Thoughts on a Register for Architectural Technologists

by Bregs Blog admin team


The following opinion piece was submitted by Barry Lyons Dip Arch Tech, Dip Proj Man, on 28th May 2014.

A few thoughts on the establishment of a Register of Architectural Technologists

Let me begin by stating a few things. I’m taking from reading posts on this forum that most people on here agree on the following;

 1.      The current building control system is no better for the consumer than the old system and should be scrapped.

But now that we’re stuck with the system…

2.      The exclusion of Architectural Technologists from acting in the role of the Assigned Certifier is baffling and a serious oversight and should be corrected immediately.

3.      A register of Architectural Technologists should be established to ensure competence.

If we accept that a register needs to happen, and it seems even Minister Hogan is leaning that way, then serious consideration needs to be given now as to how this is established and who maintains the register. To try and get the Minister’s Department to rectify two of his mistakes could be a lifetime’s work.

As far as I see it there are three options (four if you include do nothing, which let’s face isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility)

Option 1: Establish an Independent Registration Body.

I think we can safely assume this will take months of talking as to how to best establish such a body and probably wouldn’t happen within the lifetime of this Government or mine.

Let’s call that the Nuclear option.

Option 2: Ask the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists CIAT to establish and manage the register of Architectural Technologists in Ireland.

The CIAT is already establishing a “CIAT-operated Register” in the Republic of Ireland for Architectural Technologists competent in certification of design and compliance. This will be open to all professionals who can demonstrate competence and would not be restricted to CIAT members.

The CIAT is the UK’s Competent Authority for Chartered Architectural Technologists and already has systems in place to determine competency levels in the same way the RIAI and SCSI did for their Registers and has many Irish Members already. Cost and time for this option are negligible.

Full disclosure, I’m currently going through the process of becoming a Member myself.

Option 3: Let the RIAI establish a second Register in accordance with their policy statement below, reissued only this week:

At the 7th March 2014, the RIAI Council voted to support in principle the following policy in relation to Architectural Technologists:

1.RIAI will set up an RIAI Register of Architectural Technologists immediately.

2.RIAI acknowledges and will support the need for a Statutory Register of Architectural Technologists.

3.RIAI will promote such a statutory Registered Architectural Technologist as a competent person to:

(a) Carry out Performance Calculation & Technical Design in accordance with
Building Regulations
(b) Certify Performance Calculation and Technical Design carried out in accordance in
Building Regulations
(c) Inspect the construction of buildings as required to certify compliance with
Building Regulations

4.The RIAI will support the development and establishment of an Architectural Technologist Register Admissions Examination (ATRAE) for purposes of entry to the Statutory Register of Architectural Technologists. The examination should be at a level which recognises the education, experience and skills of the Architectural Technologist.

5.RIAI will develop and establish an RIAI Code of Conduct and a Professional Conduct Committee for professional practice as a Registered Architectural Technologist.

As a reluctant Technician Member of the RIAI (a condition of my PI Insurance cover) I have serious reservations about allowing the RIAI establish and maintain this register.

In my time as a Technician Member of the RIAI (c. 5 years) I can honestly say I don’t remember a single thing that the RIAI have done specifically for Technologists. We pay our fees, still have to do the 40 hours of CPD and yet are barred from even signing the RIAI certs of compliance with Planning and Building Regulations on projects we’ve designed and supervised ourselves. To be fair, I do get a nice sticker for my letter head though.

In relation to certifying I’d draw your attention point 3(c) in the above policy statement.

…RIAI will promote such a statutory Registered Architectural Technologist as a competent person to … Inspect the construction of buildings as required to certify compliance with Building Regulations.

Did you see it… Inspect, but not actually certify themselves.

In case you’re thinking this is a wilfully dishonest reading of the wording check out point 3(b) where they specifically state “Certify Performance Calculation and Technical Design carried out in accordance in Regulations”

This is the worry.

The RIAI are there to protect their members, Architects. As a Technologist I’m not convinced this aim wouldn’t be best served by restricting the ability of Technologists to act in the role of Assigned certifier. And we haven’t even started on the time it’ll take to establish their register, put the systems in place to determine competency levels, etc etc. Actually let’s call this the Nuclear Option.

I’m speaking in a personal capacity here and not on behalf of the CIAT or any other technologist but as a Technologist, should Registration ever happen, I’d like it to be handled by an authority who has a proven track record in acting for Architectural Technologists, has the capacity and resources to establish the Register without delay and most importantly is willing to do so.

The CIAT is the only logical option.


Other posts on this topic:

Audio Clip: Dáil Debate 27th May- Architectural Technologists & SI.9 – click link here

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register – click link here

Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Petition – click link here

Phil Hogan TD to Minister Gormley on “premature” and “market distortion effects” of register in 2010  – click link here

Architectural Technologist’s personal letter to TD – click link here

An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

Collins & O Cofaigh- A BETTER way: BC(A)R SI.9 Solutions – click link here