Seanad debates

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Adjournment Matters

Registration of Architects

4:10 pm

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank Senator Byrne for raising this issue.

There are no plans to amend the arrangements in place for the registration of architects along the lines suggested. Part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007 provides for the registration of persons permitted to use the title of architect. The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, RIAI, has been designated as the registration body.

Section 22 of the Act makes specific provision for a category of practically trained persons who for a period of ten years, at the time the Act became law, had been providing architectural services in Ireland commensurate with those understood as being provided by architects for the purpose of the Building Control Act. This provision is transitional in nature and enables this category of persons to become registered once they have been assessed as eligible for registration by the technical assessment board in accordance with the practical experience assessment procedure. This process assesses work submitted by the applicant and does not involve or rely on any examination or any formal academic requirements. In effect, this route to registration may be regarded as a grandfather clause along the lines suggested. There is and can be no question, however, of any individual being allowed to use the title of architect without having first demonstrated in a fair and objective manner that the services he or she has been providing are commensurate with those of persons who are registered to use the title of architect.

There has been some disquiet with regard to the fee specified for candidates who apply for registration, which has been set at ยค4,500. This is a significant reduction on the figure originally proposed. The costs involved are considerable and the scale of the fee necessarily reflects this. Section 62 deals with the specification of registration fees and, importantly, requires that the fee specified must not in any case exceed the total of the costs in providing the services for which the fee is paid and the reasonable costs incurred by the registration body. I understand that the registration body has confirmed that the recommended fees are in line with the requirements of section 62.

In addition to the technical assessment route, which is limited to certain persons already providing architectural services in Ireland prior to the 2007 Act, section 14(f) provides a permanent route to registration for practically trained persons who have seven years appropriate practical experience and who have passed the prescribed register examination. Taken in their totality, the various routes to registration provided for under Part 3 of the Act represent a registration process that is open, fair and transparent. The factual position is that specific provisions have been put in place to ensure that practically trained architects can be included on the register.

I understand that 14 candidates have sought to undergo the technical assessment procedure two date. Of these, eight candidates have been successful, three candidates have been unsuccessful and the remaining three candidates are currently under consideration. Candidates who are unsuccessful have a right of appeal. In addition, the inaugural register admission examination resulted in 26 practically trained persons being deemed eligible for inclusion on the register of architects. It is anticipated that a regular throughput of practically trained persons will come through the register admission route each year.

I would encourage all practically trained persons to pursue the routes to registration which are currently open to them, with a view to joining the small but significant and growing numbers of practically trained architects already on the register.


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