SENATE BILL NO. 24
AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1 AND HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 3, TITLE 24 DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE BOARD OF ARCHITECTS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):
Section 1. Amend Chapter 3, Title 24, Delaware Code by deleting the
current Chapter 3 and enacting a new Chapter 3 as follows:
"CHAPTER 3. ARCHITECTURE
§301. Objectives and Functions.
The primary objective of the Board of Architects, to which all other objectives and purposes are secondary, is to protect the general public (including those persons who are direct recipients of services regulated by this Chapter) from unsafe practices, and from occupational practices which tend to reduce competition or fix the price of services rendered. The secondary objectives of the Board are to maintain minimum standards of architect competency, and to maintain certain standards in the delivery of services to the public. In meeting its objectives, the Board shall develop standards assuring professional competence; shall monitor complaints brought against architects regulated by the Board; shall adjudicate at formal hearings; shall promulgate rules and regulations; and shall impose sanctions where necessary against architects.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this Chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this Section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(a) 'Architect' shall mean any person who engages in the practice of architecture as hereinafter defined.
(b) The 'Board' shall mean the Board of Architecture established by §8810(a)(3)of 29 Del. C. and this Chapter.
(c) 'Certificate of registration' shall mean any document which indicates that a person is currently registered with the Board of Architects.
(d) 'Direct Supervision' shall mean that degree of supervision by a person overseeing the work of another whereby the supervisor has both control over and detailed professional knowledge of the work prepared under his or her supervision.
(e) 'Practice of Architecture' shall mean the rendering or offering to render those services, hereinafter described, in
connection with the design and construction, enlargement or alteration of a structure or group of structures which have as their principal purpose human habitation or use, and the utilization of space within and surrounding such structures; the services referred to include planning, preparing studies, designs, drawings, specifications and other technical submissions and furnishing administration of
(f) 'Registered architect' shall mean an architect holding a current certificate of registration.
(g) 'Technical submissions' shall mean designs, drawings,
specifications, studies and other technical reports prepared in the course of practicing architecture.
§303. Registration to Practice.
(a) The right to engage. in the practice of architecture shall be deemed a personal right, based upon the qualifications of the individual as evidenced by his or her certificate of registration, which shall not be transferable. No person shall engage in the practice of architecture in this State or otherwise hold himself or herself out to the public as being an architect, or, use in connection with his or her name, or otherwise assume, use or advertise any title or description intending to convey the impression that he or she is an architect, unless such person has a certificate of registration.
(b) The provisions of this Chapter shall not be construed to prevent, nor to affect:
(1) The preparation of technical submissions or the administration of construction contracts by an employee or subordinate of a person or organization lawfully engaged in the practice of architecture, providing such work is done under the direct responsibility and supervision of such person or organization;
(2) The practice of architecture by a person licensed in this State as a professional engineer, when such practice is incidental to what may be properly considered an engineering project;
(3) the practice of landscape architecture by a landscape
architect, regardless of whether the practice of landscape
architecture shall continue to be licensed under the Delaware Code;
(4) A non-resident, who holds a certificate to practice
architecture in the state in which he or she resides, and/or in addition holds the certification issued by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, from agreeing to perform or holding himself or herself out as able to perform any of the professional services involved in the practice of architecture; provided that he or she shall not perform any of the professional services involved in the practice of architecture until registered as provided in subsection (a) of this section; and further provided that he or she notifies the Board in writing if he or she, prior to registration, engages in any of the activities permitted by this paragraph;
(1) Any of the activities that, apart from this exemption, would constitute the practice of architecture, if performed in connection with any of the following:
a. Single and two-family dwellings, and any sheds, storage
buildings, and garages incidental to such dwellings;
b. Farm buildings, including barns, silos, sheds, or housing
for farm equipment and livestock, provided such structures are designed to be occupied by no more than ten persons; or
a. Any alteration, renovation, or remodeling of a structure when such alteration, renovation, or remodeling does not affect structural or other safety features of the structure and when the work contemplated by the design does not require the issuance of a permit under applicable building codes.
§304. Board of Architects.
