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Not everyone who can draw a plan is an architect

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Tue Sep 16, 2014

Editor: Though architecture has inspired and created great civilizations, the profession is not given the respect and importance it deserves in St Vincent and the Grenadines and it is now the common misconception that anyone who can draw a set of plans is likened to or referred to as an architect.{{more}}

Architecture is one of the most prestigious professional pathways and it paints a very daunting picture for the future of architecture as a profession in St Vincent and the Grenadines based on this current misconception.

As an architect, I would like to share some information that will correct this misconception and enlighten the general public about the profession of architecture and the use of the title “architect.”

The word architect is derived from the Greek word ‘arkhi-tekton’ – ‘arkhi’ meaning ‘head’ and ‘tekton’ meaning ‘builder’. As the name implies, he is the head or master-builder, the leader of the team which constitutes the building industry.

An architect is a design professional who uses his creativity and working knowledge of structures and materials to provide living, working and recreational environments. To design these environments, an architect combines the practical considerations of the site, the clients’ needs and costs with a creative understanding of materials, aesthetics, and the socio-economic, cultural and physical contexts. Architects are not just concerned with buildings, but with improving the built environment as a whole; they have to balance the private needs of their clients with the interest of the community at large, while maintaining a minimal carbon footprint. For those who chose to be architects, it is a culture, a commitment and a lifelong path to discovery.

Who is an Architect?

Architects are fully qualified professionals.

While virtually anyone can draw up plans and call themselves a building designer, only a person registered by the Architects Council of St Vincent and the Grenadines should use the term ‘architect’. But the difference is more substantial than just a name.

Architects must have gained approved professional tertiary qualifications or equivalent, have undertaken a minimum period of practical experience, and have successfully completed the oral and written examinations if necessary before becoming qualifying for registration and qualifying to use the title “architect”.

Once registered, practising architects should undertake continuing professional development activities each year to ensure their knowledge; skills and competence remain current and up to date.

So, when you are working with an architect, you will know you are dealing with a fully qualified professional.

Becoming an Architect

In St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Architects Act 2011, an act of parliamentary statutes requires that any person carrying out the practice of architecture under the title of “architect” is to be registered with the Architects Council of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In St Vincent and the Grenadines, there are different pathways to registration. Which pathway an applicant takes depends on whether the applicant possesses a professional qualification in architecture or not, and if the professional qualification is from an accredited course or not.

Architects’ Services

What does an architect do?

The range of tasks that an architect performs may include:

  • Advising clients on building needs and requirements including maintenance, site selections and regulations.
  • Assisting clients in the development of briefing requirements for projects.
  • Undertaking feasibility studies and interpreting client needs.
  • Preparing sketch plans and coordinating cost estimates.
  • Evaluating alternative options.
  • Preparing detailed designs, working drawings and specifications for use by the builders in constructing the project.
  • Preparing documents for approval by building regulatory authorities (planning, construction, fire, health, etc).
  • Calling and evaluating tenders from builders and specialist sub-contractors when required.
  • Monitoring and inspecting building work to ensure it conforms to the contract documents.
  • Researching improved planning, design and management techniques.
  • Evaluating the completed project

Architect Advantage

  • ARCHITECT ADVANTAGE #1

When you hire an architect we will make sure that your interests are protected.

  • Choosing to build is one of life’s biggest decisions so it makes sense to have your project designed by an architect. The Council registers architects to protect the interests of the public. It’s one less thing you need to worry about when you build.

  • ARCHITECT ADVANTAGE #2

Architects are regulated by an act of parliament.

  • Is your building designer an architect? It is an offence under an Act of Parliament for anyone not registered with the Council to call themselves an architect or claim to practice architecture. When you build or renovate, ‘architect’ designed is the smartest decision you can make.

  • ARCHITECT ADVANTAGE #3

if it’s architect designed you know your project is in professional hands.

  • It takes at least seven years to become an architect. There is a minimum of five years study for a university degree, plus at least two years practical experience and a nationally accredited exam to pass. Only then can a person be registered by the Council and call themselves an ‘architect’. That is why when you are working with an architect you know you are dealing with a fully qualified professional.

So the next time you hear or know of someone using the title “architect” inappropriately, please correct them and let us try to maintain what’s left and try to rebuild what we have lost for the profession of architecture in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Observer.

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