Study Reveals Voters Support Architectural Licensing Standards

Data from a study commissioned by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has revealed that voters support licensing standards as an important factor in protecting the public health, safety, and welfare.

Conducted by Benenson Strategy Group (BSG), the survey gathered responses from nearly 1,000 U.S. voters on topics regarding public perceptions of regulation, licensing, and the architecture profession. Through the survey, voters were asked questions regarding the value of licensing standards, the distinction between occupations and professions, and important aspects of an architect’s job.

“As conversations arise regarding the appropriate level of licensing standards, these findings provide crucial insight into ways the individual boards regulating the architecture profession continue to move in the right direction when it comes to protecting the public health, safety, and welfare,” says NCARB CEO Michael Armstrong.

Key findings from the survey revealed the majority of voters are in favor of professional licensing. Seventy-six percent of voters agree professional licensing makes consumers feel safe, and 74 percent agree professional licensing ensures competent, qualified professionals are serving the public.

In addition, 89 percent of voters agree it is important for architects, specifically, to be licensed. Recognizing that a key part of an architect’s job is ensuring buildings are safe and structurally sound, voters distinguished architecture as a profession—which should be regulated—rather than an occupation.

Survey participants were informed that individuals working to become architects must complete both experience and examination requirements before earning a license. Reviewing this process made voters even more likely to support licensure for the architecture profession, raising the percentage of voters who believe it is important that architects be professionally licensed from 89 to 94 percent.

Findings from the survey will be used by NCARB and the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL), a coalition of technical professions co-founded by NCARB, as they work to educate policymakers regarding the importance of reasonable licensing standards.

1 Comment on "Study Reveals Voters Support Architectural Licensing Standards"

  1. It’s actually the specific responsibility of local authority and state code administrators to ensure that buildings are safe, healthy and structurally sound. This is a poor argument for licensure of architects. And do I even need to point out that vanishingly few of the great architects of history as lauded in architecture schools to this day from Brunelleschi and Wren to Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright had any architectural training at all, let alone licensure, and leaving aside the starchitects of their time the vast majority of the great buildings of the past had no connection with what we think of today as the architectural profession. The path to licensure is of course almost invariably through the architecture schools which mostly seem to have no idea of how to train the practical journeymen and journeywomen that our profession requires: instead they encourage each student to see themselves as the next Norman Foster or Frank Gehry: by imbuing their students with grandiose ideas of their importance the architecture schools have actually contributed to making architects a laughing stock if not an irrelevance within the construction industry. The loss of apprenticeship as a path to everyday quality practice has been a tragedy.

    As far as the poll is concerned it’s no secret that the general public has a pitifully low opinion of contemporary architecture and its practitioners and it’s extremely likely that the poll respondents are under the impression that licensure would improve the quality of modern building design, not realizing that in most states architects are already required to be licensed and have been so for many years. Nor do they understand that architects in fact have little to do with the great bulk of construction work which we see all around us which is largely designed by developers, engineers and accountants with sometimes perhaps an architect brought in to pretty up the details.

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