(a) The Board of Architects shall consist of nine members appointed by the Governor; five professional members who shall be registered architects; and four public members. To serve on the Board, a public member shall not be, nor ever have been, employed by a person or firm which provides construction services, nor a member of the immediate family of an architect or engineer; shall not have been employed by a person or firm which provides construction services (which shall include architects and architectural businesses, engineers and engineering businesses, and any other occupation involved in the design of structures); shall not have had a material financial interest in the providing of goods and services to any person or firm which provides construction services; nor have been engaged in an activity directly related to the design of buildings. No person
shall be a public member if a member of such person's immediate family is an architect, or is an employee of an architect; or if a member of such person's immediate family has a material or financial interest in the providing of goods or services to architects. Each public member shall be accessible to inquiries, comments and suggestions from the general public.
(b) Each member shall serve for a term of three years, and may succeed himself or herself for one additional term; provided, however, that where a member was initially appointed to fill a vacancy, such member may succeed himself or herself for only one additional full term. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the former member. Each term of office shall expire on the date specified in the appointment, and the member shall no longer be eligible to participate in Board proceedings unless lawfully appointed. Current Board members, who will have served as members for 10 years or more at the end of their current terms, will not be eligible for reappointment to the Board.
(a) A member of the Board shall be suspended or removed by the Governor for misfeasance, non-feasance or malfeasance. A member subject to disciplinary proceedings shall be disqualified from Board business until the charge is adjudicated or the matter is otherwise concluded. A Board member may appeal any suspension or removal to the Superior Court.
(a) No member of the Board of Architects, while serving on the Board, shall be a President, Chairman or other official of a professional architect association.
(a) The provisions set forth for "employees" in §5805 of Title 29 shall apply to all members of the Board, and to all agents appointed, or otherwise employed, by the Board.
(a) Each member of the Board shall receive not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) in any calendar year for his or her services as a member of the Board, including not more than forty dollars ($40.00) for each meeting which such member attends during that year.
§305. Officers: Conduct of Business.
(a) In the same month of each year, the members shall elect, from among their number, a President and a Secretary. A member may serve as an officer of the Board for not more than two consecutive years.
(b) The Board shall hold a regularly scheduled business meeting at least once in each quarter of a calendar year and at such other times as the President may deem necessary, or at the request of a majority of Board members. A majority of members shall constitute a quorum; and no action shall be taken without the affirmative vote of at least five members. Any member who fails to attend three consecutive meetings, or who fails to attend at least half of all regular business meetings during any calendar year, shall automatically, upon such occurrence, be deemed to have resigned from office and a replacement shall be appointed.
(c) Minutes of all meetings shall be recorded, and copies of the minutes shall be maintained by the Division of Professional Regulation. At any hearing in which evidence is presented, a record from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared shall be made. The expense of preparing any transcript shall be incurred by the person requesting it.
(d) The Division of Professional Regulation shall annually compute the average expenses incurred in duplicating the following materials: the
meeting schedule for the Board, notice of next business meeting, and the minutes of Board meetings. Upon his or her initial registration and each registration renewal, each registered architect shall receive a list of materials available from the Division, and the price charged to receive each for one year. Each item shall be offered to the registered architect and to members of the public at a cost set by the Division of Professional Regulation.
§306. Powers and Duties.
(a) The Board of Architects shall have the authority to:
(1) Promulgate rules of conduct governing the practice of architects, including rules and regulations concerning continuing education, and/or misrepresentations, conflicts of interest,
disability, violations of law or other unprofessional conduct. Each rule or regulation shall implement or clarify a specific section of this Chapter.
(2) Designate the application form to be used by all applicants for certificates of registration, and to process all applications;
(3) Designate a written examination to be taken by persons applying for a certificate of registration. The Board shall adopt the examinations of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, or a comparable alternative national or regional examination, if a national examination is not available;
(4) Provide for the administration of all examinations, including notice and information to applicants. The Board shall adopt the administration and grading procedures of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, or of a comparable alternative national or regional examination if a national examination is not available;
(5) Designate the requirements for the issuance of a certificate of registration consistent with the other provisions of this Chapter;
(6) Grant certificates of registration to all persons who meet the qualifications for registration and who otherwise satisfy the requirements set forth in this Chapter;
(7) Refer all complaints from registered architects and from the public concerning architects, or concerning practices of the Board or of the profession, to the Division of Professional Regulation for investigation pursuant to §8810 of 29 Del. C.
