Code of the District of Columbia

Part C. Architects.


§ 47–2853.61. Scope of practice for architects.

(a) For the purposes of this part, the term “Practice of architecture” means rendering or offering to render services in connection with the design and construction, enlargement, or alteration of a structure or group of structures that have as their principal purpose human occupancy or habitation, as well as the space within and surrounding these structures. These services include planning and providing studies, designs, drawings, specifications, and other technical submissions, and the administration of construction contracts. The practice of architecture does not include the practice of engineering, as defined in § 47-2853.131, although an architect may perform engineering work that is incidental to the practice of architecture.

(b) Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit a student, draftsman, or employee from engaging in the practice of architecture; provided, that the practice is performed under the responsible charge, as defined in [§ 47-2853.64(a)(4)], of a licensed architect.


(Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 1002, 46 DCR 3142; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-249, § 2(d), 64 DCR 1629.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-2853.61.


§ 47–2853.62. Eligibility requirements.

An applicant for a license as an architect shall establish to the satisfaction of the Board of Architecture, Interior Design, and Landscape Architecture that the applicant:

(1) Is of good moral character;

(2) Is a graduate of a degree program in architecture accredited by an accrediting institution prescribed by rule, or has completed an education program in architecture prescribed by rule as the equivalent of an accredited professional architectural degree program;

(3) Has passed an examination on the practice of architecture prescribed by rule; and

(4) Meets any other requirements established by rule to ensure that the applicant has had the proper training, experience, and qualifications to practice architecture.


(Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 1002, 46 DCR 3142; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-249, § 2(e), 64 DCR 1629.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-2853.62.


§ 47–2853.63. Certain representations prohibited.

Unless licensed to practice architecture under this subchapter, no person shall engage, directly or indirectly, in the practice of architecture in the District or use the title “architect,” “registered architect,” “licensed architect,” “architectural designer,” or display or use any words, letters, figures, titles, signs, cards, advertisements, or any other symbols or devices indicating, or tending to indicate, that the person is an architect or is practicing architecture.


(Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 1002, 46 DCR 3142.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-2853.63.


§ 47–2853.64. Definitions.

(a) For the purposes of §§ 47-2853.65 through 47-2853.68, the term:

(1) "Professional design document" means any drawing, specification, report, request for information, construction and administration document, or contract that in any way calls for the professional services of an architect, interior designer, or landscape architect.

(2) "Professional design firm" means any firm, franchise, partnership, association, or corporation that is licensed to solicit and provide architecture, interior design, or landscape architecture services in the District.

(3) "Professional design services" means architecture, interior design, or landscape architecture services provided in the District.

(4) "Responsible charge" means direct control and personal supervision by a licensed architect, interior designer, or landscape architect in the provision of professional design services, including that the licensee personally makes professional design decisions or reviews and approves proposed decisions before their implementation, including consideration of alternatives whenever technical decisions are to be made, and judges the qualifications of technical specialists and the validity and applicability of their recommendations before the recommendations are incorporated in the work.


(Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-249, § 2(f), 64 DCR 1629.)


§ 47–2853.65. Licensure of professional design firms.

(a) No firm, franchise, partnership, association, or corporation shall offer or perform professional design services in the District unless the entity has obtained a license from the Mayor as a professional design firm.

(b) No professional design firm license shall be issued to an applicant unless:

(1) The applicant is organized and exists pursuant to applicable District and federal laws;

(2) At least one partner, officer, shareholder, member, or manager is an architect, interior designer, or landscape architect licensed and in good standing in the District;

(3) Each member who performs professional design services in the District is licensed and in good standing in the District; and

(4) All professional design services solicited or provided by a professional design firm shall be under the responsible charge of a supervising architect, interior designer, or landscape architect who is licensed in the District; provided, that this provision shall not be construed to permit any licensed architect, interior designer, or landscape architect to practice or supervise the performance of services that are beyond the scope of those authorized by the license as established under [this subchapter].

(c) No person shall sign and stamp a professional design document on behalf of the professional design firm except an architect, interior designer, or landscape architect licensed in the District.

(d) A professional design firm licensed pursuant to this section may use the words "architect," "interior designer," or "landscape architect" or any other word, letter, figure, title, sign, card, advertisement, or symbol indicating that the professional design firm is authorized to solicit or provide professional design services in connection with its firm name.

(e) A licensed professional design firm shall notify the Board within 30 days after the admission or withdrawal of a member or shareholder from a professional design firm.

(f) The license of a professional design firm that is in noncompliance with the provisions of this section due to changes in ownership or personnel of the professional design firm shall be subject to suspension or revocation of its license.


(Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-249, § 2(f), 64 DCR 1629.)


§ 47–2853.66. Offices; rules.

(a) Each professional design firm shall be under the responsible charge of at least one member who holds a valid license as an architect, interior designer, or landscape architect issued by the Mayor and who shall serve in that capacity at one office only.

(b) The Mayor, pursuant to [[subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2]], shall issue rules to prescribe the licensure application procedures.


(Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-249, § 2(f), 64 DCR 1629.)


§ 47–2853.67. License; issuance.

A license for a professional design firm shall be issued by the Mayor if the firm has furnished evidence satisfactory to the Board of compliance with the requirements for licensure or the renewal of licensure, whichever applies, as outlined in [this subchapter].


(Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-249, § 2(f), 64 DCR 1629.)


§ 47–2853.68. Actions against firms.

(a) After notice and a hearing as provided for in [this subchapter], the Board shall suspend or revoke the license of a professional design firm found in noncompliance.

(b) After notice and hearing, where the Board determines that a professional design firm license or applicant has committed any of the acts described in [§ 47-2853.17] or violated any rules issued pursuant to that section, the Board may:

(1) Deny the application for an initial license or a renewal of licensure;

(2) Revoke or suspend the licensure of the professional design firm;

(3) Censure or reprimand the professional design firm; or

(4) Impose a civil fine not to exceed $50,000 for each violation.


(Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-249, § 2(f), 64 DCR 1629.)