People should only hire certified architects so that in case of anything, they can report to the Architects Registration Board.
On August 15, 2018, the Architects Registration Board (ARB) carried out an operation to curb illegal practitioners, with the help of the police, the board arrested and prosecuted two illegal practitioners, among whom was Steven Ssendifa, who was offering architectural services without a license.
Saimon Agaba, the Registrar at ARB; says Ssendifa was arrested and prosecuted on 11 counts, including using the title ‘Architect’ and issuing false documents. He was later tried in court and pleaded guilty.
“He was sentenced to six months imprisonment or a fine of shs. 500,000 for using the title illegally”, Agaba says, adding that Ssendifa was also fined shs. 100,000 for each of the 10 counts, among them, issuing false documents. In total, he paid shs. 1.5m for his freedom.
Who is a certified architect?
According to Agaba, for any practitioner to be registered as an architect, they have to hold a practicing certificate issued by ARB.
After completing a course at a given institution, one is subjected to two years of training in a reputable company. Upon completion, one can apply for registration as an architect.
However, Agaba says during the two years, one should be submitting reports of what they do. ‘After registration, you can apply for a practicing certificate, which is supposed to be renewed every year at shs. 600, 000’ he states.
Verify the architect
Verna Mbabazi, a board member of the Architects registration board, says the Architects Regulation Act permits them to regulate the industry. In case of a challenge with a registered architect, a property developer can call them to raise a complaint.
‘You do not have to go through the lengthy process of the courts of law, instead, call us for help,’ she says.
Meanwhile, Agaba urges property developers to find out whether architects are registered and have practicing certificates before employing them.
“Do a check-up on the internet to verify if the architect is certified. A list of practicing architects for a particular year is always available on the association’s website, he says.
“We oversee architects for example we inspect their offices to see if they meet all the requirements. Also, in case a building collapses, we check to see the architects behind it and what happened” Agaba adds.
Mbabazi advises property developers to hire registered architects. Since they are qualified for the job, one is guaranteed high-quality services.
Aside from that, registered architects are subject to the architect’s professional code of conduct when offering services to their clients.
She explains that if one uses an illegal practitioner, he or she will not be helped in case they face challenges along the way.