Sunday, October 25, 2020

Architects not happy with the Architect Registration Act

A number of architects based in Francistown are not happy with the Architect Registration Act which was amended by the Architect Registration Council (ARC) in 2014. ARC is a registration body formed under the Architects Registration Act of 2008 to regulate the architect profession in the country. 

The disgruntled architects have also written a letter to Francistown Mayoress, Sylvia Muzila complaining about the act and ARC as they claim the regulatory organization ignores their pleas. They are still waiting for a reply from the mayoress.

The architects are of the view that the Act is discriminative against draughts persons and technologists in the same profession. They also claim that when ARC made some amendments to the act in 2014, proper consultations were not made before endorsing the Act. 

One of the disgruntled architects who preferred to remain anonymous told the Sunday Standard last week in an interview that although the act seeks to regulate the architecture industry which is a welcome move, most of the pertinent issues regarding the welfare of less qualified architects especially the draught persons were left out when drafting the act. 

 “The act stipulates that an architect who has high academic credentials does an architectural drawing of up to 250 square meters and a draughts person draws only up to 150 meters. The architect scope of work should be unlimited. The act is not fair and demoralizes those who come from technical colleges and less qualified especially the youth to start their businesses as this limits them to make money and help create employment,” he said.

He said architect is an art, it should not be likened with other professions which are reliant mainly on academic credentials like Doctors or Accountants as the Act does. He also said they currently feel that the current council ill advises the government such that the end result is against the interest of all the architects and even the consumers whom it is supposed to be protecting. 

“Unfortunately it seems our pleas as the young generation of Francistown and future of this country are not listened to or fall in deaf ears. Through you we believe our voice as young entrepreneurs will be listened to honorable mayor,” reads part of the letter to the Mayoress which the Sunday Standard is in possession of  “Section 48A of the Act is unfair. The Architects Registration Amendment Act 2014 reads that “ every drawing shall notwithstanding that is produced by an architectural technologist or an Architectural Draughtspersons submitted for planning or building permission and for approval to a local authority, be signed by an architect who shall provide proof, thereto, of the validity of his or her registration by the council” reads the letter Another unhappy architect said in an interview this act is unfair on the architectural professionals who opt to operate their own firms. He said when one decides to run their own practice they know that they are responsible for quality of work they produce.

 “We feel that the whole act was rushed, no proper consultations with relevant stakeholders for an example the general public or consumer, relevant technical colleges and Ministry of Education,” he added Several efforts to contact Francistown Mayoress Muzila hit a snag last week as she was said to be busy with meetings. Her phone also rang unanswered until at the time of going to press.

Reached for comment, the Chairman of ARC Goitsemodimo Manowe said that in each profession there should be regulation and should be in line with international accepted standards. He rubbished the allegations by the concerned architects that there was no proper consultations prior to endorsing the act.

“One important issue is that it is important that we adhere to international standards. There were consultations and the act was even published in the government gazette I do not understand why they say there was no consultations. My advice to these concerned architects is that they should go and address their concerns at our offices. As the office of the regulator we are open to hear their complaints. I do not see how taking this issue to the mayor would help them,” he said.

He said that what his organization seeks to do is to regulate the practice of architecture in the country for the interest of the public. He said every practicing architect is expected to register with the council and added that this organization seeks to put an end to professional misconducts in the industry. 

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