By Secretary, SVGIA

After almost eight years, there should not have been anything preventing the enforcement of the Architects Act 2011 (Act). However, at present the only thing that is prohibiting the implementation of the act, is for it to be gazetted in the official government gazette. For any bill to become law it must be signed by the Clerk of the House of Assembly then assented by the Governor-General and published in the Government Gazette.

In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the regulation of some professions is in place and active. The architecture profession is supposed to be regulated by an architect registration board (St. Vincent and the Grenadines Architects Council) which has its own Architects Act, and the key roles of the architect registration board are to register architects, conduct disciplinary investigations, pursue unregistered use of the term architect, accredit programmes of study and inform the public on architectural registration issues. The board has a responsibility to the public, users of architectural services, the built environment industry, and architects who employ graduates.

We are at a crucial time in this country’s development where we see the need for all professions to be properly regulated. A good regulatory environment is an essential foundation for nations to make their country a great place to work and live and to protect their environment. Regulators are a key lever to encourage innovation across the economy and foster productivity growth. Good regulation helps to make countries healthier, cleaner, more prosperous and safer, while supporting innovative solutions to the challenges faced, and thereby serves the interests of all citizens.

In SVG, at present, the negative effects of this regulatory absence is evident primarily in the construction industry, where there seems to be a free for all approach allowing anyone and any organisation/firm to design, bid and implement projects. The local trained architecture professional is then left to compete with inexperienced, untrained and sometimes foreign individuals or firm/organisation. Within the construction industry the architects are the only ones that have a regulatory body in place with its own act. I, therefore, make this appeal to have the Architects Act 2011 officially gazetted and thereby enforced with the hope that it will be a catalyst for other professions to do the same. Please don’t kill our profession!

What does it mean to be a regulated profession? There are many occupations whose members claim to be professionals. In this context, an important distinction is whether the profession is a “regulated profession” or not. The most common definition of “regulated profession” is that the profession has a governing or regulatory body that is sanctioned by law to govern or regulate the profession. Being recognised by the state as a regulated profession is seen by many as the demarcation line between being a “real” profession and being just another self-declared profession.

No profession wants to be marginalised and, in the same sense, no architect wants to feel marginalised after dedicating years of academic study, with further years of practical experience before he/she can be entrusted with the title of architect. It is in the interest of everyone to have the act gazetted! Please don’t kill our profession! It’s is in the best interest of SVG to have this act enforced.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to news.iwitness@gmail.com.

4 replies on “Please don’t kill our profession!”

  1. The most important thing for our Country is to implement a proper building code. I have never heard of an architect Act in other countries. Is this an Act design to monopolize the drafting industry to exclude draftsmen and other persons who may want to submit a plan?

    Regulating the architectural profession would mean that plans would become more expensive. It appears there are hidden agendas in this. I am not to sure if we want exclusivity in a small country like SVG. We would like our buildings to confirm to a particular standard. However, this would be achieve with the implementation of a proper building code not an Architect Act

    Let’s focus on developing a proper building. Once this is done, we must ensure all plans meet the requirements of the Code. The next step is to hire staff to enforce the Code. Government cannot pass legislation that allow people to create monopolies to address their personal interest.

    1. Agustus, regulating a profession does have the effects of creating exclusive zones but this is not anything new or sinister. Our Nursing Counsel is the regulatory body for Nurses in SVG; the Medical Board is the regulatory body for Doctors and the Bar Association is the regulatory body for Lawyers. I don’t hear people complaining about that and say those professions should be free for all and sundry! But the protecting of professionals only seems to stop there. I am in complete agreement with the author, you don’t just need professional regulation within the construction industry and related professions but for the engineering professions as well. As the country develops and these professions mature there is need to set standards of conduct etc to ensure that the public is protected from substandard work. If there are persons who feel they too are deserving of the related designations then let them apply to these regulatory bodies to be accepted.

  2. Very correct! A lot trades need to regulated in SVG. You have people in svg without an electricians license, but have work going on. Many of them never put in a year of school.

  3. Agustus Carr it sounds like you did not understand the article. Regulating a profession, any profession, is in the interest and protection of the public first and foremost. That is the way of the progressive world! your comment about monopolies and self interest seems without merit and unintelligent. If you are a trained professional, or someone interested in the safety of the public then you would understand the article.

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