Complaints/Enforcement

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.
 
A historical list of disciplinary actions taken by the Boards can be found below. To search for discipline by name, click here. When searching, enter only the first and last name of the individual. Please call the Board office at (614) 466-2316 if you have questions about discipline or the individual's license status.
 
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.

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.
What the Board Does Not Investigate
 
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.
 
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 Investigator. 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 further information is needed, a letter will be sent to the respondent via certified mail with a copy of the complaint. The respondent is given thirty days to provide a detailed written response to the allegation. Once a response is received, the case information, including the original complaint and response, is presented to the Board at a regular meeting. 

Then based upon the facts, circumstances and applicable laws and rules, the Board has the following options: close citing no violation, close citing no jurisdiction, close citing compliance has been obtained, offer a settlement agreement, seek further information, or file formal charges against the licensee.

If formal charges are filed, the licensee is issued a "Notice of Opportunity" letter outlining the specific charges and laws and rules allegedly violated. An opportunity will be provided for an administrative hearing under Chapter 119 of the Ohio Revised Code. 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.

If an administrative hearing is requested, the hearing will take place before an independent Hearing Officer. The licensee may be represented by an attorney. The Board is represented by its legal counsel, a member of the Ohio Attorney General’s staff. The Board's Investigator attends the hearing. Board members are not present at hearings.

After hearing the evidence and testimony presented, the Hearing Officer, generally within thirty days, will issue a written Report and Recommendation. The licensee will be provided a copy of the Report and Recommendation and offered the opportunity to file any written objections to it. 

The Board will then consider any objections and review and consider the Report and Recommendation and either accept, reject, or modify the Report and Recommendation.

If the hearing officer finds that there was a violation of the law, the Board, by authority of statute, has the option to suspend or revoke the license as well as issue a fine up to $1,000 per violation up to a maximum of $5,000. 

The Board then decides on the appropriate action and issues a Final Order. The Board's Final Order can be appealed to the Court of Common Pleas. Subsequent appeals can be made to the Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court.

Complaints should be forwarded to:
 
Chad B. Holland, Investigator
Ohio Architects Board
Ohio Landscape Architects Board
77 S. High St., 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-6108
Phone 614-466-1476
FAX 614-644-9048
 
Unlicensed persons
 
The Board does not have jurisdiction over unlicensed persons practicing architecture or landscape architecture and cannot take disciplinary action against them. However, after an investigation, in order to prohibit further unlicensed activity, the Board may seek a settlement agreement, a court injunction, or refer the case to the prosecutor for criminal prosecution.
Disciplinary action taken against a licensee may include:
  • Settlement Agreement
  • Fine
  • Reprimand
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Revocation

Alternatives to Filing a Complaint with the Board

  • Discuss the issue with the licensee or their supervisor
  • Small Claims Court
  • Civil Court
  • Arbitration or mediation
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau
  • Wage and hour complaints should be filed with the Ohio Department of Commerce Bureau of Labor & Worker Safety at http://www.com.ohio.gov/laws/MWOTComplaint.aspx.The Board has no jurisdiction until after a decision has been rendered.
  • File an Ethics Complaint with The American Institute of Architects (AIA) or The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), if the licensee is a member.

Disciplinary Actions

The following documents list the disciplinary actions taken by the Board. To view the public records related to the disciplinary action, use the License Verification link in the Information menu and search by the licensee's last name. For public records related to unlicensed person, please contact the Board office.