interest and for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.  For this purpose, the board shall delineate the minimum professional qualifications and performance standards for admission to and practice of the profession of architecture.  The board shall establish a fair and uniform enforcement policy to deter and prosecute violations of this chapter or any rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter to provide for the protection of the consumer.

Pursuant to Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5536, it is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, for any person who is not licensed to practice architecture under this chapter to practice architecture in this state, to use any term confusingly similar to the word architect, to use the stamp of a licensed architect, as provided in Section 5536.1, or to advertise or put 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 s/he is an architectural designer.  Moreover, it is a misdemeanor, punishable as specified in subdivision (a), for any person who is not licensed to practice architecture under this chapter to affix a stamp or seal that bears the legend “State of California” or words or symbols that represent or imply that the person is so licensed by the state to prepare plans, specifications, or instruments of service.

Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5550 provides that subject to the rules and regulations governing examinations, any person who meets the qualifications set forth in the article shall be entitled to an examination for a license to practice architecture.  Before taking the examination s/he shall file application therefor with the board and pay the application fee fixed by this chapter.  The fee shall be retained by the board.

Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5551 provides that if the applicant’s examination is satisfactory, and if no charges of having resorted to deception in obtaining the license, or any other violation of the provisions of this chapter have been filed with the board, upon the payment of the license fee fixed by this chapter, the board shall issue a license to the applicant showing that the person named therein is entitled to practice architecture in this state, in accordance with the provisions of the chapter.

Pursuant to Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5552, the applicant for a license to practice architecture shall:

  • Not have committed acts or crimes constituting grounds for denial of a license under Section 480.
  • Furnish evidence of having completed eight years of training and educational experience in architectural work.

Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5560 provides that the board may upon its own motion, and shall upon the verified complaint in writing of any person, investigate the actions of any architect and may temporarily suspend or permanently revoke, the license of any architect who is guilty of, or commits one or more of, the acts or omissions constituting grounds for disciplinary action under the chapter.

Pursuant to Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5573, after suspension of a license upon any of the grounds set forth in the chapter, the board may reinstate the license upon proof of compliance by the architect with all provisions of the decision as to reinstatement or, in the absence of that decision or any provisions therein as to reinstatement, in the sound discretion of the board.  A license which has been suspended is subject to expiration and shall be renewed as provided in this chapter, but that renewal does not entitle the holder of the license, while the license remains suspended and until it is reinstated, to practice architecture, or to engage in any other activity or conduct in violation of the order or judgment by which the license was suspended.  A revoked license is subject to expiration as provided in this chapter, but it may not be renewed.  If it is reinstated after its expiration, the holder of the license, as a condition precedent to its reinstatement, shall pay a reinstatement fee in an amount equal to the renewal fee in effect on the last regular renewal date before the date on which it is reinstated, plus the delinquency fee, if any, accrued at the time of its revocation.

Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5577 provides that the conviction of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions, and duties of an architect by the holder of a license constitutes a ground for disciplinary action.  The record of conviction, or a certified copy thereof certified by the clerk of the court or by the judge in whose court the conviction is obtained, is conclusive evidence of the conviction.  A plea or verdict of guilty or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere is deemed to be a conviction within the meaning of this section.  The board may order the license suspended or revoked, or may decline to issue a license, when the time for appeal has elapsed, the judgment of conviction has been affirmed on appeal, or an order granting probation is made suspending the imposition of sentence, irrespective of a subsequent order under the provisions of Section 1203.4 of the Penal Code allowing the person to withdraw his/her plea of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty, or setting aside the verdict of guilty, or dismissing the accusation, information, or indictment.

Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5600 (a) provides that all licenses issued or renewed under this chapter shall expire at 12 midnight on the last day of the birth month of the licenseholder in each odd-numbered year following the issuance or renewal of the license.  To renew an unexpired license, the licenseholder shall, before the time at which the license would otherwise expire, apply for renewal on a form prescribed by the board and pay the renewal fee prescribed by the chapter.  The renewal form shall include a statement specifying whether the licensee was convicted of a crime or disciplined by another public agency during the preceding renewal period and that the licensee’s representations on the renewal form are true, correct, and contain no material omissions of fact, to the best knowledge and belief of the licensee.

As a condition of license renewal, a licensee shall have completed coursework regarding disability access requirements pursuant to paragraphs (2) and (3).  A licensee shall certify to the board, as a part of the license renewal process, that he or she has completed the required coursework prior to approval of his/her license renewal and shall provide documentation from the course provider that shall include the course title, subjects covered, name of provider and trainer or educator, date of completion, number of hours completed, and a statement about the trainer or educator’s knowledge and experience background.  For licenses renewed on and after July 1, 2009, and before January 1, 2010, a licensee shall have completed one hour of coursework.  For licenses renewed on and after January 1, 2010, and before January 1, 2011, a licensee shall have completed two and one-half hours of coursework.  For licenses renewed on and after January 1, 2011, a licensee shall have completed five hours of coursework within the previous two years.  Coursework regarding disability access requirements shall include information and practical guidance concerning requirements imposed by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336; 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.), state laws that govern access to public facilities, and federal and state regulations adopted pursuant to those laws.  The board shall require that a licensee certify that s/he has satisfied the requirements of this subdivision as a condition of license renewal.

Pursuant to Cal Bus & Prof Code § 5600.2, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a license which has expired may be renewed at any time within five years after its expiration on filing of application for renewal on a form prescribed by the board, and payment of all accrued and unpaid renewal fees.  If a license is renewed more than 30 days after its expiration, the licenseholder, as a condition precedent to renewal, shall also pay the delinquency fee prescribed by this chapter.  Renewal under this section shall be effective on the date on which the application is filed, on the date on which the renewal fee is paid, or on the date on which the delinquency fee, if any, is paid, whichever last occurs.  If so renewed, the license shall continue in effect through the expiration date provided in this chapter which next occurs after the effective date of the renewal, when it shall expire if it is not again renewed.

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