NEWSLETTER: DECEMBER 2018

Category : Newsletters

Time to Renew Your Architect License

Individual licenses to practice architecture in Louisiana run on the calendar year and will expire on December 31, 2018. A postcard reminder was mailed in late October and e-mail reminders have been sent to the address on file with the Board office. If you have not done so already, please take a moment to renew your license.

This link will take you to a page where you will have an option to establish a user id and password to access our Applications Portal or you can establish one-time access to the portal. It is important to note that for security purposes, if you choose to go with the one-time access, you must use the same e-mail address that you have on file with the Board office and you must use the same computer when entering your e-mail address and accessing the Applications Portal.

A new feature of our recently released database allows you to complete your application online and submit a check payment. Please note that Architects paying by check must ensure that the check is received in the Board office or postmarked by December 31, 2018. We will accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express for online credit card payments. Once your renewal application has been approved, you will receive an e-mail indicating that your license has been renewed. The email will also contain a pdf of your updated license. Please be sure to print this for your records.

Reminder: All architects (both in-state and-out-of-state) are required to complete 12 CEHs of HSW in the calendar year prior to renewal in order to renew their individual Louisiana licenses. This means that you must have completed 12 CEH in HSW in calendar year 2017.

Architect licenses run on the calendar year (January 1 through December 31) and Firm licenses run on the half-year (July 1 through June 30).

View the FULL PDF here

President’s Report

Robert W. McKinney, AIA, NCARB

It has been an honor to serve the architects and citizens of Louisiana by serving as the President of the Louisiana State Board of Architectural Examiners this past year. In addition to marking the end of my service as President, the start of 2019 signals the end of my second six-year term on the board. My thanks go to Teeny Simmons, the late Executive Director of the LSBAE who encouraged me to seek the Educator/Architect position on the Board. For those of us who remember Teeny, you will recall her kindness and her way of talking you into something that perhaps you were not sure you could do. During the past 12 years I have had the privilege of working with a group of architects and public member on the board, including Allen Bacque, AIA, NCARB; Ron Blitch, FAIA, NCARB, FACHA; David Brinson, AIA, NCARB; Creed Brierre, FAIA; Michael Holly, AIA, NCARB; Richard LeBlanc, AIA, NCARB; and Knox Tumlin, AIA, NCARB, CSI. I have learned a tremendous amount from each of these members.

During my time on the board, I have had the opportunity to work on revisions to the laws and rules, including the thresholds for practice, and most recently incidental practice. A significant achievement has been the establishment of the Architecture Education Research Fund to provide resources to the accredited professional architecture programs in Louisiana to advance architectural education and the students’ understanding of health, safety, welfare and licensing requirements and processes.

Our licensing law and the Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying (LAPELS) board’s licensing law both acknowledge that overlap exists between the professions of architecture and engineering, and include an allowance for members of the other profession to engage in architecture (or engineering) as is incidental to the practice of engineering (or architecture) so long as it is necessarily incidental to his/her work as an engineer (or architect).

Last spring, I shared information with you about the Task Force established to develop a definition that will help to identify the lines of practice. The Task Force has completed their work and forwarded the draft definition to LSBAE and LAPELS for consideration. Both boards have reviewed the draft and provided feedback to the Task Force for minor modifications. It is our desire that LSBAE and LAPELS will come to an agreement on the proposed definition in early 2019. Once that agreement is reached, both boards will be submitting a proposal to add this definition to their Rules. As with all proposed Rule changes, comments will be accepted from the public.

My service to the LSBAE has afforded me opportunities to further serve Louisiana’s architects through work on NCARB committees and as an officer in the Southern Conference of NCARB. As an educator, one of the most challenging committees to serve on was the ARE committees developing exam questions for Construction Documents & Services, and the Building Design & Construction Systems. I also had the opportunity to work on the Exam and Education committees during the development of ARE 5.0 and currently serve on the Regional Leadership and Policy Advisory Committees as Regional Chair of the SCNCARB. In each of these roles, I have been able to bring the issues of architectural practice in Louisiana to a broader forum. It is my goal to continue as an NCARB representative on NAAB accrediting teams, where I have been able to balance my roles as an educator, administrator, and architect.

