New York Architect and Engineer Licensing Requirement

In New York, architects and engineers, as well as land surveyors, are required to be licensed by New York State. On the other hand, contractors and construction managers are not required to be licensed by the State, although most municipalities require the licensing of home improvement, electrical and plumbing contractors.

The liability of architects and engineers differ from those of construction managers due to the fact that these professionals are judged based on differing standards which pertain to their roles and responsibilities. Architects and engineers are often subject to liability based upon the failures of other parties, such as when defective work by a contractor results from the architect’s failure to properly supervise a project. Due to the many roles and responsibilities held by architects, they are exposed to potential liability to contractors, subcontractors, owners, third-parties and even the more remote users of the builder.

As such, before a person can practice as an architect or engineer in New York, they must be licensed and registered by the State of New York. The purpose of this is to safeguard the life, health and property of New York Residents. Vereinigte Osterreichische Eisen Und Stahlwerke, A.G. v. Modular Bldg. & Development Corp., 37 A.D.2d 525 (1st Dep’t 1971). Furthermore, licensing in another state is immaterial as to one’s ability to practice as a licensed and registered architect or engineer in New York. Wormuth v. Lower Eastside Action Project, Inc., 71 Misc.2d 314 (App. Term 1972).

Pursuant to Education Law § 7301, an architect’s license is required if one wishes to render services that include “the art, science, and aesthetics of design and construction of buildings, groups of buildings, including their components and appurtenances and the spaces around them wherein the safeguarding of life, health, property and public welfare is concerned.” Similar to that of an architect, an engineer’s license is required pursuant to Education Law § 7201 if one wished to perform “consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, design or supervisions of construction or operation in connection with any utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, works, or project…” As such, a license is needed for a person to prepare plans and drawing for construction as well as bid documents. See Wineman v. Blueprint 100, Inc., 75 Misc.2d 665 (N.Y. City Civ. Ct. 1973); Cupples Products Div. of H.H. Robertson Co. v. Morgan Guar. Trust Co. of New York, 199 A.D.2d 206 (1st Dep’t 1993).

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