After operating in an unregulated environment for many years, Cabinet will soon approve the Architects Registration Amendment Bill that will ensure architects are registered.
In an interview with Botswana Guardian this week, the Architects Association of Botswana president Vincent Moapare said once the Bill becomes a Law, they would be able to differentiate between bogus and real architects. Currently, it is difficult to tell who is a qualified architect as there is no regulation guiding practitioners. Parliament discussed the Bill at the end of April. The Association was formed in 1989 with the mandate of bringing all architects in the country together.
When it was formed, the country had no school of architects. Currently, they are in the process of getting the UB programme accredited by the Commonwealth Association of Architects to curb unemployment of graduates who often go for years without being absorbed by companies. Moapare revealed that a team of architects from the Commonwealth Association will be coming to assess the situation at UB. The Association is best known for its procedures for the validation of courses in architecture which convene international visiting boards to schools to assess courses against set criteria. These results in a list of qualifications recommended for recognition by members.
AAB has not been spared the harsh effects of the economic downturn. Moapare says the recession has left some of their members without projects to do. Government is one of their major clients and most of their members have had to downsize, while others closed down completely. Another challenge is that members of the public want to be charged low amounts of money for big projects. “They think we are expensive hence others end up going for quick fixes which result in a shoddy job,” he states.
He says that they have received a lot of complaints from people claiming to have been cheated by architects after substandard jobs were performed. However, he maintains they have never received complaints relating to any of their members. Moapare believes that as long as human beings need shelter, architects remain relevant. Among infrastructure made by members of the AAB is the Sekgoma Memorial Hospital in Serowe and Otse Police College. It has 140 members.