This action is brought by the New Jersey State Board of Architects to recover from the defendant Armstrong a penalty as provided in N.J.S.A. 45:3-10 on the asserted ground that defendant has unlawfully engaged in the practice of the profession of architecture in violation of the statute.
The facts are stipulated. The defendant, who is not a licensed architect, drew up a set of plans for a dwelling house and cocktail lounge located on Marne Highway in Masonville, a part of Mount Laurel Township. The dwelling house was for the personal occupancy of defendant and his wife and the cocktail lounge or tavern is an integral part of the same structure and is owned and operated by the defendant and his wife. The plans drawn by the defendant were submitted to the building inspector of the Township of Mount Laurel and a building permit was issued to the defendant on December 18, 1962. The defendant personally constructed the building depicted in the plans. The defendant has never been charged with the preparation of any other building plans.
The State Board contends that the drawing of said plans constituted the unlawful practice of architecture within the proscription of N.J.S.A. 45:3-10. The defendant denies this and asserts that the drawing of these plans is within the exception set forth in the statute.
N.J.S.A. 45:3-10 provides in part as follows:
"Any person who shall pursue the practice of architecture in this State, or shall engage in this State in the business of preparing plans, specifications and preliminary data for the erection or alteration of any building, except buildings designed by licensed professional engineers incidental or supplemental to engineering projects, or use the title architect or registered architect, or shall advertise or use any title, sign, card or device to indicate that such person is an architect, without a certificate thereof or while his certificate is suspended, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, or any person aiding or assisting such person not having a certificate to practice architecture or while his certificate to practice architecture is suspended, shall be liable to a penalty of not less than $200.00, nor more than $500.00 for the first offense, and a penalty of not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000.00 for a second or each subsequent offense, which penalty shall be sued for, and recovered by and in the name of the board. The
payment to the board of an amount at least equal to the minimum penalty prescribed in this act, prior or subsequent to the commencement of proceedings for the recovery of a penalty shall be deemed and construed to be a conviction, and any subsequent violation shall be considered an additional offense.
Any single act or transaction shall constitute engaging in business or the practice of architecture within the meaning of this chapter. * * *"
There follows the exception under which the defendant claims protection:
"Nothing herein contained shall prohibit * * * any person in this State from acting as designer of any building that is to be constructed by himself for his own occupancy or occupancy by a member or members of his immediate family, * * *."
The State Board contends that since the exception permits the designing by a non-architect of a building only if it is to be constructed by himself and for occupancy by himself or member of his immediate family, it contemplates a building "necessarily simple in design" which is exclusively for residential occupancy by the designer or members of his family. It follows, says the State Board, that, since the building in question was designed not only as a ...