(8) Hold hearings and take such actions as are permitted under the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act, Ch. 101, 29 Del. C. Where such provisions conflict with the provisions of this Chapter, this Chapter shall govern. The Board shall determine whether or not an architect shall be subject to a disciplinary hearing, and if so, shall conduct such hearing in accordance with this Chapter and the Administrative Procedures Act;
(9) Where it has been determined after a disciplinary hearing, that penalties or sanction should be imposed, to designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed;
(10) Bring proceedings in the courts for the enforcement of this Chapter;
(11) In cooperation with Division of Professional Regulation, to maintain complete records relating to meeting minutes, applications, examinations, rosters, changes and additions to the rules and regulations, complaints, hearings and such other matters as the Board shall determine. The Division of Professional Regulation shall have the power to review, approve and execute all contracts for examination services;
(1) The Board may require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of papers, records or other documentary evidence.
§307. Application Procedures.
(a) An applicant who is applying for initial registration under this Chapter shall have the following qualifications:
(1) The applicant shall hold an National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited professional degree in architecture or shall have completed such other education as the Board deems equivalent. The Board shall adopt accreditation decisions of the NAAB and shall
adopt regulations governing education or continuing education published from time to time by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards;
(2) The applicant shall have completed a minimum of three years of
practical training in architectural work. This requirement may be
satisfied by participation in an Intern Development Program. The
Board shall adopt regulations governing practical training which are consistent with the guidelines of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.
(b) Each applicant shall provide such information as may be required on an application form designed and furnished by the Board. No application form shall require a picture of the applicant; require information relating to citizenship, place of birth, length of state residency; nor shall it require personal references.
(c) The Board may refuse or reject an applicant if, after a hearing, the Board finds that the applicant has:
(1) been convicted of committing a felony;
(2) misstated or misrepresented a fact in connection with his or her application;
(3) been found guilty of a violation of any of the Requirements for Business and Professional Conduct required of architects and as set forth in statutes or regulations;
(4) practiced architecture without being registered in violation of the registration laws of Delaware. Notwithstanding such a finding, the Board may allow registration of such applicant if the applicant presents to the Board suitable evidence of reform.
(d) Where the Board has found to its satisfaction that an application has been intentionally fraudulent, or that false information has been intentionally supplied, it shall report its findings to the Attorney General for further action.
(e) Where the application of a person has been refused or rejected and such applicant feels that the Board has acted without justification; has imposed higher or different standards for him or her than for other applicants; or has in some other manner contributed to or caused the failure of such application, the applicant may appeal to the Superior Court.
(f) Any applicant who applies for a license within 6 years from the effective date of this law may petition the Board to waive the requirements of subsection (a)(1) of this section, but only if, in the Board's judgment, the applicant complies with the 'Education and Training Requirements for Delaware Licensure.'
§308. examination of Applicants
(a) An applicant who meets the requirements of §307 of this Chapter shall be required to pass an examination adopted by the Board and graded by a national testing administrator. The Board, or its agent, shall, at least once per year, provide for the administration and grading of such examination. Where an applicant has failed to pass the examination, but has successfully completed and passed certain portions or sections of the examination, the applicant shall in the next subsequent examination be tested only for those portions or section which he or she has previously failed.
(b) The Board may exempt from the written examination requirement an applicant who holds a certification issued by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Chapter, every applicant shall be granted a certificate of registration if the applicant holds a current and valid registration issued by a registration authority Chapter 144
recognized by the Board and meets the requirements as set forth in §307 of this Chapter; or holds a National Council of Architectural Registration Boards certificate; and files his or her application with the Board, upon a form prescribed by the Board, containing such information concerning the applicant, as the Board considers pertinent; provided, however, that the Board may refuse or reject any such applicant on the same grounds as set forth in §307(c) of this Chapter. An application for registration by reciprocity shall be accompanied by full payment of the reciprocity fee.
