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They Want to Pull Your License!

By George Schmok

It’s hard to believe but there is a trend developing from outside forces that if allowed to continue will mean a giant step backwards for landscape architects. It seems that the AIA and a certain state representative thinks the landscape architectural profession need not be organized nor respected. I understand that the AIA wants to have full liability for all their projects. That’s fine... Iet’s let them have it. Over the past couple of months I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the growing liability placed upon landscape architects and the growing insurance payments that accompany it. l can see nothing wrong with letting the AlAs have full responsibility for all liabilities that occur. But to even propose that the licensing of landscape architects be abolished is pure rubbish. What on God’s green earth could they be thinking about? I can see it now...

Joe Millionaire property owner buys a new house, custom made of course, and decides to spend $100,000 on the landscape, so he looks in the local Yellow Pages under the listing of Landscape Design. There in bright red is a neat little ad promoting landscape design from Harry’s Landscape Design and Professional Window Washing. “What the heck!” Joe thinks to himself, “This guy seems be pretty well established. And look here, it says, ‘No landscape designs over $2,000.’ ” What poor Mr. Property Owner doesn’t know is the only time Harry has ever actually designed a landscape is when he did it for his Auntie Eleanor. The whole thing consisted of three Washingtonia Robustas and a small patch of sod (blue grass or fescue whichever was cheaper). And his Aunt sold the house before they started the installation. Now, I’m sure the ending of this little story is self-evident but I’ll put an ending on it anyway.

Joe called Harry and hired him to design his landscape. Harry bought some drafting paper and drew up a pretty little landscape. Of course the trees he specified didn’t survive. The grass he called for turned yellow from all the shade of the custom house. And Harry inadvertently forgot to specify the irrigation system. Too bad Joe had to pay Harry before the landscape contractor saw the plans. Joe spent $65,000 on a dead landscape, Harry bought new uniforms for his window washers and now Joe’s lawyers are suing the AlAs because they’re the ones who want the liability!

Fortunately we have people keeping an eye on these situations. Thanks to a great effort from the CCLA and its representatives these bills have been stifled... for now. l tried calling Senator Ed Royce (the author of SB 392 asking for the repeal of your licenses), but no one ever answered the phone. Maybe you can get through to this public servant. His phone numbers are (714) 871 -0270 and (916) 445-5831. If you care to write, his address is: State Capital, Room 4066, Sacramento, CA 95614. I suggest that we all put a little pressure on this man to open his eyes to the fact that this is a specialized industry. Landscape architects have made too many strides for the advancement of their industry to let these uninvolved legislators succeed in pushing you backwards.

--God Bless

George Schmok, Publisher

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October 17, 2019, 6:26 am PDT

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