Thursday 9 September 2010

Architect by the Grandfather Clause

Prior to the summer recess of the Dail (the Parliament), John O'Donoghue TD proposed  a private member's bill, which if successful with see the introduction of a "grandfather" clause to enable those who claim/have provided services of an architect for at least 10 years and are aged 35 or more to entitled to become a "registered" architect.(it might not be that simple but that's the basics of it) Naturally registered architects are not happy, nor is the body (RIAI) who represents them and who would blame them.

Throughout the summer, both in the print media and on line the issue has been tossed about, particularly between the RIAI and the Architect's Alliance.

So why is registration so important to a non qualified architect now? 

Title possibly? However another reason (the main reason) I believe is no doubt to do with Financial Institutions and the Law Society and one's ability to certify works. Being excluded from tendering for consultancy work for Government works too, can be an issue. Eg Schools summer works scheme.

Many of those providing architectural services outside of qualified architects are qualified architectural technicians/technologists (ATs).Many of the ATs do encounter difficulties with some banks and some solicitors, when it comes to certifying works, yet a qualified AT should, one would expect, be better qualified than an engineer to certify compliance with planning permission and building regulations and as competent as an architect.At the end of the day a qualified AT has studied Architectural Technology. Most bodies (banks, engineers etc) fail to distinguish the disciplines within engineering which is quiet broad. The term engineer is broad and covers quiet a few disciplines electrical/mechanical/civil/structural/manufacturing to list a few, of which not very many would qualify one with a level of knowledge of construction or planning to be in a position to offer an opinion of compliance with building regulations.Yet a qualified AT who studied building regulations and the technical side of construction, can be considered not suitably qualified by banks and solicitors.

Of course the fact  that The Building Control Bill 2007, which protected of the term architect, failed or neglected to register/protect the title of Architectural Technician/Technologist, hasn't helped the AT's case in terms of beginning qualified to certify works.

So getting back to John O'Donoghue Bill. Will it be be successful?

I'm not sure, by all accounts the Architect's Alliance have their homework done and have lobbied all the TD's, always a good start. You've got to hand that to them there. Is it the right thing to happen, not in my opinion, in theory there could be someone who has "acted" as an architect for the last 10 years or longer, yet only prepared drawings for planning permission and never taken into account compliance with building regulations... Mind you these type of "architects" aren't architectural technologists/technician's either.There are some  whom would genuniely qualify, however the proposed bill takes the good with the bad.It would be far better if Architectural Technology was considered a competent profession,and its title registered and accepted by the Law Society and all banks and other relevant bodies the same as Architects, Engineers and Surveyors.

Should the Bill be successful and be past into Law, one would have to say I would be foolish not to jump on the band wagon and get registered as an Architect. To be honest I'm not interested in becoming an architect through the backdoor or any other door, I'm an Architectural Technologist , however if you don't play the system you won't win, (or survive) as Tipperary Senior Hurlers proved last Sunday, in winning the All Ireland Hurling Championship 2010.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with all that you say but with one addition. I am caught between a rock and a hard place. I am an architectural technologist who through chance ended up working for himself some 13 years ago and although I call myself nothing but an the public, solicitors etc. blindly refer to me as an architect.
    The problem is that the riai have worked tirelessly at blocking the title architectural technologist being recognised while working at getting the Law Society to drop their acceptance of non acedemically qualified architects.
    I dream of the day that I can put up an Architectural Technologist sign outside my door.
    The IATGN looked promising for a few years but lack of any progress and obvious strong links with the RIAI meant that they went nowhere.
    So for the time being I am all for the Architects Alliance work because they are the only group that are kind of representing my interests and professional qualification.
    If only the IATGN with upwards of 15,000 members would realise the power they have in numbers alone and stand up and be counted.
    The RIAI have their heads stuck in the sands of exorbitant fees for too long and don't realise that they have been giving away the old typical roles of the Architect one by one (costing to the QS, Surveying, PSDP etc etc.) and the Architectural Technologist is trained and equipped to handle all those tasks.
    We AT's don't appear to have copped that we have become the pivotal link in the design team, from inception to project managing all the way to completion and signing off on the Architects headed paper.
    Architects have become office managers, with design and building legal & contractual knowledge added in for good measure. How long before we realise what we have and we do as the Architects Alliance are doing with their small numbers.
    Keep the faith!