The amount to be charged for each fee imposed under this Chapter shall approximate and reasonably reflect all costs necessary to defray the expenses of the Board as well as the proportional expenses incurred by the Division of Professional Regulation in its services on behalf of the Board. There shall be a separate fee charged for each service or activity, but no fee shall be charged for a purpose not specified in this Chapter. The application fee shall not be combined with any other fee or charge. At the beginning of each calendar year the Division of Professional Regulation, or any state agency acting in its behalf, shall compute for each separate service or activity the appropriate Board fees for the coming year.
§311. Issuance and Renewal of Certificate of Registration.
(a) Each applicant who meets the requirements of §§307 and 308 of this Chapter, or the requirements of §309 of this Chapter, and who pays the fee established under §310 of this Chapter, shall be issued a certificate of registration.
(b) Each certificate of registration shall be renewed biennially, in such manner as is determined by the Division of Professional Regulation. The Board shall, in its rules and regulations, determine the period of time within which a registered architect may still renew his or her license, notwithstanding the fact that such registered architect has failed to renew on or before the renewal date; provided, however, that such period shall not exceed one year. The Board shall charge, for each month or quarter during such 'late renewal period,' a late fee which at the end of such 'late period' shall be twice the sum of the unpaid renewal fee. At the expiration of the period designated by the Board, the certificate of registration of the registered architect shall be deemed to be lapsed and not renewable, unless the former registered architect reapplies under the same conditions which govern reciprocity; provided, however, that the former registered architect shall also pay a reinstatement fee in the amount which is three times the amount of the reciprocity fee.
§312. Certificate of Registration.
Every registered architect having a place of business or employment within the state shall display his or her certificate of registration in a conspicuous place in such place of business or employment. A new certificate of registration, to replace a lost, destroyed or mutilated certificate, shall be issued by the Board upon payment of a fee established in accordance with §310 of this Chapter. Each such duplicate certificate shall be stamped or marked 'duplicate.'
Every registered architect shall have a seal of a design authorized by the Board by regulation. All technical submissions prepared by such architect, or under his or her direct supervision, shall be stamped with the impression of his or her seal. No registered architect shall impress his or her seal on any technical submissions unless they were prepared under his or her direct supervision.
§314. Violations: Grounds for Professional Discipline
(a) An architect shall be subject to those disciplinary actions set forth in §315 of this Chpater, if, after a hearing, the Board finds that the architect:
(1) Has employed or knowingly cooperated in fraud or material deception in order to acquire a certificate of registration, or be otherwise authorized to practice architecture;
(2) Has engaged in illegal, incompetent or negligent conduct in the practice of architecture;
(3) Has, as an architect or otherwise in the practice of his or her profession, knowingly engaged in an act of consumer fraud or deception, engaged in the restraint of competition, or participated in price-fixing activities; or
(4) Has violated a lawful provision of this Chapter, or any lawful regulation established thereunder.
(b) An architect shall be subject to non-disciplinary remedial action if, after a hearing, the Board finds that there is a danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public due to:
(1) Physical illness or loss of motor skill, including but not limited to deterioration through the aging process;
(2) Temporary emotional disorder or mental illness; or
(3) Permanent emotional disorder or mental illness.
(c) If an architect's physical or mental capacity to practice safely Is at issue in a non-disciplinary remedial proceeding, the Board may order the architect to submit to a reasonable physical or mental examination. Failure to comply with such an order shall render a registered architect liable to temporary suspension or revocation of his or her certificate of registration in accordance with §315 of this Chapter, notwithstanding the Board's power to compel such attendance under paragraph (d) of this section.
(d) Where an architect fails to comply with the Board's request that he or she submit to an examination or attend a hearing, the Board may petition the Superior Court to order such examination or attendance, and the said Court or any judge assigned thereto shall have jurisdiction to issue such order.
