The AIA national just stated that it is not necessarily illegal to use the term “architect” in reference to oneself if one is indeed not a licensed architect. This may be true on a national level and the proprietary use of the word itself.
In our home state however, it is against the Florida Statues to do so. When noting oneself as an architect, architect in training, architect intern or offering architectural services, the individual and firm must be a licensed one and be able to prove it, too.
As the client, make sure that you will be serviced y a licensed professional. We have the license, and all the requirements to upkeep Continuing education and other goodies, for a reason. That reason is to protect the public welfare and provide services that will not endanger your life. We are actually held accountable for our work for 12 years once the seal goes on your plans.
Miami Dade county has an enormous array of required permits. There are about 40 categories that require the owner to have a building permit. To learn more, contact your design professional or look at the Miami Dade County portal: http://www.miamidade.gov/building/home.asp
There are some permits that can be obtained for a specific component by the contractor directly without the need for an architect. Painting the exterior of your home or business is a great example for this.
Once combining multiple required at the same time, consider hiring a professional to ensure that you have covered all aspects of your project and will not be fined for lack of a permit once building is underway. Choose your architect to fit your project. Most of us specialize in some field as the spectrum is quite large. When looking at remodeling or upgrading a home or business, a small firm can provide you with better, more economical service than a 100 person firm can.
You can learn more about choosing the right architect and also appropriate contract documents at the AIA (American Institute of Architects) website: www.AIA.org. If you are looking for more sustainable focused professionals, like myself, take a look at the Walk the Walk website: http://info.aia.org/walkthewalk/.
Contact your sustainable design specialist in South Florida to learn more for your next proejct: Sebastian Eilert Architecture (www.SebastianEilert.com)