Non-RLA’s using the title Landscape Architect

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Non-RLA’s using the title Landscape Architect

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    Ryland Fox

    So based on this definition from earlier I have a couple of questions:


    12-45-115. Unauthorized practice – penalties.

    (1) Any person who practices or offers or attempts to practice landscape architecture without an active license issued under this article commits a class 2 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S., for the first offense, and, for the second or any subsequent offense, the person commits a class 6 felony and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-401, C.R.S.

    (2) A violation of this section may be prosecuted by the district attorney of the judicial district in which the offense was committed or by the attorney general of the state of Colorado in the name of the people of the state of Colorado. In such action, the court may issue an order, enter judgment, or issue a preliminary or final injunction.



    If I am not licensed but working at a landscape architecure firm am I not practicing landscape architecture without a licence?  Seems like a grey area or one that is wholly dependent on designation and wording.




    If I answer a question at a party by stating that I am a Landscape Architect but offer no advice and do not try to solicite work and the subsequent conversation moves into other topics how would I be in violation?


    The are just questions as I am not in the US.  Also the dilution of the word architect is occuring whether you like it or not.  Look up ads for software architect despite this being in clear violation of AIA rules.

    Alan Ray, RLA

    In the USA if you work for a registered l.a. then you are not in violation…..

    you still can’t say you  are  a l.a. unless you are in fact registered…it’s the law…

    and why would you want to say you are something that you are not???… it hurts your credibility to do so…..

    Before I was registered I told folks that I was an intern working to qualify to be a l.a.

    In Tennessee, you can’t as a business advertise l.a. services unless a registered  l.a. is a principal of the firm…some try to market  l.a. services with an employee l.a. but this is still a violation…..

    Ryland Fox

    It just seems kind of harsh to be practicing landscape architecture (under a RLA) and have gone to school for landscape architecture  but not be able to refer to yourself as a landscape architect in casual conversation.


    I understand people being protective of a title they have earned but as your own title says, you are a RLA which you are using as a distinction anyway.  It isn’t as if I would be totally dissembling and calling myself a physicist.


    In the end it is the law though so you might as well just go the “intern working to qualify” route to be safe.  I just think it is an interesting conversation.


    Dan Bryson

    O.K. I think?


    Dan, once upon a time, I thought like you because I was still in school too. Those school projects are fake, no budget, spending countless hours with no hard criticism don’t adequately prepare you for things to come. In 10 years, after dealing with real world landscape limitations and Urban Design review boards…come back to your youthful wisdom and see if you still agree with it.

    You’re off in a tangent. It’s not about your talent and what you can create. Do you give every 15 year old a license to drive without first earning it? Would you seek a Doctor who hasn’t earned the right to be called a M.D. to operate on your liver or broken leg? Try finding a lawyer who hasn’t passed the bar exam represent you in court. Nobody is here complaining and I’m certainly NEVER feel threaten by a non-RLA calling himself one.


    Students and their “I’m gonna change the world attitude” always amuse me!

    Alan Ray, RLA

    there are many laws I find harsh but if I don’t obey then I’ll have to pay the fine or do the time…

    hang in there…you’ll be there soon.

    Alan Ray, RLA

    well said mauiBob, the world is a rude slap in the face and school should prepare you for it…..

    and Dan, if you get dissapointed easily then you really are in for a rude awakening…..sorry to tell you.

    Ryland Fox

    not really, I am in Australia and am considered a landscape architect because I attended an accredited program.  I can get licenced through our professional association but it isn’t necessary.


    And yet we still have a healthy, creative, and profitable LA industry.

    Alan Ray, RLA

    not to mention, very good beer….I like the Victoria Bitter the best…..

    Rico Flor

    Hello Nick.


    The record stands, but can I say I feel I’m still in good company with you around? 😀



    Rick Spalenka

    I just finished my third commercial project yesterday since our local municipality required minimum planting by code and follow Colorado’s requirement that all commercial projects be stamped by an RLA.   I’ve mentioned this code in a previous post.  I support the Colorado State requirement but I have reservations about the minimum requirement.  Developers here are doing the absolute minimum to have their projects approved for construction.  I stamp a 14 shrub/ 5 tree plan where I have no say over anything else because any suggestion I would have equates chi-ching, chi-ching in this current economy.  If there were no codes or regulations I would not be contacted for my stamp.  MauiBob’s response to Dan is right on.  My 14 shrub/ 5 tree plan will inspire no LA student or anyone else for that matter.  It’s life.  Before I was registered I was a landscape architect.  I earned it.  After I got my license I was an RLA.  I earned it.  Now I can stamp a 14 shrub/ 5 tree plan and get paid.  BTW my suggestion would be to give incentive, somehow, to developers to spend at least 10% of construction costs on landscape and hardscape instead of minimum tree/shrub per 1,000 sq ft.  Then I might be able to create a plan to inspire “kids” like Dan.

    Dan Bryson



    I just don’t see how it would really effect RLA’s. I’m guessing at this percentage, but I think it’s fair to say that 80-90% (or even more) of the general population doesn’t even know the difference between the two. The RLA’s, the landscape designers, the closely related professionals, and the firms do know the difference. They’re the ones who matter. 

    I do see where your coming from, but I think there is another side to it



    Jon Quackenbush

    And if the real world isn’t enough of a slap, you can get your fill in here.  🙂

    Jon Quackenbush

    80-90% of the population has no idea what landscape architecture is let alone have the ability distinguish between an RLA and an ULAWITALDUTPTE (Unregistered Landscape Architect Who Is Tecnically A Landscape Designer Until They Pass The Exam).

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