MICHIGAN S LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS

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1 MICHIGAN S LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS protecting the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens

2 site design land use planning master planning streetscape design brownfield redevelopment guidelines and regulations In the revitalization of downtowns, landscape architects incorporate visibility, traffic control, and safe pedestrian access as well as vegetation type and spacing into their plans. Landscape architects work on both large and small scales to implement secure designs for major events. Real estate value is created by landscape architects through design services that combine safe, effective, and functional design with aesthetic character. Urban design deals with designing and planning cities and towns of all sizes. Urban design utilizes existing zoning, regulations, master plans, conceptual plans, land use studies, and other methods to create or revitalize the layout and organization of urban areas. This also involves the design of transportation systems and their aesthetic elements.

3 Landscape architects make ideas become reality. They can take the lead role in projects from concept through successful completion. Landscape architects have the education and experience to provide the interface between nature and the built environment. Landscape architects play a central role in community development by investigating site conditions, restoring waterways while providing flood control measures, and site planning for safe fire access, compatible land uses, and efficient road alignments. Need for regulation: Landscape Architects are an integral part of designing public places. Successful communities depend on successful public places.

4 recreation eation design parks athletic fields playgrounds open space Landscape architects design and develop millions of dollars of park and recreation facilities every year. They create the concepts and then translate them into the final design. The final design requires technical drawings and specifications. Many decisions are made on what is built, what materials are used, how elements are fastened together and how people will interact with the finished product. Landscape architects are uniquely qualified for this work. The State of Michigan and many local units of government spend millions of taxpayer dollars every year. Competent design work is necessary to handle large volumes of parking and overlapping modes of traffic, as well as fences, pavement and hardscape, and recreational equipment that may be hazardous if located or installed improperly. Parks and recreation planning involves creating or redesigning parks and recreational areas in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Landscape architects also develop plans for large natural areas as part of national parks, forests and open space systems.

5 Public parks, schools, and homeowner association properties commonly feature playgrounds and other special features that require expertise in fall zones and resilient surfacing, guardrails, and design for effective supervision. Landscape architects have specific technical competence in accessibility regulations and a professional focus in the design of places that must accommodate a wide variety of ages and ability levels. Need for regulation: Parks and Recreation are key components of our Michigan economy. Proper design is essential.

6 water resourr esources drainage & erosion control stormwater management recreation water quality & conservation Landscape architects collaborated to bring activity, environmental functions, and economic vitality back to this former industrial river land. Prior to a collaborative effort with landscape architects, this drainage corridor was heavily eroded, and unable to function in a flood situation or accommodate recreational use. As demonstrated at the Audubon Nature Center, landscape architects preserve water quality and biological productivity through wetland mitigation projects, while designing safe public access. Environmental Planning and design studies the interaction between people and their environment. The focus is on interpretation, analysis and formulation of designs, guidelines, and master plans to ensure the quality of the environment. This area also includes the development, enhancement, and preservation of water resources and habitats.

7 Landscape architects design complex irrigation systems which sustain healthy landscapes through efficient water distribution resulting in millions of gallons of saved water each year. Especially in urban areas, a successful waterway restoration project involves warnings, barriers and bank protection, as well as measures to provide safe recreation. This water conserving demonstration garden designed by landscape architects serves as a valuable educational resource on water reuse landscaping for the Great Lakes region. Need for regulation: Water quality is critical to Michigan s recreation and economic viability.

8 trails & greenways trails pedestrian oriented community design This trail and rest area carries high volumes of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, while serving as one of many focal points for the Michigan tourism industry. Need for regulation: Design must adhere to standards to insure safety. Landscape architects design all types of trails, from urban to rural. Non-motorized and motorized trails add to the quality of life.

9 frequently asked questions MICHIGAN CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS (MASLA) Q: What is the MASLA goal? A: Currently, landscape architects in Michigan are regulated under a title act that allows a qualified landscape architect to register with the state and have the title of a Registered Landscape Architect. MASLA recommends legislation to upgrade the current title act to a practice act the strongest form of regulation. The practice act outlines a core group of services that licensed landscape architects are qualified to provide by virtue of their education, experience, and examination. Defining the scope of landscape architectural practice is necessary when working with jurisdictions that require site, grading, stormwater, or erosion control plans to be stamped by specific licensed professionals. Q: Why does MASLA recommend a practice act? A: The practice of landscape architecture directly impacts public health, safety, and welfare, and a practice act is the strongest form of regulation to ensure that the public is adequately protected. A title act will still allow anyone to perform landscape architectural services as long as they are not identified as a landscape architect. Landscape architecture must be regulated such that untrained individuals are prevented from engaging in professional practice that impacts the public heath, safety, and welfare. Licensed landscape architects fulfill educational training and examination requirements that prepare professionals to protect the public. Q: How does the MASLA goal compare to other states more or less turf? A: Most other states already have Practice Acts in place. In fact, 38 states have practice acts for landscape architecture. With a practice act in place, Michigan will have similar standards as our neighboring states with licensure. This will help Michigan based landscape architects compete for projects in other states. Q: What impact will the practice act for landscape architects have on other professions? A: Licensure for one profession and registration for the other may be perceived by the consumer as an endorsement of the skill and competence of one profession over the other. Where professions overlap, it provides a state-sanctioned advantage for one profession that holds a practice act license over the Landscape Architect profession which currently has a title act license. This destroys the competitive, free market in which design professionals compete. The licensure of landscape architects is necessary to put the profession on an equal footing with those already licensed to perform tasks traditionally performed by landscape architects. This equality can also facilitate the ability of landscape architects to lead projects, form certain business partnerships, and serve as principals in multidisciplinary firms. In addition, a practice act will provided further professional incentives for retaining young professionals in the State of Michigan who may consider relocating to fully licensed states where a practice act exists.