It is my vision that in the coming year LSBAE will finalize implementation of the Architecture Education Research Fund and continue to build the collaborative efforts with other professionals in the building industry. The new leadership of the board through Kathy Hillegas as Executive Director and the team she has assembled including Tyson Ducote, Deputy Director; Holly Lavigne, Compliance Investigator; and Debbie Thornton, the Administrative coordinator, will continue to advance architectural licensure and ensure that Louisiana is at the forefront of architectural regulation.

Happy holidays and wishing each of the architects who practice in Louisiana a healthy and safe start to the new year!

 

Executive Directors Report

Katherine E. Hillegas, Executive Director

It has been a busy summer and fall for staff here at LSBAE. The database that we have used to track your licensure information was very dated and fragile, so we have been working on developing a new system that will maintain your information, allow for greater ease when renewing your license and most importantly, provide a greater level of data security. Protection of your information is a major priority for the Board in today’s technological world.

We launched this new system with the 2019 renewal cycle for individual licenses in early November and from all accounts, it has gone fairly smoothly. That is not to say that it has not been without some glitches and bumps in the road. I would like to thank those individuals who had the misfortune of experiencing those glitches for their patience as we worked our way through the transition. Your kindness and understanding helped us understand the bugs and work with developers to come up with solutions for these issues.

The release of the renewal process marks the beginning of launching the new database system. Future planned enhancements include tying firm registrations to individual registrations and providing you with the ability to update and renew your firm registration online. We expect to launch that this spring when firm renewals open up.

Remember, your individual license runs on the calendar year (January 1 – December 31) and your firm license runs on the half year (July 1 – June 30).

Additional plans for the system include the creation of a customer portal where you will be able to go in an update information in your record. I cannot begin to stress the importance of ensuring that we have current contact information on you in our system. Like many others, we rely on technology as the means to deliver information to you. While we do take the task of sending reminders about your license renewal seriously, the ultimate responsibility to renew your license lies with you.

Important Things to Remember When Accessing Your Renewal Application

The e-mail in your record in our database is tied to your access to the applications portal. This means that you must use that e-mail address to access your renewal application.

New Website

In addition to developing a new database, we have also launched a new website which we hope you will find easier to navigate and more user friendly. The new site has been broken into two segments, one focused on the architects and prospective architects and one providing information for the consumer. The Board was established to create public protection by safeguarding life, health and property through the regulation of the practice of architecture, so we felt it was important to include a section focused on the consumer. It is our wish that this consumer section will help to better explain the role of the architect and expectations as it relates to the Board’s role.

The site also features a new section containing Frequently Asked Questions, which we hope will provide more information to our site visitors. I encourage you to take a moment and view the site when time permits. We welcome your feedback! It is our desire to ensure that the site provides you with all the information you need related to the regulation of architecture in Louisiana.

These two projects have kept us quite busy over the past several months and I anticipate that pace will continue for some time as we continue to evolve the database and build the firm functionality.

As always, we are always available to assist any time you need.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Congratulations to Our New Licensees by Examination

The Board is pleased to announce that the following individuals were licensed between April 12, 2018 and November 8, 2018

Jenny LaBatt Aita                         Baton Rouge, LA

Blake Bergeron                             New Orleans, LA

Stephanie Lane Boyles              Covington, LA

Michael John Bradshaw            Lafayette, LA

Emily Castro                                  New Orleans, LA

Cheryl Diana Cloud                     Baton Rouge, LA

Jacob M. Cotton                            Baton Rouge, LA

Kyle G. Daroca                               Baton Rouge, LA

Nathaniel Frank                           Baton Rouge, LA

Franklin E. Garcia                        New Orleans, LA

Trenton Michael Gauthier        New Orleans, LA

Jennifer Lynn Kaltwasser          Belle Chasse, LA

Cary J. Laiche, Sr.                          Berwick, LA

Emile LeJeune                                Baton Rouge, LA

Reanell E. McClure                       Hammond, LA

Nicholas C. Musser                      New Orleans, LA

Kirk E. Oldenburg, II                   New Orleans, LA

Joshua Peak                                     Baton Rouge, LA

Stefan Pitre                                      Baton Rouge, LA

Logan Pittman                                Mandeville, LA

John David Scott                            New Orleans, LA

Josie Sexton                                     New Orleans, LA

June Yen Tran                                  Covington, LA

Thomas A. Weathers                    Gretna, LA

Jennifer Wickham                         Metairie, LA

Alan Wold                                         New Orleans, LA

Keely Williams                               New Orleans, LA

 

