FIRM REGISTRATION OVERHAUL

Newsletter: April 2017

Category : Newsletters

View the PDF here.

In response to the evolution of ways a firm can structure itself to practice architecture and because the Board believes that all architectural firms should compete on a level playing field, the Louisiana State Board of Architectural Examiners has recently completed an overhaul of firm registration requirements. These changes will become effective on July 1, 2017, and are relevant to all new applications and renewals for FY 2017-2018 (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018).

We first shared information about these changes with you in the December 2016 issue of the LSBAE Newsletter. Over the next several weeks the Board will be reaching out to all firms currently registered in Louisiana to share this information, but recognized that it was equally as important to inform all architects registered to practice in the state of Louisiana about these changes. These changes will impact some of you practicing as a sole proprietorship, partnership or limited liability partnership, so
please read this carefully. A summary of the changes is outlined below for your information.

Fees for registration in Louisiana have not changed since 1980. Effective July 1, 2017, for FY 2017-2018 firm licenses and renewals, fees for firm registration will be as shown at right. These new fees become effective for all new applications and renewals for FY2017-2018 (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018). That means if you are renewing your firm registration for this time period, you will pay the new fee. New applications will be charged the new fees beginning on July 1, 2017.

In-State Firms
Initial Registration Fee: $75 (used to be $50).
Annual Renewal Fee: $75 (used to be $50)
Delinquent Fee: $75 (used to be $50) Firms that have let their registration lapse are required to pay a delinquent fee AND their renewal fee.

Out-of-State Firms
Initial Registration Fee: $150 (used to be $50).
Annual Renewal Fee: $150 (used to be $50).
Delinquent Fee: $150 (used to be $50). Firms that have let their registration lapse are required to pay both the delinquent fee AND their renewal fee.

New Category, Firm Definition Changes

Under the new rules, conducting business in Louisiana will now be required to register with the Board. The Board has created a new category for firms who do not fit the requirements for traditional firm registration as a limited liability company, an architectural- engineering corporation, or a professional architectural corporation. That new category is called “Architectural Firm.” More information about this category is contained below.

Attached to this message are the new rules that outline these requirements (LAC 46:I. Chapter 17). The term “supervising professional architect” is referenced throughout the qualifications for firm registration for many firm structures. The “supervising professional architect” is the architect identified as being responsible for performing or directly super- vising the performance of all architectural services for the firm. This means unrestricted, unchecked, and unqualified command of, and legal accountability for, all architectural services performed in Louisiana.

New Firm Categories

Professional Architectural Corporations

Professional architectural corporations operate under La. R. S. 12:1086 through R.S. 12:1101. This statute requires that a majority of stock must be held by Louisiana-licensed architects, and the Board must contain a certain number of Louisiana-licensed architects.

If your firm is currently registered as a professional architectural corporation (AC), you will not need to do anything differently from what you are currently doing in order to stay compliant with the new rules. architectural corporations can be found in §1701 of the Board regulations.

Limited Liability Companies

Limited liability companies are companies registered under La. R. S. 12:13:1301. To qualify as a limited liability company, the firm must designate a full time active employee who is a licensed architect in Louisiana and whose primary occupation is with that company as the supervising professional architect.

If you are currently registered as an LLC, you will not need to do anything differently from what you are currently doing to stay compliant with the new rules.

Architectural Engineering Corporations

Architectural-engineering corporations must meet the requirement of designating one or more supervising professional architects who shall perform or directly supervise the performance of all architectural services by the corporation, and designating the supervising professional engineer who shall perform or directly supervise the performance of all engineering services by the corporation. (La. R.S. 12:1173). If you are currently registered as an architectural- engineering corporation, you will not need to do anything differently from what you are currently doing in order to stay compliant with the new rules. Please remember though to check with the Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board to ensure that you are in compliance with their registration rules for engineering.

To reiterate, firms currently registered as professional architectural corporation, limited lability company, or architectural-engineering corporation will not need to do anything differently under the new rules. A renewal notice will be mailed to your firm in May.

Architectural Firms

This NEW category covers any entity lawfully organized under Louisiana or any outside state’s law. For example,if in your home state, no matter what kind, you must now the State of Louisiana. To qualify as an “Architectural Firm,” you must designate one or more supervising professional architects who shall perform or directly supervise the performance of all architectural services provided by the firm. The licensed supervising architect must be a full-time employee of the firm who performs and/or directly supervises the performance of all architectural services. (LAC 46:I. §1705.G).

Partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships

If you practice as a partnership or a limited liability partnership, you will need to register your firm and obtain a certificate of authority from the board. To do this, you will simply download and complete the Architectural Firm application form. You will be required to pay the fee described earlier.

Sole Proprietorships

If you are a sole proprietorship practicing architecture in Louisiana under your name, you will not be required to obtain a certificate of authority from the Board. Stated otherwise, sole proprietors will not need to do anything differently from what you are currently doing. However, a sole proprietorship practicing under some name other than the name of an individual registered with the board is required to obtain a certificate of authority from the board.

Questions?

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact bd@lsbae.com or Kathy Hillegas (khillegas@lsbae.com).