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In Massachusetts, regulation of architects is provided in Title XVI, Chapter 112 of laws of Massachusetts.  Under ALM GL ch. 13, § 44A, in the department of civil service and registration, a board of registration of architects exits to regulate the profession of architects.

Pursuant to ALM GL ch. 112, § 60B, any person who is at least twenty-one years of age and of good moral character can apply to the board for registration as an architect.  Every architect should submit an application for registration before the board.  The board should determine a fee, which should be paid by the architect.  Every applicant to get registered under the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) should go through a standard examination conducted by the board of registration paying a prescribed fee.

ALM GL ch. 112, § 60C provides that every person applying to the board for registration should submit with his application evidence of graduation from a recognized high school or its equivalent.  The applicant should also submit satisfactory evidence of graduation from an accredited school of architecture and of such practical experience in architectural work as the board prescribes through rules.  Instead of evidence of graduation, the applicant can submit satisfactory evidence of other academic experience, practical experience, or both, as the board prescribes.

ALM GL ch. 112, § 60C also provides that the board can hold examination for the applicant in writing, on technical and professional subjects pertaining to accessible design standards.  A written examination can be supplemented by oral examination as the board determines.  However, the board can exempt a holder of a certificate of qualification issued by the NCARB from the written examination.  The board can adopt guidelines published by NCARB as its own rules and regulations governing academic and practical experience.  The board can also adopt the examinations and recommended grading procedures of the NCARB.

Pursuant to ALM GL ch. 112, § 60D, the board should mail to every architect or architect emeritus registered in the commonwealth a blank application for renewal of certificate of registration.  Such blanks properly filled out should be returned to the board on or before the prescribed date.  Each application should be accompanied by a renewal fee.  After verification of the facts stated on the renewal application, the board can issue a certificate of annual registration.  Any holder of a certificate of registration who fails to renew his/her application within 60 days after notification by the board that the license has expired, should register anew paying prescribed fees before starting practice of architecture.

ALM GL ch. 112, § 60E provides that every holder of a certificate of registration should be displayed in a conspicuous place in the architect’s office, or place of business or employment.

ALM GL ch. 112, § 60E also provides that a new certificate of registration should be issued by the board upon payment of a fee to replace a lost, destroyed or mutilated, certificate and such certificate should be stamped or marked ‘duplicate’.

Pursuant to ALM GL ch. 112, § 60F, every registered architect should posses a seal of a design authorized by the board.  All plans, specifications, and reports prepared by a registered architect or under his supervision should be stamped with the impression of such seal.  A registered architect should impress his seal on any plans or specifications only if his certificate of registration is in full force and if he was the author of such plans and specifications or in responsible charge of their preparation.

ALM GL ch. 112, § 60G provides that, the board can revoke, suspend or annul a certificate of registration, or reprimand, censure or otherwise discipline a registrant, if there is sufficient proof that:

  • the holder of the certificate of registration is practicing in violation of any rules and regulations set by the state,
  • the certificate of registration was obtained by fraud or misrepresentation,
  • any bribe was paid or received to secure the issuance of such certificate of registration,
  • the holder of the certificate of registration has been guilty of fraud or deceit, or of gross negligence, incompetence or misconduct, in the practice of architecture, and
  • the holder of the certificate of registration permitted his official seal or signature to be affixed to any plans, specifications or drawings not prepared by him or under his personal supervision by his regularly employed subordinates.

ALM GL ch. 112, § 60H provides that charges against an architect involving any matter coming within the jurisdiction of the board should be written and filed with the board.  Such charges should be heard within thirty days after being filed at the discretion of the board.  The accused architect shall have the right at such hearing to appear personally, with or without counsel, to cross-examine witnesses against him/her and to produce evidence and witnesses in his/her defense.  The board shall set the time and place for such hearing and shall cause a copy of the charges, together with a notice of the time and place fixed for the hearing, to be sent by registered mail to the accused architect, at least ten days before such date.  If after the hearing the board finds the accused architect guilty of the charges, it can revoke, suspend, or annull the certificate of registration of the accused architect.  If the board finds the person not guilty it shall enter an order dismissing the charges. However, the board can re-issue a certificate of registration to any person whose certificate of registration has been revoked.  Application for the re-issuance of a certificate of registration should be made in such manner as the board directs, and should be accompanied by a fee.

Pursuant toALM GL ch. 112, § 60I, every certificate of registration issued and remaining in force can be taken as prima facie evidence in all courts of the commonwealth that the person in whose name the certificate is issued, is legally registered as an architect for the period for which it is issued.

ALM GL ch. 112, § 60J provides that a roster, showing the names and last known places of business of all registered architects, should be prepared by the board every year.

ALM GL ch. 112, § 60Kprovides that no person can engage in the practice of architecture, or use the title ‘architect’, ‘registered architect’, ‘architectural designer’, unless the person is registered under the board.

Pursuant to ALM GL ch. 112, § 60N, when an architect who retired from the active practice of architecture gives a written application, the board can grant a certificate of registration as an architect emeritus.  However, a certificate of registration as an architect emeritus can be provided only to architects who had a good practice before retirement, who is at least 65 years old, who was a registered architect for at least 10 years, and who has relinquished license to practice architecture.

ALM GL ch. 112, § 60P provides that, whoever violates the rules and regulations can be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than 3 months, or both.

Inside Massachusetts