(e) No certificate of registration shall be restricted, suspended or revoked by the Board, and no registered architect's right to practice shall be limited by the Board, until such registered architect has been given notice and an opportunity to be heard in accordance with §316 of this Chapter.
§315. Remedial Actions and Disciplinary Sanctions.
(a) The Board may impose any of the following sanctions or take any of the following actions, singly or in combination, when it finds that one of the conditions or violations set forth in §314 of this Chapter applies to an architect:
(1) Issue a letter of reprimand;
(2) Censure the architect;
(3) Place the architect on probationary status, and require him or her to:
a. Report regularly to the Board upon the matters which are the basis of the probation;
a. Limit all practice and professional activities to those areas prescribed by the Board; and/or
b. Continue or renew his or her professional education until the required degree of skill has been attained in those areas which are the basis of the probation;
(4) Suspend a registered architect's certificate of registration;
(5) Revoke a registered architect's certificate of registration;
(6) Issue cease and desist orders;
(7) Seek injunctions; and/or
(8) Seek judicial enforcement of civil fines imposed by the Board.
(b) The Board may withdraw or reduce conditions of probation when it finds that the deficiencies which required such actions have been remedied.
(c) The Board may temporarily suspend a registered architect's certificate of registration in advance of a final adjudication, or during the appeals process; but only in cases where there is a clear and immediate danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public if the registered architect is allowed to continue to practice. Such suspension may be
appealed to Superior Court.
(d) Where a certificate of registration has been suspended due to a disability of the registered architect, the Board may reinstate such certification of registration if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the registered architect is able to practice with reasonable skill and safety.
(e) As a condition to reinstatement of a suspended certificate of registration, or removal from probationary status, the Board may impose such disciplinary or corrective measures as are authorized under this Chapter.
§316. Board Hearings: Procedure.
(a) Upon the receipt of a formal complaint from the Attorney General's office, the Board shall fix the time and place of a full hearing of the matter, and it shall be scheduled to be heard as soon as practicable. The Board shall cause a copy of the complaint, together with a notice of the time and place fixed for the hearing, to be personally delivered or served upon the architect at least twenty days before the date fixed for the hearing. In cases where the architect cannot be located or where personal services cannot be effected, substitute service shall be effected in the same manner as with civil litigation.
(b) All hearings shall be informal without use of the rules of evidence. If the Board finds, by a majority vote of all members, that the complaint has merit, the Board shall take such action permitted under this Chapter as it deems necessary. The Board's decision shall be in writing and shall include its reason for such decision. A copy of the decision shall be mailed by registered mail immediately to the complainant, and to the architect. The Board's decision shall become effective on the
thirtieth day after the day it is received by the architect, unless there is an appeal to the Superior Court within that time.
(c) Where either the complainant or the architect is in disagreement with the action of the Board, either person may appeal the Board's decision to the Superior Court within thirty days of the receipt of the Board's decision. Upon such appeal, the Court shall hear the evidence 'de novo.' The filing of an appeal shall act as a stay of the Board's decision, pending final determination of the appeal.
(a) Where the Board has determined that a person is unlawfully practicing architecture within this State, in violation of this Chapter, the Board shall formally warn such person. If the offense continues, the Board shall make a formal complaint to the Attorney General. The complaint shall include all evidence known to, or in the possession of, the Board. The Attorney General, on behalf of the Board, shall have the authority to seek an injunctive order prohibiting such unlawful practice, and/or to seek the imposition of penalties as defined by this Chapter.
(b) Where the Board has placed a registered architect on probationary status under certain restrictions or conditions, and the Board has determined that such restrictions or conditions are being or have been violated by the registered architect, the Board may, after a hearing on the matter, suspend or revoke the registered architect's certificate of registration.
(c) Any person who violates any provisions of this Chapter or any rules or regulations promulgated hereunder shall be liable for a civil penalty of not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00) for the first offense; and not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) for the second and each subsequent offense, which penalty may be sued for, and recovered by, the Board. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent prosecution under, or be inconsistent with, Chapter 5, Title 11 of the Delaware Code."
Approved July 9, 1991.