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The regulation of architects in Illinois is mentioned in an Act titled, the Illinois Architecture Practice Act of 1989.  The Act can be found in chapter 225 of Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated. (225 ILCS 305/1 – 225 ILCS 305/40).  The Act is scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2020.  The Act makes it mandatory that, only qualified persons can practice architecture in Illinois.  This is in order to maintain and support public health, safety and welfare.

225 ILCS 305/5 defines an architect.  The section provides that “an architect is a person who is qualified by education, training, experience, and examination, and who is licensed under the laws of this State, to practice architecture.”  Further “practice of architecture” under the Act includes contributing or providing of professional services like consultation, feasibility studies, technical submissions consisting of drawings and specifications and other documents required in the construction process, environmental investigations, administration of construction contracts, programming, planning, artistic and structural design, project representation, and construction management.

Technical submissions that are to be made by an architect are discussed under 225 ILCS 305/6.  The section provides that technical submissions are the designs, drawings and specifications related to the proposed architecture, the standard of quality for materials, workmanship, equipment, every other thing related to the proposed project and other technical reports prepared in the course of the practice of architecture.  The Act further provides that an architect must maintain standards of reasonable professional skill and diligence while preparing the technical submissions.  S/he must take care that the reports reflects the requirements of state statutes and other concerned ordinances.

Under section 225 ILCS 305/9 of the Act the Architecture Licensing Board (“board”) is created.  The board consists of 6 members.  The board will assist the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“department”) in conducting oral interviews, corrective conferences and formal evidentiary hearings.  The board will also provide expert advice to the department on matters relating to the enforcement of the Act.

225 ILCS 305/12 and 13 provides that an applicant for license to practice as architect must pass an examination authorized by the department.  The examination will include any of these following subjects:

  1. pre-design
  2. site planning;
  3. building planning;
  4. building technology;
  5. general structures;
  6. lateral forces;
  7. mechanical and electrical;
  8. materials and methods; and
  9. construction documents and services.

The applicant must also be familiar with the provisions of the Act.  Further the applicant for license must:

  1. be of good moral character;
  2. a graduate with a first professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board; and
  3. has completed expanded professional training, including academic training.

 Until January 1, 2014, the Department can also admit an applicant who is a graduate with a pre-professional 4 year baccalaureate degree accepted for direct entry into a first professional master of architecture degree program, and who has completed such additional expanded professional training, including academic training as required by the department.

Under 225 ILCS 305/16, a holder of the license must renew the license a month before the expiry date of the license by paying the prescribed fee.  Further 225 ILCS 305/17 provides that any licensed architect can choose to place his/her license on an inactive status and can be excused by the department from payment of renewal fees until s/he notifies the Department in writing of his/her desire to make the license active.  Such persons who kept their license inactive with the consent of the department is known as “Architect, retired” as per section 225 ILCS 305/17.5

225 ILCS 305/19 provides that the department can provide for a schedule of fees to be paid for licenses by all applicants for the administration and enforcement of this Act, including original licensure, renewal, and restoration.  The fees are not refundable.  All the fees collected under the section will be deposited in the Design Professionals Administration and Investigation Fund.  Any person who delivers a check or other payment that is returned to the Department unpaid will be liable for a fine of $ 50 other than the amount that is actually due.  The Department must give a 30 days’ notice to a person that payment of fees and fines must be paid to the Department by certified check or money order.  If the person failed to submit the necessary remittance within the specified 30 days’ time, the Department will automatically terminate the license or certificate or deny the application, without hearing.  If, after termination or denial, the person seeks a license or certificate, s/he must apply to the Department for restoration or issuance of the license or certificate and must pay all fees and fines due to the Department.

225 ILCS 305/21 provides for the formation of a corporation to offer the practice of architecture.  Any business, including a Professional Service Corporation, that practices architecture or holds itself out as available to practice architecture must register with the department.

Further 225 ILCS 305/22 provides that the department can refuse to issue, renew or restore, or may suspend, revoke, place on probation, or take other disciplinary or non-disciplinary action as deemed appropriate, regarding a license for any one or combination of the following causes:

  • making any misrepresentation for the purpose of obtaining licensure;
  • failure to comply with any of the provisions of this Act or any of the rules;
  • engaging in dishonorable, unethical or unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public;
  • material misstatement in furnishing information to the Department;
  • purposefully making false statements or signing false statements, certificates or affidavits to induce payment;
  • negligence, incompetence or misconduct in the practice of architecture;
  • aiding or assisting another person in violating any provision of this Act or its rules;
  • failure to pay fine by any person whose license has been placed on probationary status, has violated the terms of probation;
  • physical illness, including without limitation deterioration through the aging process, mental illness, or disability;
  • conviction of or plea of guilty to any crime that is a felony or misdemeanor under the laws of the United States or any state or territory;
  • signing, affixing the architect’s seal or permitting the architect’s seal to be affixed to any technical submission not prepared by the architect or under that architect’s responsible control;
  • habitual or excessive use or addiction to alcohol, narcotics, stimulants, or any other chemical agent or drug that results in the inability to practice with reasonable judgment, skill, or safety;
  • discipline by another state for same or substantially equivalent grounds set forth herein;
  • failure to provide information in response to a written request made by the Department within 30 days after the receipt of such written request.

225 ILCS 305/23 provides that if a person violates the provisions of the Act, the department can issue a temporary restraining order and can preliminarily and permanently enjoin such violation.  Further 225 ILCS 305/31 provides that at any time after the term of suspension or revocation of a license is completed, the department upon the written recommendation of the board can restore the license of a licensee.  However, the license will not be restored if after an investigation and a hearing the board determines that restoration is not in the public interest.  The licensee must immediately surrender the license to the department once it is suspended or revoked.  Otherwise the department has the power to seize the license under section 225 ILCS 305/32.

225 ILCS 305/34 provides that all final administrative decisions of the department are subject to judicial review in accordance with the provisions of Administrative Review Law.  The proceedings for judicial review will be commenced in the circuit court of the county in which the party applying for review resides or in Sangamon County if such party is not a resident of Illinois.

Inside Illinois