registered versus licensed architects
Property Casualty

Registered Vs. Licensed Architects: A New Law Changes Terminology

Nick Maletta
Nick Maletta
Client Executive, Property Casualty

When a law changes, it’s not uncommon for there to be questions. After all, we all want to obey the law, right? Well, an upcoming change in the architectural world, which will go into effect November 1, is raising some eyebrows and causing a lot of concern…more than normal. And, I get it. But, let me be the first to reassure you, it’s not as worrisome as it sounds.

You see, the Iowa Architectural Examining Board recently updated its rules due to a new law, which changes terminology from “registered” architects to “licensed” architects when stamping completed documents. What does this simple change in terminology mean? Well, prior to this change, a designer stamped a drawing/plan and this signified it was stamped by a registered architect giving the feeling that this language offered protection for the professional under the firm’s professional liability policies. With the recent change shifting this terminology to “licensed,” many professionals are panicked and worried about their own personal livelihoods being on the line. This just simply isn’t the case.

Before I get too, far, though…if your firm isn’t in Iowa, you may be thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me.” Actually, that’s not true. It may not be just design professionals in Iowa who are impacted. The law ripples fairly large because there are firms/companies that do business in Iowa or have a branch office in Iowa…even though they may not be based in Iowa. If this is you, you’ll want to keep reading.

OK, back to the law. The change in terminology from “registered” architect to “licensed” architect would not impact, in any way, the firm’s professional liability policy response to any claims that may be brought against employees of a firm, past or present. In simple terms, if you’re a design professional, you’ve still got the same protection you had previously if something should go wrong with a drawing or plan you’ve stamped.

With that being said, though, hiding behind stamped language doesn’t mean you don’t have to adhere to the standard of the profession. Remember, anything you do that’s completely out of line (AKA not legal or professional), will still fall to you as the individual. You still must do your best always.

My hope is this explanation will calm some nerves, but if you’re still unsure or uneasy about the terminology change, feel free to reach out to me and we can walk through what exactly this means for you. I’d be happy to talk with you!

Explore more from Holmes Murphy