KY Board-Unlicensed Practice of Engineering

Civil Engineering, Landscape Architecture
By Doug Blackburn
Sep 30, 2008 - 6:41:44 AM

Landscape Architects provide a vital service to both the public and private sector landscape planning.  The letter sent by the Kentucky Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors references the applicable definitions and statutes that govern Landscape Architects and Engineers.  The Board is concerned that some Landscape Architects are practicing engineering without a license because they are designing features at sites instead of planning them. 

We are sure this will be addressed in the coming months and some of those landscape architects might be scrutinized or addressed with legal action.  We recognize this and want to provide engineering software and design services to protect your company from this scrutiny and possible lawsuits.  Retaining Wall Expert WILL ALSO STREAMLINE YOUR OPERATION.  Our software provides 1000's of designs and takes into consideration:  block type, soil properties, loads, friction angle and much more!  We've attached the full article below and encourage you to look around our site (especially the Engineering-Design section).

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.  We can be of assistance in the design of your next Segmental Retaining Wall project.(  and

*The Kentucky Board of Licensure for Landscape Architects has posted a rebuttal to this letter.  We will post their rebuttal (our opinions on this issue) shortly ... stay tuned.

Unlicensed Practice of Engineering

The following has been distributed to various agencies throughout Kentucky:

TO:             Kentucky Governmental Agencies & Organizations

FROM:        B. David Cox

Executive Director

DATE:         July 29, 2008

RE:              Unlicensed Practice of Engineering

We have been made aware that Landscape Architects are performing engineering design services in certain geographic areas of Kentucky.  In order to bring such practices to an end, we ask you to be cognizant of our requirements in your Request for Proposals, contracts, regulations, and review of projects.

KRS 323A.010(3) allows the Landscape Architect to design items such as planting, reforestation, and the preservation of the natural landscape ecology and environment.  They can also plan and propose the arrangement of land and water elements and the location and alignment of roadways, buildings, parking lots, walkways, steps, ramps, etc.  However, they cannot design such features.

The statute uses terms such as planning of outdoor space, relationships, arranging, alignment, and location.  Considering this in relation to the practice of engineering under KRS 322.010(4), the Landscape Architect can plan and propose locations of physical features, but the Professional Engineer (PE) should actually design such features.  These features include site grading and drainage plans, utility plans, retaining walls, cuts, fills, storm water, sewers, public streets or those intended for public dedication, and entrances onto public streets.  In simple terms, the Landscape Architect can plan the location and arrangement of such items, but the PE would actually design.  Since 1938, KRS 322 has required that such design work be performed by a PE and no one else.  Any Landscape Architect or other individual who performs such design work is practicing engineering without a license and will be prosecuted in Franklin Circuit Court.

Your assistance in protecting the public through ensuring that only licensed professional engineers practice engineering in the Commonwealth of Kentucky would be appreciated.  If you have questions, or need clarification, please contact me.