Architectural regulation improves workmanship

Andrew Maramwidze BG reporter
Friday, 21 September 2018
Architectural regulation improves workmanship

Once littered with several bogus practising professionals and repetitive series of inferior work such as Shakawe Senior Secondary School and the Dibete Police Station, the economy is now geared for quality workmanship with fewer red flags.Shoddy work by contractors and consultants in the construction industry that has haunted the economy over the past years is slowly coming to a halt.

Mmilili Mojiwa Kenneth, the Registrar at Architects Registration Council (ARC) says amid few perennial challenges, the Council, architects, architectural technologists and architectural draftspersons are gradually adhering to the professionalism call. ARC has since November 2015 been registering architectural professionals and has over 226 registered members in its register.

However, the number remains far below those anticipated in the market. “Though we think registration is slow, we intend to establish the reasons why people are reluctant to register and be compliant with the law as expected” said ARC chief who is optimistic the number will increase in the next two years. 

However, Kenneth’s immediate concern is that the public sector continues to disregard and flout the existing laws and requirements regarding the implementation of the law and procurement of architectural services.“Some local authorities – town, city, district and sub-district councils defy and continue to ignore numerous communication and advice to include and consider the Council’s statutory requirements in their operations which overlap with the mandate of ARC and practise by professionals,” said Kenneth.

As a result, ARC continues to receive complaints from members of the public on unregistered individuals practising architectural duties. Kenneth says the bogus architectural professionals are exposing the consumers and public to different types of risks.“If the environment is not regulated, everyone will be free to offer services and disregarding issues.

“We need to identify who is rightfully trained, qualified and skilled to offer the architectural services, so that we safeguard the public interest, people are being conned and cheated as we speak,” said Kenneth, highlighting that some individuals want the industry to remain unregulated. He said lack of legislation which prevailed before the Architects’ Registration Act (ARC 2015) has stained the industry, leading to several projects failing to be completed on time and budget.

Kenneth went on to say that government has been concerned that poor performance by consultants and contractors highly compromise the quality and standards of projects, and that issues of delays in practical completion of projects always overshoot the initial budgets.

“Through registration and regulation of the professionals and the activities of the profession, the need for professionalism, common practices and standards will be addressed.  “Our mandate is to ensure that through self-regulation, fundamental issues of professionalism, academic education, training and requisite professional experiences are fulfilled.” He said sloppy work and other concerns regarding poor or delayed delivery of desired architectural services is now declining in the construction industry.

“We really want to ensure that regulation efficiently addresses issues that previously affected the industry,” Kenneth said. Apart from keeping a register of architectural professionals in the country, ARC has embarked on validation of various architectural courses offered by various institutions in the country.

“We want the qualifications to address eminent issues of the profession and meet international standards,” said Kenneth, highlighting that skills mismatch with industry requirements are a result of colleges offering qualifications that are not aligned to the needs of the industry and the registration requirements. 

 Kenneth is confident that the industry is gradually upholding the required standards despite regulatory and industry challenges encountered.  ARC also has plans to embark on countrywide outreach activities to create and improve its visibility to all stakeholders.“This has been a challenge since the Council is at its infancy stage and thus has got financial and manpower capacity limitations, making it difficult to undertake its planned activities within reasonable timelines,” said Kenneth.

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