New Licensees Honored at AIA Awards Ceremony

The following individuals were recognized for receiving their license to practice architecture during the AIA Awards Ceremony held during the AIA Louisiana’s 75th Anniversary Celebration in New Orleans this past September. These individuals were presented with a surveyor’s benchmark with their name and license number:

Tracie L. Ashe, Kevin R. Barns, Kristen Adele Caulk, Alyce Chantal Deshotels, Evan Kyle Dowden, Amy Garrett, Sarah E. Gravois, Jiayi Hong, Travis M. Jore, John W. Kleinschmidt, Michael C. Miller, Susan M. Naquin, Kathleen A. Peaden, Monica Lynn Perez, Jennifer Price, Ravelle Reed, II, Christopher M. Stelly, Shea Michael Trahan, Thomas A. Weathers

Benchmarks were also delivered to all other individuals earning Their license by examination. Contact the board office for an order form if you are interested in having a benchmark produced.

 

Board Attorney’s Report

Paul H. Spaht, LSBAE Board Attorney

The Board is in the process of amending the Rules of Conduct (Rule §1901) and updating the HSW Subjects in its Continuing Education Definition (Rule §1315). These changes come as a result of resolutions passed at the 2018 NCARB Annual Business Meeting. As a reminder, through its 55 member boards, NCARB establishes a Model Rules of Conduct and a Model Law and Model Regulations document which are intended to serve as guidelines for each Member Board as they regulate the practice of architecture. Each Member Board is provided an opportunity to weigh in on proposed changes to these documents prior to voting.

More importantly, while these documents serve as a guideline, it is up to each Member Board to determine how or whether they will adopt provisions in the document.

Rules of Conduct

The current rules of conduct were modeled after the NCARB Rules of Conduct published in 1977. In 2015, NCARB established an Ethics Task Force to review the Rules of Conduct for relevance and currency to today’s practice of architecture. Over the course of two and a half years, the task force conducted an extensive, word-by-word review of the Rules – the first comprehensive review conducted since the Rules were written in 1977. The task force reviewed codes of conduct for architects from various countries/organizations around the world, as well as those of design-related professions (interior design, landscape architecture, and engineering) and other professions regulated in the United States (accounting, psychology, and medicine).

This review resulted in several areas of change, including long overdue “housekeeping” changes; separating and restating rules with more than one idea to bring clarity; deleting some of the former rules; creating new rules to cover new subjects; and creating a final section to focus on the sealing of documents. The rules being considered for adoption by the Board are modeled after the Model Rules, but are not a wholesale adoption of the NCARB Model Rules. A Notice of Intent containing the proposed rules was published in the Louisiana Register on November 20, 2018, such NOI published on the board website, www.lsbae.com, at that same time. A review of the proposed rules can be made by reviewing this NOI on the board website.  The proposed rules codify current practices and clarify existing rules of conduct to ensure that they remain relevant to contemporary architectural practice. This is particularly true with the proposed rules concerning the competence of architects, conflicts of interest, full disclosure, and compliance with laws.

Provisions in the proposed rules which might be considered new, in whole or in part, include:

  • In design, an architect shall take into account the applicable federal, state, and local building laws and regulations;
  • An architect shall not perform professional services in the face of a conflict of interest that is not fully disclosed and waived in writing by all parties;
  • An architect serving as an AXP Supervisor for a candidate for licensure shall not have any relationship with the candidate that would interfere with the objectivity of the AXP Supervisor’s certification of the candidate’s experience;
  • An architect shall not misrepresent the architect’s qualifications, capabilities, and experience, or that of the architect’s firm;
  • An architect shall not knowingly sign any verification document related to licensure that contains false or misleading information and shall not assist in the application for licensure of a person known by the architect to be unqualified; and
  • An employer engaged in the practice of architecture found by a court or administrative tribunal to have violated the law of the United States or any U.S. jurisdiction protecting the rights of persons working for the employer, such as those pertaining to harassment, discrimination, and unfair competition, shall be subject to discipline.

