Who should be a Certifier- Part 1: Architectural Technologists?

by Mark Stephens

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The following is an opinion piece submitted on 4th June 2014 by registered architect (UK and Ireland trained) Mark Stephens RIBA MRIAI.

As the debate on Architectural Technologists and Assigned Certifiers rumbles on, I thought it opportune to analyse exactly who should (and shouldn’t be) a ‘Designer’ or ‘Assigned Certifier’.

I’m going to look at the knowledge and skills required by possible ‘Designers’ and ‘Assigned Certifiers’ in relation to the requirements of S.I. No.9 of 2014. In order to do that we need to look at the professional organisations that represent each group.

The essential requirement of anyone acting as (a) ‘Designer’ or (b) ‘Assigned Certifier’ is that at pre-construction stage a ‘Designer’ should have enough skills and experience in order to prepare a sufficiently detailed set of drawings and specifications to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations at the time.

In the case of (b) the Assigned Certifier is required to have sufficient skills and experience in order to ensure the drawings and specifications prepared by (a) are constructed in accordance with the same (and any subsequent amendments) in order to ensure what is eventually constructed is in accordance with the Building Regulations.

Therefore starting with Architectural Technologists who are currently represented in Ireland by the RIAI and whose policy adopted on 7th of March 2014 is:

“1. The RIAI will begin to establish an non statutory RIAI Register of Architectural Technologists.
2. The RIAI acknowledges and supports the need for a Statutory Register of Architectural Technologists.
3. The 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 & Technical Design carried out in accordance in Building Regulations.
c) Inspect the construction of buildings as required to certify compliance with Building Regulations.”

As far as I can see it does not explicitly state that the RIAI will promote Architectural Technologists to be suitably qualified as Designers and Assigned Certifiers.

If we look however at the RIAI  (see link to RIAI document on the Skills, Knowledge and competences required by Architectural Technologists) we can see that:

  • ‘Knowledge of the theory and principles of environmental design’: Includes the relationship between a building and its immediate and wider environments and ‘Includes thermal behaviour, energy performance, climate protection and conditions of comfort factors in the building design process’ i.e. for all intents and purposes Part L, and;
  •  ‘Ability to produce technical drawings,specifications, compliance reports, and other written technical documentation’ are the drawings and specifications required at (a) as ‘Designer’
  • ‘Ability to coordinate and integrate structural and building services design inputs’: Includes being able to co-ordinate and monitor structural and building services engineering design drawings and related information.i.e. includes the coordination of ancillary certifiers such as Structural Engineers
  • Understanding of the structure, operation and general activities of the construction team and their interaction within the construction process.: which includes:

“understanding of site practice and procedures, site organisation and setup, compound, storage, sanitation etc. Includes monitoring, assessing and reporting on the execution of quality/workmanship during Operations On-Site and Completion Stages Includes engagement in critical appraisal of quality/workmanship with contractors and subcontractors.”. To me that sounds like the duties required by an Assigned Certifier.

If we look at the CIAT (the UK based Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists and is the lead qualifying body for Architectural Technology) we see that Architectural Technologists are qualified in:

“Producing, analysing and advising upon specification, materials selection and detailed design solutions in relation to performance and production criteria
Liaising with and producing documentation for statutory approval authorities”
. That sounds a lot like the Designer (a), and:

“Ensuring continual compliance with design, legal, statutory and professional requirements” during the construction phase; i.e. Assigned Certifier

It is therefore in my opinion a grave injustice taking the above into account that Architectural Technologists have been omitted from S.I. No.9 of 2014 from becoming Designer and Assigned Certifier.

Future posts will look at other professions such as Architects and Chartered Engineers and Building Surveyors.

Other posts on this topic:

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT – click link here

Architectural Technologist – Platitudes, Head Nodding and BC(A)R SI.9. – click link here

O’Cofaigh letter to Mick Wallace TD – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologist and certification – click link here

Thoughts on a Register for Architectural Technologists – click link here

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

 

 

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