Recently it was reported that the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) were confronting 200 illicit architects who never obtained any recognized architecture qualification and 100 more who are qualified but have not obtained registration. Believe it or not, Ireland has just started to aggressively protect the title of architect as of late 2009, enforcing the Building Control Act 2007.
John Graby RIAI director explained that, “Before the new law, anyone could call themselves an architect and the change happened at a time when the bottom was falling out of the construction industry. It’s taking time for people to realise it’s important that they have qualifications and have signed a code of conduct. The cost of registration – which can be as much as €1,200 – is likely to be discouraging people from complying with the law.”
Offenders have been warned by the RIAI that it is a criminal offense to practice without obtaining registration, a maximum penalty of a €5,000 fine and 12 months in jail.
”It’s taking time for people to realise it’s important to have qualified and signed the code,” Graby also stated.
Each of our countries have certain licensing procedures and as we have seen the natural disasters unfold from last week we know how crucial it is to provide sound design solutions for the built environment and those who inhabit these structures.
This raises some important questions about the necessity of projecting our architectural profession with a higher sense of credibility. Would a more credible profession with efforts to educate the general public about the need of a licensed architect mean more jobs?
As we are all making our way through the current economic situation, Clark D. Manus, FAIA, 2011 President, shared his thoughts, “Our first and highest priority has to be getting architects back to work. To get us to that better place, two broad strategies suggest themselves. The first is to increase an appreciation and understanding of the value of our profession’s core competency-design.” The AIA plans to publicize the profession to the general community through public service and sharing it within the schools and universities.
Manus also added, “By advocating legislation that has as its goal the rebuilding of this nation’s economy and, by elevating the public’s understanding that design matters, that it reflects our values and shapes the very fabric of our lives, we can improve the odds. Much is at stake. Not just the future health of our profession, but the future of our communities.”