FILING A COMPLAINT


The Alabama Board for Registration of Architects is authorized under §34-2-34 to regulate, enforce and investigate alleged violations of its statutes and rules by architects and non-architects. The Board has the power to levy fines, to suspend registration, to revoke registration, and/or other appropriate measures upon any architect found guilty of any violation.

Common violations committed by architects are plan stamping, aiding and abetting, practicing with a lapsed license, code of conduct violations, and offering or performing architectural services without holding a registration to do so. Non-architects usually commit violations such as engaging in the unlicensed practice of architecture and the illegal advertisement of architectural services.

The Board does not have jurisdiction over contractual disputes involving registrants. State law prohibits us from giving you legal advice, legal opinions, or action as a ‘private’ attorney. If you have suffered or may suffer civil wrongs such as significant monetary loss, you may want to contact private counsel to discuss your legal civil rights and remedies.


The Complaint Process

After an official written complaint has been filed, the complainant will receive written confirmation from the Board indicating the complaint was received.  The complaint is reviewed by the Executive Director.  If it is determined the complaint falls under the purview of the Board and that there may be cause to believe that a violation of the Board's statutes or regulations has occurred, a file is opened and an investigation commenced. The investigative process could take a few days, weeks, or perhaps months, depending on the complexity of the case.   

Upon completion of the investigation, the Board has the option to close the case citing no violation, settle the matter informally, gather further information, or file formal charges against the architect.

If charges are filed, the architect will receive a letter by certified mail outlining the specific charges and offered the opportunity to sign a settlement agreement and pay the required fine.  If a hearing is not requested, the Board will review the evidence it has and decide the appropriate disciplinary action and issue a Final Order.

Disciplinary action taken against an architect may include a monetary fine, reprimand, suspension, or revocation of his/her architectural registration.

The Board recently gained statutory authority over unlicensed persons practicing architecture and, therefore, can take action against them. 


Alternatives to Filing a Complaint with the Board

1. Discuss the issue with the architect or their supervisor
2. Small Claims Court
3. Arbitration or mediation
4. Contact the Better Business Bureau
5. File an Ethics Complaint with the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
    if the individual is a member of the AIA.


What the Board Does Not Investigate

Be advised that the Board generally does not become involved in contractual matters or financial disputes between an architect and a client, unless it involves an allegation that services were billed for, but were not rendered, or if there is evidence of fraud. Usually, these issues are considered civil matters and should be pursued in a court of law.

Additionally, the Board does not establish, set, or review costs and fees for architectural services. Architectural fees and costs are a private business matter between an architect and a client. However, if wrongdoing by an architect is proven in a court of law, send the Board a certified copy of the order issued by the Court and the Board will review the matter

 

How to File a Complaint

All complaints against architects or non-architects must be made in writing.  Complaints may be mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to the Board’s Executive Director, or by utilizing our on-line complaint form.  Complaints must contain a detailed factual summary of the issue along with supporting documentation, such as contracts, invoices, correspondence, letterhead, business cards, construction documents, photos, etc.