Unlicensed Architecture Activity FAQs
What is unlicensed activity?
Unlicensed activity occurs when a person performs or offers to perform a job or service that requires licensure, such as the services offered by a licensed architect. Unlicensed activity is also a criminal offense and is referred to the local state attorney for prosecution.
Why is it a problem?
Unlicensed activity is a serious threat to the health, safety and welfare of Florida residents and visitors. Unlicensed activity also takes away business and jobs from properly licensed architects who undergo rigorous education, testing and licensure requirements. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has made enforcement of licensure regulation a priority. Your video may be used to help educate the public on this important issue.
What should the video address?
- What is unlicensed activity and how does a consumer recognize it?
- Why is it important to use a licensed architect?
- What skills do licensed architects possess and what type of work requires a licensed architect?
- Inform consumers where to go online for more information and resources on unlicensed activity.
Where can I get more information on licensure?
See the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Board of Architecture and Interior Design webpage at: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pro/arch/index.html
What are some common signs of unlicensed architecture?
- Quotes from an unlicensed individual are usually much lower than a proposal from someone that is licensed. Many times the quote is so low because the unlicensed individual never has any intention to provide drawings that are permit-ready. The unlicensed person gets his or her money upfront and then never produces the drawings. Because the person is not regulated, the consumer’s only recourse is to file a civil action which can be costly and time consuming.
- Project quotes may also be much cheaper than the actual cost to complete the project because of the unlicensed individual’s lack of training and expertise. For example, an unlicensed person may tell the client that the total construction cost for a project will be $300,000. Halfway through the project, the client is told an additional $50,000 is needed because the unlicensed individual underestimated the costs. Obtaining these additional funds can be very costly to the client or, even worse, could stop construction all together. If a licensed architect was involved from the beginning, there is a better chance the projected costs will be accurate and proper financing could be obtained by the client.
- Unlicensed individuals tend to be slower on the job. Most of the time, unlicensed individuals cannot get a permit and need to hire a licensed architect or engineer to sign and seal his or her drawings. In the cases where the unlicensed person is dealing directly with the consumer, the licensed professional is not exercising proper responsible supervisory control of the project. The less involved the design professional is on the project, the more likely the plans will be rejected by the building department. The more often the plans are rejected by the building department, the longer the project is delayed, which can have a significant economic impact on the client.
Who can I contact for more information about the PSA contest, licensing and unlicensed activity?
Office of Communications
Department of Business and Professional Regulation
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2208