Complaints and the Discipline of Architects
The Ohio Architects Board and Ohio Landscape Architects Board are authorized under Chapters 4703 of the Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Administrative Code to regulate, enforce and investigate alleged violations of its laws and rules by architects, landscape architects and non-licensed persons. Enforcement of licensing violations are a critical to ensuring that our licensees are competent to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
The Board reviews all complaints in a timely manner in order to make sure complaints are processed and appropriate action taken. It may, however, take several months to resolve a case, due to the timing of Board meetings and the need to allow related parties the opportunity to respond to the complaint.
How to File a Complaint
Anyone may file a complaint. All complaints should be made in writing and may be made via the eLicense Portal at https://elicense.ohio.gov, mailed, or emailed to the Board. Anonymous complaints are accepted. However, an anonymous complaint makes follow up difficult and the board may be unable to resolve the complaint.
All complaints, including anonymous complaints, must contain a detailed factual summary of the issue along with supporting documentation and evidence to prove a violation; including but not limited to: names, dates, addresses, contracts, invoices, court documents, correspondence, letterhead, business cards, construction documents, drawings, photos etc. Supporting documentation or evidence received will not be returned, so please provide copies.
The Complaint Process
After a complaint is received; the complainant will receive written confirmation from the Board indicating the complaint was received. The complaint is reviewed by the Board Investigator to determine if further investigation and information is required. If an investigation is opened, once completed the matter will be presented to the Board at a regular meeting. The Board will then vote as to the appropriate action, which may include pursuing fines or other discipline against the licensee. The licensee will be provided with an opportunity for an administrative hearing on the Board charges, after which a final order regarding discipline will be issued.
Common Licensing Violations:
Common violations of the registration laws may include:
- Practicing with a lapsed license
- Non-compliance of continuing education requirements
- Offering architectural or landscape architecture services without a certificate of authorization
- Code of conduct violations
- Plan stamping
- Aiding and abetting
- Illegal practice of architecture or landscape architecture by non-licensed persons.
- Illegal advertising and use of titles by non-licensed persons.
- Other violations of the Board’s registration laws or rules.
Be advised that the Board generally does not become involved in contractual matters, design issues or financial disputes between a licensee 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.
However, if wrongdoing by the licensee is proven in court, send the Board a certified copy of the adjudication order issued by the court and the Board will review the matter.
Additionally, the Board does not have the authority to order restitution or recoup money or fees, nor does it establish, set, or review costs and fees for professional design services. Professional services and costs are a private business matter between the licensee and client. Disciplinary action can be taken if an architect fails to comply with a court order.
Public Records / Confidentiality
Most investigative complaints and supporting documentation received by the Board are considered public records. Therefore, complaints are considered public records under O.R.C. 149.43. They can be reviewed or inspected by anyone after the investigation is officially closed.
Due to Ohio’s Public Records Act, complaints are not confidential. If confidentiality is required, a complainant may file an anonymous, unsigned complaint. Complete supporting documentation must be included because there is no way to contact an anonymous complainant if further information is required.
To view the public records related to a disciplinary action, use the License Lookup link in the Information menu. This will take you to eLicense.Ohio.gov where you can search by the licensee's name. For questions about the results or public records related to unlicensed person, please contact the Board office.