Disciplinary Proceedings Before the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners

The Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (the “Board”) licenses architects, landscape architects, and registered interior designers. The Board also has the authority to monitor and enforce these professionals for compliance with Board rules and state laws that apply to these professionals. Violating these rules or laws can result in disciplinary proceedings before the Board and imperil your professional license. An architectural license defense lawyer represents your interests in these disciplinary proceedings and can help you resolve them as positively as possible.

Complaints Against Architects and Architectural Professionals

The Preliminary Evaluation and Investigation 

When the Board receives a complaint filed against an architect, landscape architect, or interior designer, 22 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 1.174(c) requires the agency to evaluate the complaint within 30 days of receipt. A preliminary evaluation involves consideration of the following factors:

  • Whether the Board has jurisdiction over the complaint or whether the complaint contains sufficient allegations establishing probable cause to believe that the licensee violated a rule or law governing their profession;
  • Whether the licensee has a history of previous enforcement activity by the Board; and
  • What priority level is appropriate for the complaint, based on the severity of the allegations in the complaint relative to other pending enforcement matters.

Once the Board has completed the preliminary evaluation, Board staff conducts an investigation, if necessary. At that point, the Board will notify the licensee of the complaint. 

Contested Case Proceedings

If the Board elects to pursue disciplinary action based on the complaint, it will initiate a contested case proceeding and request a response from the licensee. The agency also may request the licensee and/or third parties to turn over specific documents related to the complaint within 30 days. 

Responding to contested case proceedings in a timely fashion is critical. Failure to promptly respond to the Board as requested can result in a separate violation against you, which can result in additional disciplinary action. Your initial responses to a complaint also can have an important impact on the outcome of your disciplinary proceedings.

In most cases, licensees resolve disciplinary complaints through an agreement with the Board. This agreement can be in the form of a consent order, a letter of reprimand, or another format approved by the Board, so long as it is in writing and contains findings of fact and conclusions of law. 

However, suppose a licensee and the Board cannot resolve a pending disciplinary complaint by agreement. In that situation, the case proceeds to a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The ALJ will issue a proposed decision after the hearing, and the Board ultimately will determine whether to adopt, modify, or reject the recommended decision of the ALJ.

Potential Sanctions for Architects and Architectural Professionals

Sanctions in disciplinary cases before the Board can range widely according to the severity of the violation(s) involved. Certain minor violations may result only in a warning to the licensee, whereas major violations may be grounds for automatic revocation of a professional license. 


In certain cases, the Board can issue a warning under 22 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 1.174(j) as a resolution to a disciplinary complaint against an architect or other architectural professional. Whether to issue a warning to a licensee is within the sole discretion of the Board’s Executive Director. The only circumstances under which the Board can issue a warning in disciplinary proceedings in which it has found probable cause to believe that the licensee has committed a violation are the following:

  • the violation is the licensee’s only violation of the Board’s laws and rules;
  • the licensee has not previously been subject to a Board warning or order;
  • the licensee has provided a satisfactory remedy which has eliminated any harm or threat to the health or safety of the public; and
  • the licensee has committed one of the following violations:
    • failure to provide or timely provide plans and specifications to TDLR under the requirements of Govt. Code Chap. 469 (Elimination of Architectural Barriers);
    • unauthorized use of term “architect” or “architecture”;
    • failure to respond to a Board inquiry;
    • failure to provide a statement of jurisdiction;
    • use of a non-compliant seal by the registrant;
    • failure to register or annually renew the registration of a business; or
    • creation of misleading impressions by an architect advertising for services.

Administrative Penalties

22 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 1.177 states that the Board shall classify all violations as minor, moderate, or major and provides a matrix classifying most violations into these categories. This classification system determines the amount of the administrative penalty that normally applies to a particular violation. 

Minor administrative penalties may not exceed $1,000, and moderate administrative penalties may not exceed $3,000. However, major administrative penalties, which are for much more severe violations, may not exceed $5,000. 

Other Sanctions

22 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 1.232(j) contains guidelines for the Board and administrative law judges in contested cases to follow in determining the appropriate sanctions for a violation of a particular rule or law that governs licensees. These penalties include administrative penalties, payment of restitution, license suspensions, and license revocations. However, the Board may impose a penalty that differs from the guidelines if justified by the circumstances or the licensee’s disciplinary history. For example, previous disciplinary history may justify a more severe penalty for a violation than the guidelines normally recommend.

We Will Represent Your Interests Before the Board

The experienced architect license defense lawyers at Bertolino LLP, will advocate on your behalf in your disciplinary proceedings to help you avoid or minimize negative sanctions against your license. We can investigate your pending complaint, assess the allegations against you and the evidence in support of them, explore all potential options, and arrive at the defense that is most likely to be effective in your case. Together, we will work to resolve your complaint and protect your professional license. Call us at (512) 515-9518 or contact us online.

Call or text (512) 476-5757 or complete a Case Evaluation form