10 frequently asked questions MICHIGAN CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS (MASLA) Q: What impact in terms of costs will the practice act for landscape architects have on the state of Michigan? A: Because Michigan landscape architects already have title act, license fee structure, rules and a State Board of Landscape Architects in place, the MASLA recommended legislation will not increase the state obligations or costs. The recommended legislation includes a provision for continuing education for landscape architects. The continuing education requirements, as proposed, would be structured by the Board of Landscape Architecture which is part of the Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG) and will likely be cost neutral. DLEG will have a significant role in determining the extensiveness of the continuing education and the related costs. Q: Where in the State law does it differentiate between an architect/professional engineer and a landscape architect in terms of pursuit of State of Michigan projects, sealing drawings, being the responsible party, etc.? A: This issue is in the process of being researched but the reality is that the true Landscape Architecture professional offices are limited in the type of State Government work that they are allowed to perform. General limitations that exclude landscape architecture firms include projects that exceed $15,000 and require the preparation of construction documents that will be approved by the Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG). This does not exclude multi-disciplinary professional firms where landscape architecture departments exist from completing state projects. The Department of Management and Budget (DMB) has been given broad legislative authority and oversight over all development on state land. DMB has memorandums of understanding in place with several state departments that provides those departments limited discretion to manage or execute certain types of projects themselves. These memorandums of understanding may allow for landscape architecture firms to complete planning related projects that do not require the preparation of DLEG approved contract documents. Much of the exclusion of Landscape Architecture firms from state work requiring approved contract documents seems to be derived from interpretations of multiple public acts. The general interpretation which has developed is that Landscape Architects are not fully licensed design professionals. Comparison of other state public acts or interpretations of professional design license practice rights may not be applicable because of the opinion that much of these interpretations may be politically driven and thus not true comparisons from one state to another. Public Acts that have been referenced that contribute to this current interpretation and provide the basis for the broad authority include: Department of Management and Budget Act, Public Act 431 of 1984 Occupational Code Act, Public Act 299 of 1980 Michigan Construction Code Act, Public 230 Act of 1972

11 frequently asked questions MICHIGAN CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS (MASLA) Q: Is there a difference between the insurance that an architect/professional engineer carries and what a landscape architect would carry? A: Insurance requirements for projects are generally set by the client. They do not make distinctions regarding professions; rather they address types of insurance and coverage requirements. Any professional, wishing to secure a contract on a project needs to meet those requirements. Various professionals participating in multi-disciplinary projects typically are required to carry the same level of insurance regardless of the services they offer. The professional liability insurance purchased by landscape architects is often the same policy that is purchased by architects and engineers. The insurance rates are determined by the type and volume of work done as well as a firm s or individuals claim history, professional staff and business practices. Professionals practicing outside of their field have two obstacles to overcome. First, they must convince their clients that they are the most suitable person/entity for the project. Second, they must secure the necessary insurance. Q: How would the increase of licensed LA s be better to consumers? A: Landscape architects are called upon for complex services that require highly technical skills, making it difficult for prospective customers to evaluate the quality of the work. Licensure as a measure of competence can assist consumers in identifying appropriate professionals for design services. Costs for services may be higher to consumers and developers when a landscape architect must obtain a seal of another design professional before moving ahead with a project. Q: How will continuing education for landscape architects be beneficial to the state of Michigan? A: The MASLA effort will add a provision to allow the State Board of Landscape Architects to develop a continuing education requirement for the profession. Continuing education would provide opportunities for landscape architects to remain abreast of innovations in the landscape architecture profession. Continuing education would also provide opportunities for landscape architects to share and discuss ideas, techniques, and experiences. Q: What do I as a landscape architect stand to lose? A: The language as proposed is written very broadly and will not limit or exclude landscape architectural services that Landscape Architects currently provide in the State of Michigan. In fact, MASLA recommends expanding services to include specific terms such and storm water control design and grading design. With this additional language, qualified landscape architects will be able to provide these additional services.

12 MICHIGAN S LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS proven leadership in creating the spaces where people live, work, and play To learn more about Landscape Architects and how they help shape the world around you please visit: The Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects The American Society of Landscape Architects The Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards For more information about this subject contact: Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects 1000 W. St. Joseph Hwy., Suite 200 Lansing, MI Phone (517) , Fax (517)

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