SBOA Report — Winter/Spring 2015

SBOA Report — Winter/Spring 2015


John F. Corkill Jr., AIA
Director, MD State Board Liaison

The new requirements for 12 Continuing Education Credits per year in order for a Maryland architect to stay registered are now the law for the 5000+ architects registered in the state. Each Maryland practitioner is now asked as a condition of re-registration whether she has taken the required 24 Continuing Professional Competency (SBOA’s term of art for CEU) credits, 12 during each of the previous two years’ registration. She will check the box stating that she has under penalties of perjury secured the CPC’s. Five percent (5%) of architects (about 140/yr.) will be audited to see if their check marks are true.

Sadly, the State Board of Architects‘ Complaint Committee was dealing with one of the first architects among the 5% (or 10 or fewer) of all auditees to perjure himself by checking the re-registration box as having fulfilled the CPC requirements when he had not.

What to do now?

Under the regulations, perjuring architects have up to ninety days to begin to right their situation by taking CPC courses to replace those CEU’s fraudulently claimed and explaining themselves to the SBOA. These courses could not apply to future year’s re-registration. No “double-dipping.”

The SBOA has options, as well.

SBOA could suspend the perjuring architect’s license for 30 days or longer, depending on the circumstances in each case. Or, a merciful SBOA could impose a fine (perhaps $100.00 per missing CEU was suggested) as a penalty.  In the most egregious cases, SBOA could revoke the perjuring architect’s license, causing an agonizing career re-appraisal.

Diane Cho, SBOA Chair, announced that the replacement for consumer Member Bill Parham would be Stephanie Hopkins, just appointed by Governor Hogan.

This led to more discussion about the architect Member successor to Steve Parker, AIA. Since Parker hails from the DC suburbs, AIA Potomac Valley would be a logical group to nominate an architect to succeed him. At present, the other four architect members are from the Baltimore area.

As he awaits his departure from over a decade of SBOA service, many years as Chair, Steve Parker, AIA, has not retired from Grimm+Parker but he has turned over the leadership of the firm to a new generation of architects led by Melanie Hennigan, AIA, President, and John Hill, CEO. The G+P firm was founded in the 1930’s by Paul Kea, who was once the only architect in Prince George’s County. His firm grew to become Kea, Shaw, Grimm, and Chrichton, where Parker worked while attending Maryland’s new architecture school. Eventually Clyde Grimm, AIA, recognized his gifts and took him in as a partner to form Grimm+Parker. Under Steve’s leadership, the firm has grown to 100 members and their schools, libraries, and concert halls all over Maryland and adjoining states are perennial award-winners. As his predecessors, Kea and Grimm before him, Parker has given freely of his time and expertise to serve the public, as well as his profession. His has been a notable career in his art and his generosity.

There are states where the architects’ registration boards are composed of governors’ appointees who have helped him or her obtain high office, but who are obscure practitioners unknown to most of that state’s architects. In Maryland, on the other hand, the State Board members are leading practitioners, well-represented in the state’s built environment and on AIA Design Award winners’ lists. One might ask, is there any downside to all this success? Is it possible that, accustomed to practicing in powerful, large corporate firms, the SBOA members find it hard to feel empathy for what Maryland’s hundreds of small practitioners have to go through as they serve a much less prominent and affluent but still significant stratum of society? Can Maryland architects serve ably without the bevy of consultants usual on large projects? Or are Maryland architects able to design only aesthetics, while architects in surrounding states are permitted to perform practical aspects? For the past decade, the SBOA has seemed to find Maryland architects wanting in health, safety and welfare, ceding areas formerly the province of architects to sister professions represented on County Permit staffs. While the Architect’s Law has not changed, the SBOA’s interpretation has. To that extent then, might it be asked, have “little people,” both architects and impecunious clients, been left underrepresented by an SBOA focused on large-scale success?