Life is rich, always changing, always challenging, and we architects have the task of transmitting into wood, concrete, glass and steel, of transforming human aspirations into habitable and meaningful space.
– Arthur Erickson
I’ve been thinking about this post for a while and John Cloonan ( http://archtech-ie.blogspot.com/2010/09/architect-by-grandfather-clause.html) with his excellent post stirred me into action.
Here’s my take on the John O’Donoghue Private Members’ Bill which wants to amend the Building Control Act.
In essence the Bill wants to amend the Building Control Act so that a person can be a registered Architect by the following:
1. Being at least 35 years old
2. Showing evidence of providing services commensurate with those of an architect in Ireland for a minimum of 7 years
3. Having a portfolio of work undertaken for quantitive verification during the minimum 7 years
4. Providing a sworn declaration of the above.
You will notice that there is no account of any educational qualifications, supervised practical experience and professional practice examination (which would be the standard way most architects would become registered in Europe (and indeed most countries in the world!). Nor is there any account of a technical assessment for those not having architectural qualifications but have worked as an architect which is an alternative way of becoming a registered architect in Ireland and already exists (apparently Holland is the only other EU country to have such a similar technical assessment).
Why is this Bill Amendment a problem ?
If the Bill goes through the following will happen:
* It will undermine consumer confidence and protection
* It will invalidate the existing register of Architects
* It will damage the reputation of Irish architects and architecture (you can forget about any Irish Architecture graduates getting jobs overseas)
* It discriminates against those who have worked and invested in a qualification and career in architecture
* It undermines the validity and acceptibility of all architectural qualifications in Ireland
* The Bill Amendment is for those unwilling to have their knowledge, skill and competence properly assessed.
There have been unfounded criticisms of the existing technical assessment procedure:
It’s not independent – Although the RIAI is the Registration Body, the responsibility for the technical assessment is with an independent Technical Assessment Board
It takes too long and is too demanding – The Technical Assessment can be done in as little as 4 months. Compare that to the 3 years degree, 2 years supervised practical experience, 2 year Postgraduate Diploma, Practical Experience Examination + Interview plus the interview and Part 3 Lecture series before I could register as an architect in Ireland !
It’s too expensive – The Technical Assessment has been investigated and audited by an idependent firm of Accountants experienced in forensic work and is the actual cost for the procedure.
It’s elitist – The technical assessment is open to all, is independent and does not disadvantage anyone in the process.
The bar is set too high – With the Bill Amendment there would effectively be no bar – this is not in the interest of the consumer.
It puts people out of business – The existing Act does not prevent anyone working in the field of architecture; the only control is over who can legally use the name ‘architect’. This restriction is completely normally in every European country.
What can you do about it ?
You can meet with your local senator and/or TD and explain the above situation and how the Bill Amendment will undermine consumer confidence and protection.
Comments welcome as always…