Practice Guidelines

Law, rules and regulations, not Guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Guideline may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations.

B. Practice

1. Permissible Forms of Practice


  1. Authorized Practice

    Section 7302 of the New York State Education Law provides that, "Only a person licensed or otherwise authorized to practice under this article shall practice architecture or use the title "architect"". A "person licensed" is an individual who has qualified by education, experience and examination and has been issued a license to practice architecture in New York State by the State Education Department. An example of a person "otherwise authorized" may include a person (but not a corporation of any kind), licensed in another jurisdiction, who has applied for and received a limited permit to practice in New York State but only in connection with the specific project for which it is granted.

    Architectural services may be provided by:

    • A sole proprietor licensed in New York State.
    • A partnership, in which all partners are licensed, at least one as an architect. The other partners may be licensed as a professional engineer, landscape architect or land surveyor. There is no provision in New York for interior designers to have any ownership in business entities providing architectural, landscape architectural, professional engineering or land surveying services.
    • A professional service corporation, (PSC) authorized under Article 15 or 15A of the New York State Business Corporation Law.June 17, 2009 corporations where each of the shareholders, officers and directors must be licensed in New York State. The four design professions cited above may form a PSC to render those professional services for which the individuals are authorized to provide.

    For PSCs authorized under Article 15A (foreign PSCs) only the individual actually providing the professional service must be licensed in New York State, although, all officers, directors and shareholders must be licensed in some jurisdiction.

    • Professional Limited Liability Companies, both domestic and foreign, may provide architectural services. All members are required to be licensed in New York State.
    • Limited Liability Partnerships, both domestic and foreign, may provide architecture services and all partners must be licensed in New York State.
    • Grandfathered corporations, that is a general business corporation organized and existing under the laws of New York and which, on or before April 12, 1929 and continually thereafter, was lawfully practicing in New York. The chief executive officer of such a corporation must be an architect licensed in New York.

    No other entity or individual, including a general business corporation authorized under the laws of another jurisdiction to practice, may practice architecture in New York State. A New York licensee who is an officer or employee of a general business corporation operating in New York, or in another jurisdiction, cannot provide architectural services in New York as an officer or employee of that corporation but can do so only as an individual. A contract with a client in New York State must be between the individual licensee and the client and not between the corporate employer (i.e. the corporation) and the client.

    An entity not authorized to provide architectural services, such as a general contractor, cannot subcontract with, or employ, an architect in order to provide architectural services to a third party client, except in accordance with Regent Rules 29.3(b)2. See Guidelines B3 and B7.

  2. Unauthorized Practice

    State laws related to the regulation of the professions in New York are designed to protect the public. Any architectural services performed for a project or site located within the State, whether for a New York or out-of-state client, are subject to the laws of this State and must be performed by a person licensed or otherwise authorized to practice in New York.

    The laws of the State are clear in regard to unauthorized practice. It is a Class E felony for anyone not authorized to practice, to offer to practice, or to hold themselves out as being able to practice in any profession in which a license is a prerequisite to practice.* Professional misconduct includes permitting, aiding or abetting an unlicensed person to perform activities requiring a license;** and it is a Class E felony for anyone, including a public official, to knowingly aid or abet three or more unlicensed persons practice a profession which requires a license.***

    *Education Law Section 6512.1
    **Education Law Section 6509
    ***Education Law Section 6512

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Last Updated: June 17, 2009