Sunset Review

Government Policy
Chip Henderson, AIA, CEM, LEED Faculty
August 16, 2012
Sunset Review

The Sunset Advisory Commission will be conducting their periodic review of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) over the next few weeks. The State grants the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners authority to oversee the examination, registration, and professional regulation of architects, interior designers, and landscape architects. One of the main functions of the TBAE is to ensure that all who practice architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture are licensed and qualified to practice. Only those who have met recognized professional qualifications through education, professional experience, examination and licensure may plan, design and administer the contracts for construction of buildings to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Texas.

Local government code officials have a similar responsibility to protect the public welfare. However, their approach and focus is somewhat different.  Code officials are responsible for determining that the building project which, when completed, will meet the applicable codes and protect the public health, safety and welfare. In furtherance of this goal, code officials rely heavily on the respective professional seal affixed to the construction documents.

Although the charge is much the same with respect to public health, safety and welfare, the TBAE has the power, duty and authority to investigate  design professions and to discipline  accordingly. Code officials, on the other hand, are generally exempt from  liability or accountability to building owners by virtue of Chapter 54 of the Texas Local Government Code if he or she is acting within the scope of their official capacity. Only licensed design professionals carry a direct responsibility to the building owner.

Building codes and professional licensing laws are meant to work together. Without the TBAE and the requirement for licensed design professionals, Texas building owners would be left without a valuable resource to help build better homes, schools, businesses, and communities.