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One-Hundred Years of Safeguarding Life, Health and Property

Wednesday, April 07, 2021 | 10:35am

Today, we celebrate the Tennessee State Board of Examiners for Architects and Engineers 100th anniversary. The board is a part of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Regulatory Boards Division. Since the board was founded on April 9, 1921, we have carried out the mission and purpose of safeguarding life, health and property. The programs and services we have developed set the standards of practice for architects, engineers, landscape architects and interior designers in our state.

Citizens and visitors of the state of Tennessee live and work in an environment which is largely man-made. Tennessee law recognizes the need “to safeguard life, health and property, and to promote public welfare” in that environment by ensuring that design professionals who shape that environment are properly qualified. Through the State Board of Examiners for Architects and Engineers, the state sets standards for the education, experience and performance of those who wish to practice these professions. In Tennessee, there are over 37,000 active engineers and over 10,000 architects, so overall there are around 50,000 design professionals that are licensed by the board. Any person who uses the title of architect, engineer, landscape architect or interior designer, or advertises to provide those services in Tennessee, must be appropriately licensed.

When consumers are in the process of finding and selecting a design professional, they should be sure to obtain names of professionals from more than one source and ask for recommendations from someone who has worked with the professional in the past. The Board does not maintain a referral service and cannot recommend a specific design professional to citizens. However, consumers may search the licensee roster that is available on our website to confirm the registration status of any professional. Any Tennessean should feel free to contact us to verify the registration status of design professionals. Although licensees may display certificates indicating that they are registered by the state, these certificates may be invalid if an individual has not renewed their licenses with us or had his or her privilege to practice suspended or revoked. Lastly, any Tennessean may reach out to us to determine whether any complaints have previously been filed against a design professional.

We believe consumers have a right to receive professional services from the design professional(s) they have hired.  If a problem or dispute arises between a customer and the design professional, consumers should arrange a meeting with the design professional to discuss the problem thoroughly and review the written agreement and other relevant documentation. If the customer and design professional are still unable to resolve the problem, consumers may wish to consider other forms of dispute resolution. Customers may call or write the Board regarding complaints. The Board has the power, duty and authority to investigate alleged violations of Tennessee law, and is also given specific authority to receive and investigate complaints against its licensees and to discipline violators accordingly.

The Board may take disciplinary action against design professionals for:

  • Fraud in obtaining a license;
  • Impersonation or use of an assumed or corporate name;
  • Unlicensed practice and aiding unlicensed practice;
  • Conflicts of interest;
  • Fraud in the practice of architecture, engineering or landscape architecture;
  • Negligence, misconduct, incompetency or recklessness.

A complaint form can be obtained by contacting our office or by downloading it from our website. In filling out the form, consumers should be sure to fully describe the complaint and return it to the Board office with any evidence to support the complaint. It is helpful to submit copies of all documentation, including pictures that provides evidence for the complaint. Complaints are reviewed when they are received, and, depending upon the nature of the complaint, investigated. Each complaint filed with the Board is considered on its own merits to determine appropriate action – which may range from dismissal to investigation to informal action to formal disciplinary action.

Please reach out to the board at 615-741-3221 or 800-256-5758 or via email at ce.aeboard@tn.gov.

Michael Schulz serves as the Executive Director of the Tennessee State Board of Examiners for Architects and Engineers at the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

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Michael Schulz