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Questions arise between the State and SOM over licensure on KCI project


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Questions are being asked between the state professional registration board and an integral part of the Maryland-based Edgemoor team. Hours after the initial version of this story posted, representatives of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the architecture firm Edgemoor hired for the billion dollar KCI project contacted The Missouri Times claiming that they were in compliance with state regulations due to their partnership structure.

As of October 19, 2017, both Shyra Rutherford and Shantae Duren of the Board of Architects, Professional Engineers, Professional Land Surveyors and Professional Landscape Architects said they could not find an active license for the firm in the State of Missouri. Per Duren and Rutherford of the Board, there is no “SOM” or “Skidmore” named firms in their registry to be licensed to do architecture work. A board representative stated if there was a complaint, the failure to register could lead to civil penalties “and more,” calling active involvement “illegal servicing.”

While neither Edgemoor nor SOM are Missouri companies, SOM claimed that because of their structure as a “partnership,” they could perform architecture work because a member of their partnership whose address is listed in Chicago has a Missouri license.

SOM provided the Missouri licensure certificates for William Baker, a Professional Engineer from Chicago, and Jonathan Stein also of Chicago. Statements by SOM and a section of the professional registration websites does cite partnerships as a way for firms to practice in the state.

However, two sources inside state government say that the actual architects of record must be registered with the state. As of now, two members of the city council have stated they were under the belief that Derek Moore, who directs the aviation practice of SOM, is the architect of record on the Edgemoor team. Moore is not found on the state’s database.

The question is whether the partnership structure of SOM allows the work they have previously done or if that work was done improperly. The state board has agreed to provide someone to be interviewed on the details of the law pertaining to partnerships and this project Friday morning.

The project went through a contentious bid process, ultimately winning the bid from the Kansas City City Council, which will now be put to a public vote on Nov. 7. SOM Architects created the design concepts, which were strikingly similar to the original drawings presented at city council meetings and can be viewed here.

“Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill (SOM), an internationally-known architecture firm, has incorporated elements that reflect Kansas City’s cultural heritage into the preliminary design,” said a release. “The two-story fountain in the center of the terminal would include technology to project messages and colors on the cascading water to welcome travelers.”

SOM, who previously designed the BMA Tower in Kansas City, was sued previously for faulty design when marble panels on the building failed and fell off, leading to a $5.3 million settlement. At the time, the firm was actively registered with the state.

SOM Architects explain design proposals to City Council – VIDEO/Kansas City Star

Edgemoor is developing the terminal project, partnering with SOM Architects for design and Clark Construction for construction.