Request for Hearing on Proposed CCR 135 

Tian Feng, FAIA 
President, California Architects Board 
2420 Del Paso Road, Suite 105 
Sacramento, CA 95834 

Regarding: Request for Hearing on Proposed CCR 135 

Dear President Feng: 

The above components of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) respectively ask the  California Architects Board (CAB) to hold another public hearing on the proposed advertising  regulation CCR 135. The growing awareness of CCR 135 among licensed architects has caused  significant concern to be expressed about the assumptions made regarding the proposed  regulation, the impact it will have on licensed architects, and the presumed benefit to the  public. 

Concerns raised by our Members include: 

Assumed Marketing Costs of $100 

The Initial Statement of Reasons assumes “licensees needing to update existing marketing  materials (i.e. business cards, letterhead, contracts, forms, etc.) may incur one-time set-up  printing costs up to $100.” 

We have been told by our Members that these costs will exceed the assumed $100. The cost  to design and print new business cards and letterhead, and other marketing materials (i.e.  monographs, brochures, etc.) will be significantly higher than $100. Additionally, we assume the business cards of non-licensed staff of architectural firms would have to be redesigned and  reprinted, which further drives up the cost-per-architect assumption. 

Focus on Unlicensed Individuals 

This proposed regulation was formed during discussions on how to protect consumers from  unlicensed individuals. We believe exploring steps to stop the illegal advertising of  architectural services by unlicensed individuals should remain the focus of the CAB in  protecting consumers from services being offered illegally by unlicensed individuals. CCR 135 attempts to protect consumers from unlicensed individuals by solely placing a new  requirement on licensed architects, subject to disciplinary action and fines for failure to follow  the proposed advertising regulation. 

CCR 135 Lacks Clarity 

Licensed architects would be expected to fully comply with the proposed advertising regulation or be subject to disciplinary action and fines. Some forms of advertising clearly fall  within the scope of CCR 135, such as business cards and letterhead; each of these would have  to include the name of a licensed architect and a license number. However, there is a lack of  clarity of how to applies to other forms of “advertisement, solicitation, or other presentments  made to the public.” For example, would all emails from an architect’s work email have to  include the architect’s license number, or all social media posts about a project have to include  a license number? We believe any regulation covering the advertising and marketing of  architectural services, and how it will be enforced, should be fully defined and explained  before it is adopted. 

Could Encourage the Illegal Use of a License Number 

As we have seen with general contractors, those who illegally offer and provide contractor  services routinely use false contractor license numbers, either a number that is randomly  generated or one that is stolen from a licensed contractor. Furthermore, by the widespread  advertising of license numbers on electronic and printed material, we are concerned CCR 135  will result in the same with the illegal offering of architectural services.  

To be clear, we fully support the primary purpose of the CAB, to protect consumers. However,  we question if CCR 135 will accomplish its anticipated benefit to consumers as expressed in the  Initial Statement of Reasons. It is for this reason we ask the CAB to hold another public  hearing on the proposed CCR 135.

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