In addition, the final section of the proposed rules, which concerns the sealing of documents, is new. Our Board elected to adopt the NCARB Rules of Conduct in part, modifying some sections that they felt strongly were important for the practice of architecture in Louisiana and incorporating important commentary which helps explain the rationale for some rules. A thorough read of the proposed Rules of Conduct, available on the board website, is strongly recommended.

Continuing Education Definition of HSW Subjects

The Board is also in the process of amending the definition of HSW Subjects contained in its Continuing Education rules (Rule §1315). The existing continuing education rules require that architects, unless exempt, complete a minimum of 12 continuing education hours each calendar year in health, safety, and welfare subjects as a condition of renewing registration. Board Rule §1315.C, which is being amended, defines the health, safety, and welfare subjects.

The proposed amendments to the definition of HSW Subjects will align the categories of health, safety, and welfare subjects with the current experience areas of the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) and the practice areas of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). In addition, it expands the number of qualifying educational topics.

A review of the proposed new definition can be made by reviewing this NOI which is posted on the board website. A Notice of Intent containing the proposed amended definition was published in the Louisiana Register on November 20, 2018.

Enforcement Report

Tyson Ducote, Deputy Director

One important function of the Board is to investigate alleged violations of the statutes and rules which regulate the practice of architecture in Louisiana. Substantiated violations result in disciplinary or enforcement action being taken either through a Consent Order or by Board Order following a formal hearing. Below are summaries of the disciplinary actions taken by the Board since the previous issue of the newsletter last May.

Offering and/or Practicing Architecture with an Expired License

Michael W. LeBlanc, an architect (license #3140), was subject to disciplinary action by the Board for practicing and/or offering to practice architecture with an expired license in violation of La. R.S. 37:153(A)(3) and 37:154(A). Mr. LeBlanc’s license was in an expired status from January 1, 2017, through December 18, 2017, and during this time period, he admittedly offered to provide architectural services in Louisiana and provided architectural services on six projects in Louisiana. Mr. LeBlanc has entered into a Consent Order with the Board, wherein he admitted to the referenced violations of the above laws and agreed to pay a fine of $1,000; to pay administrative costs of $195.72; to the printing of a summary of this matter identifying Mr. LeBlanc by name in this publication, and to the reporting of this matter to the NCARB Disciplinary Database.

MWL Architects, Inc., a professional architectural corporation (license #AC0289), was subject to disciplinary action by the Board for practicing and/or offering to practice architecture with an expired license in violation of La. R.S.  37:153(A)(3) and 37:154(A). The firm’s license was in an expired status from July 1, 2017, through December 18, 2017, and during this time period it admittedly offered to provide architectural services and provided architectural services on three projects in Louisiana. The firm has entered into a Consent Order with the Board, wherein it admitted to the referenced violations of the above laws and agreed to pay a fine of $500; to pay administrative costs of $195.72; to the printing of a summary of this matter identifying the firm by name in this publication, and to the reporting of this matter to the NCARB Disciplinary Database.

Street Collaborative LLC, an architectural firm (license #LL0500), was subject to disciplinary action by the Board for practicing and/or offering to practice architecture in Louisiana with an expired license in violation of La. R.S. 37:153(A)(3) and 37:154(A). The firm’s license was in an expired status from July 1, 2016, through March 21, 2017, and during this time period it admittedly offered to provide architectural services and provided architectural services on three projects in Louisiana. The firm has entered into a Consent Order with the Board, wherein it admitted to the referenced violations of the above laws and agreed to pay a fine of $1,000; to pay administrative costs of $197.91; and to the publication of the Consent Order on the Board’s website, the printing of a summary of this matter identifying the firm by name in this publication, and the reporting of this matter to the NCARB Disciplinary Database.

