Who should be a Certifier- Part 2: Architects?

by Mark Stephens


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

In this second post on who should be Certifier I look at my own profession – Architects.

The RIAI in Ireland carries out a statutory function as the Registration Body and Competent Authority for Architects in Ireland and in it is a requirement that a person must be registered with the RIAI to use the title ‘architect’ in Ireland.

The European Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament sets out the legislation and clearly stated Standards regarding the ‘Training of Architects’ which could be used by all individuals eligible for admission to RIAI Membership and the RIAI Register for architects.

If we look at that legislation in a little more detail, in particular: Section 8, Article 46 ‘Training of architects’:

(a) ability to create architectural designs that satisfy both aesthetic and technical requirements.

This is the background that gives Architects the training, skills and experience to be ‘Designers’ under S.I. No.9 of 2014. The ‘RIAI Standard of Knowledge, Skill and Competence for Practice as an Architect’ which uses the European Directive as a framework outlines further that architects should have:

“Ability to develop in detail the design of a building or complex of buildings so as to satisfy client brief, and objectives: aesthetically, functionally, technically and in compliance with regulations”.

(k) adequate knowledge of the industries, organisations, regulations and procedures involved in translating design concepts into buildings and integrating plans into overall planning.

This is the background that gives Architects the training, skills and experience to be ‘Assigned Certifiers’ under S.I. No.9 of 2014.

The ‘RIAI Standard of Knowledge, Skill and Competence for Practice as an Architect’ makes it very clear that Architects should have “Understanding of the resources required to translate the design intent into production drawings and specifications and the realisation of the design in built form”.

The problem is that architects are at risk of being the ‘Designer’ (not in an S.I.9 sense) that puts the pretty face upon a building and it’s left to the engineers to actually construct the building. This was seen recently in the recent debate that Mick Wallace raised with Minister Hogan regarding Architectural Technologists ( see post here) and although the sentiments are correct (in that Architectural Technologists should have been included as persons able to fulfil the duties of ‘Designer’ and ‘Assigned Certifier’ under S.I No.9 of 2014 and it’s a serious injustice that they were omitted), it is important to be clear that it is not the case that ‘An architect’s primary job is to design’ as stated by Mick Wallace. An architects job is to fulfil ALL the functions required as an architect under Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament as described above from the design through to the inspection and certification of the construction of a building.

“Person qualified to design and supervise the construction of buildings”

Other Posts of interest:

Who should be a Certifier- Part 1: Architectural Technologists? – click link here

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