12 Jan 2009
Some argue standards of architecture, landscape architecture and engineering will drop with the introduction on a new Built Environment Professions Bill, with one council replacing the existing seven councils controlling these professions, is there cause for concern?
lt seems those who have expressed concern are worried about the political control the Bill allows. They argue the professions had been self-regulating and standards have been ensured by people (mostly volunteers) who have an interest in furthering the professions. They further claim the Bill allows for political agendas to be manifested that could fall outside the best interests of the professions and even the public in extreme cases. A major worry, it seems, is that the process of peer review and judgment, through which new professionals are registered, could be overridden in order to increase the number of registrations. The argument is being made that people in the professions, who understand the issues and technicalities of those professions, should be allowed to act independently and objectively when it comes to registration of new professionals.
A serious concern of the existing councils is whether or not the international recognition enjoyed by the professions will be retained. Malcolm Campbell of the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) points out; "There is a very real danger standards could be diluted, and the international agreements various bodies have on registration and the validation of qualifications will be jeopardised.'
SACAP has agreements with the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) regarding validation. "Our institutional programmes are validated according to the Royal Institute of British Architects and CAA systems," Campbell adds. "We invite representatives of these organisations to be part of the accreditation panel. We are busy developing a Memorandum of Understanding to formalise this with the CAA and the International Union of Architects/Union Internationale des Architectes. But we have now had correspondence from the CAA expressing concern about the potential fallout around an initiative such as this new Bill."
An extensive article, debating the pros and cons of the new Bill is published in the September 2008 print edition of Urban Green File's sister magazine Architechnology.
Urban Green File