Unlicensed Offering and/or Practicing of Architecture

Smith & Williams Architectural and Engineering Design Consultants, LLC, an unlicensed firm, was subject to  enforcement action by the Board for practicing and/or offering to practice architecture and using the terms “architect,” “architectural,” and “architecture” without proper licensure in violation of La. R.S. 37:145(A) and La. R.S. 37:154(A), to wit LAC Title 46: I§1527. Between March 2012 and the issuance of the Consent Order, the firm provided and offered to provide architecture services on multiple projects in Louisiana. Further, (i) since July 2015 the firm has represented on its Merchant Circle and Manta pages and (ii) since January 2016 the firm has represented on its Angie’s List page that it offered (1) “project concepts on urban architecture and design,” (2) that those designs are “made by licensed architects,” and (3) that customers should “contact our architecture firm today.” The firm has entered into a Consent Order with the Board, wherein it admitted to the referenced violations of the above laws/rules and agreed to pay a fine of $1,500; to pay administrative costs of $140.03; to immediately cease and desist from practicing and/or offering to practice architecture and from using the terms “architect,” “ architectural,” “ architecture,” or anything confusingly similar in referring to itself or in describing or promoting its business or activities in Louisiana until it is duly licensed by the Board; to the printing of a summary of this matter identifying the firm by name in this publication, and to the reporting of this matter to the NCARB Disciplinary Database.

ProjX, LLC of Tennessee, an unlicensed firm which subsequently became licensed as an architectural firm effective December 14, 2017 (license #LL0617), was subject to enforcement action by the Board for practicing and/or offering to practice architecture without proper licensure in violation of La. R.S. 37:145(A) and R.S. 37:154(A). In March of 2016 the firm admittedly offered to provide architectural services in Louisiana and provided architectural services on one project in Louisiana. The firm has entered into a Consent Order with the Board, wherein it admitted to the referenced violations of the above laws and agreed to pay a fine of $1,500; to pay administrative costs of $185.69; to the printing of a summary of this matter identifying the firm by name in this publication, and to the reporting of this matter to the NCARB Disciplinary Database.

Other Violations

Ward Elmo Bryant, Jr., an architect (license #4391), was subject to disciplinary action by the Board. Conviction of a felony under the laws of the State of Louisiana is a violation of La. R.S. 37:153(A)(4). On or about February 5, 2018, Mr. Bryan pled guilty to Distribution of a Schedule II, Controlled Dangerous Substance under La. R.S. 40:967(A)(1)(A), a felony. Mr. Bryant has entered into a Consent Order with the Board, wherein he admitted to the referenced violation of the above law and agreed to the suspension of his architect license for three (3) years; to immediately cease and desist from practicing and/or offering to practice architecture in Louisiana until the period of suspension is over; to return his Louisiana certificate of architectural licensure and all seals to the Board; to pay a fine of $3,000; to pay administrative costs of $963.57; to the automatic and immediate revocation of his architect license if he fails to pay the fines and costs associated with the case; and to the publication of the Consent Order on the Board’s website; to the printing of a summary of this matter identifying Mr. Bryant by name in this publication, and to the reporting of this matter to the NCARB Disciplinary Database.

Michael G. Schmidt, an architect (license #4109), was subject to disciplinary action by the Board. The Board received information suggesting that Mr. Schmidt had sealed drawings prepared by consulting engineers in violation of La. R.S. 37:153(A)(6) to wit LAC Title 46: I§1305(A). The Board contended that on or about May 10, 2013, Mr. Schmidt sealed, signed and issued a complete set of design plans for a new multi-purpose recreation building project in Louisiana which included electrical, mechanical, structural and civil engineering sheets. Mr. Schmidt did not admit to violating any law or rule of the Board. The Board and Mr. Schmidt entered into a Consent Order wherein Mr. Schmidt did not admit to the referenced violation of the above law/rule; however, to dispense with the need for further disciplinary action and to conclude the instant proceeding without further delay and expense, Mr. Schmidt agreed to pay a fine of $1,500; to pay administrative costs of $331.28; to not place his Louisiana architect seal or stamp on contract drawings and specifications prepared by a consulting electrical, mechanical, structural, or other engineer; to the printing of a summary of this matter identifying Mr. Schmidt by name in this publication, and to the reporting of this matter the NCARB Disciplinary Database.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been taken to ensure that the aforementioned information is correct, however, it should not be relied upon without verification from the Board office. Please note that the names of companies and individuals listed could be similar to other parties who have not had enforcement actions taken against them.

