- Defining the Terms for Providing Professional Services
As a landscape architect, you are required to practice within your authorized scope of practice, as defined in the Education Law, Commissioner’s Regulations and Rules of the Board of Regents. It is your responsibility to be knowledgeable of any restrictions that are based on law or regulation, as well as those that relate specifically to your area of professional competence.
The Rules of the Board of Regents define as unprofessional conduct any practice by a landscape architect that is beyond the licensee's scope of professional competence. Therefore, if you are not competent to provide a service, even one that falls within the legal scope of practice for your profession, you may not provide that service. As a licensed and registered professional, it is your responsibility to practice within the scope of your abilities and expertise. If you practice beyond your personal scope of competence, you can be charged with professional misconduct.
At the outset of service, you should provide your client with information regarding the services that you or your firm can provide to clients, all fees and relevant business procedures, contractual requirements, and the expectations required of clients receiving these services. You should involve your clients in the development and implementation of any project to the fullest extent of their abilities.
- Scope of Services
The practice of landscape architecture is defined as the performance of services in connection to the development of land areas where the dominant purpose of those services is the preservation, enhancement, or determination of:
- Proper land uses
- Natural land features
- Ground cover and planting
- Naturalistic and aesthetic values
- The settings, approaches or environment for structures or other improvements
- Natural drainage
- The consideration and determination of inherent problems of the land relating to the erosion, wear and tear, blight or other hazards
The practice of landscape architecture also includes the location and arrangement of tangible objects and features that are incidental and necessary to the services previously noted, but shall not include:
- The design of structures or facilities with separate and self-contained purposes such as those ordinarily included in the practice of engineering or architecture
- The making of land surveys or final land plats for official approval or recording
Persons and/or entities that practice landscape architecture who, by verbal claim, signature, advertisement, website, letterhead, or card, or in any other way, represent themselves to be landscape architects or, through the use of some other title, imply that they are landscape architects, or who hold themselves out as able to perform, or does perform, any landscape architecture service, work or any other service designated by the practitioners which is recognized as landscape architecture, shall be construed to practice or offer to practice landscape architecture within the meaning and intent of Section 7322 of the Education Law.
Anyone who aids or abets three or more persons, who use a professional title despite no authority to do so, shall be guilty of a class E felony. Anyone who employs three or more persons who use a professional title in the course of such employment, when not authorized to use such title, shall be guilty of a class E felony.
- Consumers’ Rights
All consumers of services offered by New York licensed professionals have the legal right to:
- receive competent professional services;
- verify the credentials of licensed professionals and to know the names and titles of licensed professionals who provide service;
- receive clear explanations of the services being offered or provided and how much they cost;
- refuse any service offered;
- know what client records will be maintained and how to obtain copies; recognizing that personally identifiable information normally cannot be revealed without the client’s consent;
- file a complaint with the State Education Department about a licensed professional or an unlicensed practitioner; and
- request and be provided a reasonable accommodation to access professional services, if a person with a disability.
- Representation of Qualifications and Experience
A landscape architect, professional partnership, professional service corporation, design professional service corporation, professional service limited liability company, registered limited liability partnership, or grandfathered business corporation rendering, or offering to render, landscape architecture services should not mislead a client or the general public or misrepresent their competence or qualifications (Rules of the Board of Regents Paragraph 29.1(b)(12)).
A landscape architect who has been an employee of a landscape architecture firm should not claim unconditional credit for projects contracted for in the name of the previous employer. To avoid misrepresentation of facts, the landscape architect might:
- identify the project,
- the nature and extent of the involvement and experience gained in connection with the project, and
- that the experience was acquired as an employee of another firm which should be identified.
A landscape architect, who was formerly a principal in a firm, may make additional claims provided they are accurately documented and explained. Similarly when a principal or landscape architect leaves a firm, that firm has an obligation to accurately represent the experiences and capabilities of the remaining staff only.
Projects listed as "credits" which remain unconstructed, should be identified as "unbuilt" or given a similar designation.
- Reasonable Expectations of a Client
When retaining the services of a landscape architect, the client will expect quality in the services received and the manner in which they are delivered. Assuming the client lives up to his/her contractual responsibilities, reasonable expectations for quality landscape architecture services might include:
- documents that serve the purpose for which they are intended
- documents that are approvable by the municipality to which they are submitted
- documents, possibly with modifications, that represent a project which can be built within the agreed upon budget
- documents that are prepared by qualified professionals and personnel
- work is performed in a timely manner
- a landscape architect who listens to the client concerning the program and expectations of the project
Additional consumer information is available on this site, or by emailing the State Board for Landscape Architecture at email@example.com or calling the State Board at 518-474-3817, ext. 110.
Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:
- Education Law, Section 6509 – “Definitions of professional misconduct”
- Education Law, Section 6512 – “Unauthorized practice a crime”
- Education Law, Section 7321 – “Definition of practice of landscape architecture”
- Education Law, Section 7322 – “Practice of landscape architecture and use of title ‘landscape architect’”
- Regents Rules, Section 29.1 – “General provisions.”
- Regents Rules, Section 29.3 – “General provisions for design professions."