The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced its opposition to growing efforts by states aimed at delicensing professions such as architecture, pointing out that such efforts can potentially endanger the health, safety and welfare of the public.
In its first Where We Stand statement of 2018, AIA addressed a trend among a growing number of states to roll back licensing requirements for a host of professions, including architecture. The efforts have the goal of increasing job opportunities and removing unnecessary barriers to competition. They also have the unintended potential for lowering the standard of care many of these same professions give the public.
“The essential purpose of licensing architects is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public and shield consumers from unqualified practitioners,” says AIA President Carl Elefante, FAIA. “This is a responsibility our profession fully accepts and takes seriously, and we will fight any effort to minimize the requirements for professional licensure in architecture.”
Efforts to roll back licensure requirements that may impact architects through legislation or executive action are already taking place in at least 25 states, including Wisconsin, Arkansas and Arizona. Many times this involves the establishment of a professional licensure review committee tasked to ensure that the least restrictive regulations are being used to regulate all professions in addition to making recommendations for the elimination of licenses in the state.
The AIA statement expresses support for continuing the power of state licensing boards to regulate professions, including architecture. And it also supports efforts to let licensed architects practice across state lines. Indeed, the ability of architects to practice in other states is crucial to helping state governments recover from such natural disasters as hurricanes.
In 2017 the AIA began issuing Where We Stand statements on issues affecting the profession and the general public, as a way of stating the values the profession espouses. The AIA last year issued Where We Stand statements on architectural values and on immigration, climate change and infrastructure.