 

OSFM Plan Review Corner

Joe Delaune, Chief Architect

We are on pace to receive approximately 19,000 plan submittals this year – a new record high. Our staff of architects and engineers manage an average of 40 projects at any given time, with the goal of addressing them within 5 days of submittal (note that addressing them does not guarantee approval). About 65% of projects are currently being addressed within this time frame, which also corresponds to our percentage of open staff positions. I have no doubt that we will achieve our goal of 100% within 5 days once these positions are filled. We now have seven architect and engineer positions available and have been meeting with Civil Service and Human Resource staff for assistance with filling them.

We are currently performing eleven different categories of review, most having several subcategories within them. Cross training of staff to perform as many of these review types as possible is key to meeting our 5-day goal and to keep the cost at a minimum. There were only one or two categories of review when this office was originally established. Over the years, various pieces of legislation and rules were passed to add additional categories. Where there’s a need for statewide enforcement, industry groups and legislators typically look to us first. In addition to the architectural, fire alarm, sprinkler, suppression, locking, fuel tank, special locking, and equivalency reviews, there are the recently added categories of Industrialized Buildings, LSUCC, LDH, Licensed Facilities, and Solid Waste Emergency Response plans.

I’m asked from time to time why we hire professional architects and engineers and not certified plan reviewers. Besides the peer to peer consulting, experience with real construction issues, and a courtesy to the industries that we serve; the plan review certification programs are created by specific code development entities to address the books that they publish. There is no certification program other than our own that addresses all 11 review categories. State adoptions, code amendments, laws, and rules that are unique to Louisiana are also not addressed by these entities. Architects are a natural fit for cross training and understand the unique application of the requirements in Louisiana. Engineers grasp the technical aspects of the requirements and help find solutions to specific problems. Our team of professionals are code managers and not simply plan reviewers. By only hiring certified plan reviewers, we would need to departmentalize the review section and at least double the number of staff in order to maintain a reasonable backlog. Coordination of these requirements is a must for safe, code compliant construction to continue in the state.

The plan review and inspection divisions of this office were established to provide uniform low cost enforcement for the entire state. Our program is funded primarily by a fire insurance tax and only supplemented by low plan submittal fees. Louisiana, being a rural state, has higher volumes of construction concentrated in the high population areas with lower volumes in the rural areas. Without the need to rely on permit fees, this office is able to provide consistent and fair coverage to all areas of the state equally.

On another note, architectural reviews are released with the provision that the applicable life safety systems (sprinkler, fire alarm, suppression, locking, etc.) are subsequently submitted for review after the licensed installer and equipment manufacturer are selected. This allows bidding, permitting and construction to commence while the system submittals are being prepared.

These systems are considered an integral required part of the architectural review and, for those projects requiring a Professional of Record (POR) by law, the POR is responsible for them. We do allow submittals to be made directly from the licensed sub-contractor; however, the requirement is for the POR to have reviewed and approved the submittal. The shop drawing review stamp, and the “send PIN” electronic review stamp are acceptable acknowledgement. Please never forward the PIN to anyone; this process was established as a courtesy and convenience to you and does not relieve responsibility. We do reject improperly routed submittals and may possibly be imposing fines on licensed fire protection contractors who enter the PIN themselves. We have received feedback from industry regarding the timeliness of the shop drawing reviews. Please be vigilant with these reviews and address them as soon as possible. I have explained the Architect-Owner relationship, the Contractor-Owner relationship, and the Contractor-Sub-Contractor relationship; however, these systems that are submitted by the sub-contractor are done so on your behalf and there needs to be a better Architect-Sub-Contractor relationship.

We will be implementing new changes to our Information Management System (OSFM-IMS) early next year to enhance this process. The system reviews will automatically share access with the applicant identified on the linked architectural review (without the need for a log-on ID), who will, in turn, have the ability to share with the engineer when applicable. Please let me know if you have any requests or concerns regarding this process, any and all suggestions are studied and implemented where possible.

One last note: I would be remiss to not mention the award we have received for our OSFM-IMS system. Chief Browning and I attended the National Association of State Fire Marshals convention in Utah this past summer where we received the “Innovations in Fire Prevention” award for the system. We are very proud of what we have been able to accomplish with this system on your behalf!

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