April 8, 2008
To: Nevada Architects, Registered Interior Designers and Residential Designers
Nevada Building Officials
From: George Garlock, Chairman
Nevada State Board of Architecture, Interior Design and Residential Design
Re: Withdrawing as Design Professional of Record
The board has become aware of instances when registrants have chosen to pull plans from the building department or withdraw as the design professional of record over a civil matter, such as the client not paying as agreed. Such an action is a violation of Nevada statute and may subject the registrant to disciplinary action under NRS 623.270(1).
Architects, registered interior designers and residential designers should not withdraw as the design professional of record once their plans have been sealed and submitted to the building department. It does not matter whether a permit has, or has not, been issued.
Registrants are held to a high standard of conduct and must adhere to a strict code of ethics. If a client has not met the terms of the contract, the registrant may chose to seal the plans for submittal to the building department, or retain the plans until the client is in compliance with the contract. The board highly recommends that all registrants have a written contract that clearly details a payment schedule and the course of action that may be taken should the client or registrant breach the terms of the contract.
A registrant may pull plans from the building department if there is a life safety issue with the drawings and a correction needs to be made. Additionally, a registrant may terminate services if he becomes aware of an issue that would violate state or municipal laws. Rule of Conduct 3.3 for architects and residential designers, and NAC 623.870(2)(a)(b)(c) for registered interior designers, outlines the conditions and steps that must be taken (in the order specified) for the registrant to terminate his services:
If, in the course of his/her work on a project, an architect becomes aware of a decision taken by his/her employer or client, against the architect’s advice, which violates applicable state or municipal building laws and regulations and which will, in the architect’s judgment, materially and adversely affect the safety to the public of the finished project, the architect shall
(i) report the decision to the local building inspector or other public official charged with the enforcement of the applicable state or municipal building laws and regulations,
(ii) refuse to consent to the decision, and
(iii) in circumstances where the architect reasonably believes that other such decisions will be taken notwithstanding his/her objection, terminate his/her services with reference to the project unless the architect is able to cause the matter to be resolved by other means.
In the case of a termination in accordance with Clause (iii), the architects shall have no liability to his/her client or employer on account of such termination.
If you have any questions about circumstances when a design professional may rightfully pull plans from a building department or withdraw as design professional of records, please contact the board office at (702) 486-7300.